Chicago's mold count is dangerously high

Sept. 21, 2011 at 3:45 PM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- After some warm, idyllic September days, Chicago's mold count is dangerously high and the city is officially on alert for poor air quality, an allergist says.

Dr. Joseph Leija, allergist at Loyola's Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, who is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily official allergy count for the Midwest, said Chicago's mold count Wednesday was 55,000 -- well above the 50,000 threshold that signals a dangerous air quality warning.

"The warm September temperatures and sunny skies have encouraged the growth of a bumper crop of mold and my phones at Gottlieb are ringing with sufferers," Leija said in a statement. "Headaches, sinus congestion, runny noses and fatigue will be common among Chicagoans today."

The recent rains last Sunday and Monday, followed by warm, sunny, Indian Summer-type temperatures have created the dangerously high mold count, Leija said.

"Allergy sufferers should stay indoors, keep the windows closed, use their air-conditioners and take their allergy medications," Leija advised.

"This is a really unusual allergy season with considerable pollutants and many air alerts. Last September, the mold count was moderate most of the time. Because the leaves haven't started falling, which boosts the airborne mold count, for the Midwest to have dangerously high mold count is significant."

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