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Dangerous mold count means another bad day for those with allergies

Updated: September 6, 2012 1:14PM

If you experience headaches, sinus or respiratory pain Thursday, it’s likely you’re feeling the effects of allergies, according to the doctor who performs the official daily allergy count for the Midwest.

The Midwest is under an air quality alert because of dangerous levels of mold, according to Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official count for the Midwest. The Midwest mold count Thursday is 60,000 — well over the 50,000 threshold that merits a dangerous air quality warning.

“Headaches, sinus pain and malaise are the result of today’s assault on the respiratory system by irritants,” Leija said in a written statement. “If you feel sick, it is likely allergies.”

“Due to corn harvesting season, Loyola is recording moderate and high levels of grass lately, because corn is a member of the grass family,” Leija said. “The dangerously high mold count coupled with grass, weeds and ragweed is a real assault on Midwesterner’s breathing health.”

Thursday’s warning comes after a day when all allergens were high. Mold, weeds, ragweed, and grass were also high on Wednesday, which was likely the cause of general fatigue, itchy throats and runny noses for many in the area, according to Leija.

Leija credits the unusual allergy count to the sporadic rains, continuous heat and the high humidity.

“Check your yard for standing water and your basement for any seepage,” he said. “... A solution of bleach and water can be used to kill mold spores on items.”

Tips from Leija to safeguard health include rinsing nasal passages with saline solution to remove trapped particles, washing your hair before sleeping at night and staying inside in air-conditioning.

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