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 octagenerian, 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 Gottliebhospital.org 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.