Thursday, September 13, 2012

Transition Weather Triggers Air Quality Alert for Toxic Mold

Fall Weather Invigorates Some, Sickens Others

WHAT:  The Midwest is under an air quality alert for dangerous levels of mold. The Midwest mold count  today is 60,000 – over the 50,000 threshold that signals a dangerous air quality warning.

“The Midwest is moving into fall and we are seeing more rain mixed with sunny, warm and humid temperatures, which encourages mold growth,” said Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the only consistent allergy count for the Midwest. “The temptation today is to open the windows and let the cooler air in. But for allergy sufferers, the air is not fresh; it’s loaded with toxins."

The official Gottlieb Allergy Count for today is: Grass - Low; Mold - Very High (Alert Status); Weeds - High and Ragweed – Moderate.

“Today’s outdoor air may cause headaches, congestion and runny noses to those with sensitive respiratory systems, “ said Dr. Leija, who has performed the Gottlieb Allergy Count for more than two decades. “Keep windows closed and run the air conditioner to improve air quality."

Dr. Leija will offer the Gottlieb Allergy Count until Monday, Oct. 15, for the 2012 allergy reporting season.

Tips from Dr. Leija to safeguard health include rinsing nasal passages with saline solution to remove trapped particles, washing your hair before sleeping at night and staying indoors in air conditioning.

WHO:  Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily allergy count for the Midwest.

The Gottlieb Allergy Count is available free to the public, in English, Polish and Spanish, through Twitter; at and at (866)-4-POLLEN (476-5536).

WHEN:  Dr Leija is available today to talk with reporters about the high mold count, show what mold spores look like as well as allergens from corn grass, ragweed and weeds, offer tips and advice and demonstrate the allergy count device atop a roof on Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus in Melrose Park.

Call Stasia Thompson at (708) 417-5036 for interviews.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 92 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities - that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.