WHAT: For the second day in a row, the Midwest is under an air quality alert for dangerous levels of mold. The Midwest mold count today is 65,000 – well over the 50,000 threshold that signals a dangerous air quality warning.
“Yesterday the mold count was 125,000 - almost triple the threshold alert. While today the count is lower, it is still dangerously high,” said Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official count for the Midwest. “Headaches, congestion and fatigue will be common for Midwesterners with sensitive respiratory systems."
The official Gottlieb Allergy Count today is: Mold - Very High, Weeds - Moderate and Ragweed - Low.
“Today I also recorded ragweed, which is the most common allergen and also the most irritating,” Dr. Leija said. “The dangerously high mold count coupled with ragweed is a real double whammy to breathing health."
Dr. Leija credits the unusual allergy count to the continuous heat, the high humidity and the brief but intense weekend rain.
“I knew the mold count would be high, but I was stunned by yesterday’s historically high count and I am surprised that it continues to be very high today,” Dr. Leija said.
Dr. Leija suggests that those prone to allergies should try rinsing their nasal passages with saline solution to remove trapped particles, washing their hair before sleeping at night and staying indoors in air conditioning.
WHO: Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist, is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily official allergy count for the Midwest. Dr. Leija has performed the Gottlieb Allergy Count for more than 15 years.
The Gottlieb Allergy Count is available at www.GottliebHospital.org, at 1-866-4-POLLEN (476-5536) and in English, Polish and Spanish via Twitter.
WHEN: Dr Leija is available today to talk with reporters about the historical high mold count, show what mold looks like, as well as tree, ragweed and weed allergens, 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.