High Mold Levels Spark Air Quality Alert

Chicago is under an air quality alert for dangerously high levels of mold

Feeling a little extra sneezy, itchy and watery this week? You're probably not alone.

An air quality alert was issued Tuesday for dangerous levels of mold as the Midwest mold count reached well over the threshold.

“Yesterday the mold count was 125,000 -- almost triple the threshold alert, and while today the count is lower, it is still dangerously high,” Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist who performs the Midwest's Gottlieb Allergy Count, said Tuesday in a statement.

The Loyola allergist said the shocking numbers could be the cause of headaches, congestion, runny noses and fatigue for Chicagoans.

Yesterday saw the highest mold count recorded in over 15 years and Leija attributes the moldy masses to the summer's high humidity and last weekend's rain. The conditions combined to make the perfect ingredients for a fertile fungus environment, Leija said.

“The Midwest has been crippled by devastating heat and oppressive humidity for months now,” Leija said in a statement. “I actually started the Gottlieb Allergy Count a month early this season in March because of the mild winter and warm spring.”

He suggests allergy sufferers stay indoors, keep the windows closed, use air conditioners and take allergy meds. He also said rinsing nasal passages with saline solution and washing hair before bed could be helpful in counteracting allergic reactions.

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