March 16, 2015

Gottlieb Allergy Count kicks off its first report of 2015

MAYWOOD, Ill. (March 13, 2015) – Those in the Midwest with sensitive respiratory systems will find relief beginning Monday, March 16 as the Gottlieb Allergy Count kicks off its first report of 2015. The Gottlieb Allergy Count is the official daily allergy count for the Midwest.

“I have conducted initial testing and am detecting pollen in the air, which may be triggering sneezing and itchy skin in allergy sufferers,” said Joseph Leija, MD, retired allergist who is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to conduct the official allergy count. “The prolonged, fierce winter may mean that tree, grass and mold spores appear simultaneously early in the season causing a triple threat.”     

Dr. Leija has been monitoring the air every day for the past week to prepare for the start of the allergy count.

Dr. Leija is predicting a bad allergy season due to the long cold winter, which brought heavy snow.  “Heavy snow means lots of moisture to nourish budding trees and plant life. The continued dampness also fosters the growth of mold,” said Dr. Leija, who has performed the Gottlieb Allergy Count for more than two decades.

“While we spring forward for Daylight Savings Time, people with allergies or breathing difficulties should be proactive now to preserve health. Consult your allergist, have the ducts cleaned on your air conditioning system and start taking your allergy medicine so that when things really heat up, you are protected,” said Dr. Leija. He also recommends keeping windows closed to preserve air quality.

Dr. Leija, a national expert in allergies and respiratory conditions, retired in 2012. However, he continues to conduct the Gottlieb Allergy Count as a public health service to help those who suffer from allergies and asthma better manage their condition. He  performs the daily count during the normal allergy reporting season, from March to October. 

An octogenarian, the retired allergist rises before dawn to collect specimens from his pollen-catching machine atop a building on the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus to deliver the count to the public by 7 a.m. The Chicago Tribune and many area broadcast stations regularly report the Gottlieb Allergy Count throughout allergy reporting season.   

The Gottlieb Allergy Count is available via Twitter @GottliebAllergy, at the allergy page on and at 1-866-4-POLLEN (476-5536). 

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.