The official allergy count for the Midwest today recorded the highest count for mold in the 2014 allergy recording season. "The mold count is around 30,000 which is high but not at air quality alert status, which is 50,000," says Joseph Leija, MD, who created the Gottlieb Allergy Count at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, located outside Chicago. "The daily rains coupled with the warm, humid weather have created the perfect environment for mold."
The Gottlieb Allergy Count today is Trees Moderate, Mold High, Grass High and Weeds High. "People with mold allergies may be feeling scratchy throats, nasal congestion, headaches, fatigue and runny noses," reported Dr. Leija. "The tree count is slowly starting to decline but all allergens are still at relatively high levels for the season."
In March, at the start of the 2014 allergy reporting season, Dr. Leija predicted a pollen vortex. "The pollen vortex and that noxious cyclone of allergens is here. All pollens except ragweed are now simultaneously at recordable levels triggering unhealthy reactions in those with sensitive breathing systems," says Leija.
Typical pollen seasons are: Trees in March to May; Grass in May to June; Weeds and Ragweed in mid-August to October and Mold all season long depending on dampness.
Leija says the continued back and forth between cold and warm temperatures combined with humidity, after the cold temperatures and snows of the polar vortex have created what he calls the pollen vortex. "The traditional seasons for the different allergens have clumped together creating a solid front of recordable levels of pollens posing problems for those with sensitive respiratory systems," says Leija.
Every weekday morning at 4:30 a.m., for the past two decades, now 84-year-old allergist Joseph Leija, MD, has climbed the stairs to the rooftop of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, located just outside Chicago. There he maintains a scientific pollen-catching machine developed in Britain during WW II to detect poison in the air. The machine records air particles in 2- minute increments during a 24-hour period.
Dr Leija takes the glass slide with the day's catch - during pollen reporting season, usually April - October - and under a microscope in his office, meticulously identifies and counts every spore. He uses an algorithm created by the National Allergy Bureau, to arrive at the official allergy count for the Midwest - by 7 a.m.
"People with respiratory conditions need to know the allergy count early in the morning so they can take the right medication and make adjustments in their routine to improve their health," says the allergist who supplies area members of the media, as well as the general public, the numbers at no charge. "Several broadcast networks and Chicago's largest newspaper report the Gottlieb Allergy Count daily so I am up at 4 a.m.to get the process started."
Gottlieb Memorial Hospital