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Unusually High Levels of Tree Pollen Signal Early Allergy Season

WHAT: The Gottlieb Allergy Count, reported by Joseph Leija, MD, will officially begin Monday, March 18. Every day for the past week, Dr. Leija has been monitoring the air in preparation. “Today the tree pollen was moderate, which is high for this time of year, and I can see the many budding treetops from the Gottlieb rooftop where the pollen-catching equipment is located,” said Dr. Leija, who has been performing the Gottlieb Allergy Count for more than two decades. “2013 is equal to 2012, which was a very early and especially bad allergy season.”

Dr. Leija performs the official allergy count for the Midwest on behalf of the National Allergy Bureau, and conducted an initial count for the season this morning at 7 a.m. In 2012, Dr. Leija, an allergist, retired from seeing patients but he continues his public health crusade for improved breathing by performing the Gottlieb Allergy Count. In the 2012 allergy season, Dr. Leija issued four air-quality alerts.

"I actually believe today’s pollen count may be higher and some tree pollen has been washed away by the steady rain last night and today," said Dr. Leija. At 6 a.m. and in the rain, the doctor climbed the stairs to the roof atop Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System.

WHO: Dr. 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, usually from April through October. Due to the mild winter season, the practice he founded is seeing a dramatic increase in those suffering from respiratory illness and allergies. Dr. Leija will begin reporting the count two weeks early, on March 18, due to elevated pollen counts.

Media: Please Call Stasia Thompson at (708) 417-5036

WHEN: Dr. Leija performs the first Gottlieb Allergy Count for the 2013 allergy reporting season at 6 a.m. and is available throughout the day on Monday, March 18.

Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, 701 W. North Ave., Melrose Park, IL

WHY: An octogenerian, Dr. Leija rises before dawn to collect specimens from his pollen-catching machine atop Gottlieb and deliver the count to the public by 7 a.m. The Gottlieb Allergy Count will be available in English, Polish and Spanish, through Twitter at and in English at 1-866-4-POLLEN (476-5536). Dr Leija is available to talk with reporters, show actual allergens under a microscope, offer tips and advice, and demonstrate the allergy count atop the roof of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park.

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
Media Relations
(708) 216-8232