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Air Quality Alert for Mold after Heat, Humidity Spike

Highest Mold Count on Record, Says Loyola Allergist

WHAT:  Chicago’s mold count today is 125,000 plus – more than double the 50,000 threshold that signals a dangerous air quality warning.

“Today’s mold count is the highest I have recorded in more than 15 years,” said Dr. Joseph Leija, who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official allergy count for the Midwest. “Midwesterners with sensitive respiratory systems will experience itchy throats, runny noses and feel run-down."

The official Gottlieb Allergy Count today is: Mold - Very High; Weeds - Low.  Headaches, sinus congestion, runny noses and fatigue will be common among Chicagoans today.

“The continuous heat, the high humidity and the weekend rain are the perfect ingredients for mold. I knew the mold count would be high, but I was stunned by this morning’s historically high count,” Dr. Leija said. “The Midwest has been crippled by devastating heat and oppressive humidity for months now. I actually started the Gottlieb Allergy Count a month early this season in March because of the mild winter and warm spring."

WHO:  Dr. Joseph Leija, allergist at Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily official allergy count for the Midwest. “The continuous hot temperatures and the persistent humidity here in the Midwest have created the dangerously high mold count,” he said. “Allergy sufferers should stay indoors, keep the windows closed, use their air conditioners and take their allergy medications."

The Gottlieb Allergy Count is available to the public in English, Polish and Spanish via Twitter, at www.GottliebHospital.org and at 1-866-4-POLLEN (476-5536).

WHEN:  Dr. Leija is available today to talk with reporters about the historically high mold count, show what mold looks like as well as tree, ragweed and weed  spores, offer tips and advice, and demonstrate the allergy count atop the roof of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park.

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

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. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. 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 the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC 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.

Media Relations

Stasia Thompson
Media Relations
(708) 216-5155
thoms@lumc.edu
Anne Dillon
Media Relations
(708) 216-8232
adillon@lumc.edu