September 24, 2010

Chicagoans warned of dangerously high mold count

Chicago's mold count today is more than 81,000 spores per cubic meter - well over the 50,000 spores p.c.m. threshold that signals a dangerous air quality warning. Today's mold count is the highest of the season and the highest in five years.

"Heavy chest and difficulty breathing, runny noses and fatigue will be common among Chicagoans with sensitive respiratory systems," said Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Loyola Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill.

Dr. Leija is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily official allergy count for the Midwest.

"The recent gusty winds, the downpours of rain, the recent hot 90-degree weather, the barometric pressure changes and the boost in humidity contributed to the dangerously high mold count we are suffering this September in Chicago," he said of the unusual morning count that took him three and a half hours to complete - 45 minutes longer than usual due to the plethora of mold spores.

"Asthma sufferers should stay indoors and rest as much as possible, take their allergy medications and consult their allergist if symptoms worsen," he advised.

Dr. Leija warns that the allergy count is for the outside air alone.

"Many patients suffered flooding and, despite attempts to remove all damaged materials, are battling indoor mold that is aggravating their health," he said.

Dr. Leija is available today from noon to 5 p.m. today at Loyola Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

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.