As Chicago fully moves into the spring season, more people are experiencing allergies from pollen, trees, mold and weed, in search of ways to discover their daily levels before heading outside.
Loyola Medicine's Allergy Count is updated each weekday morning during allergy season by allergist Dr. Rachna Shah, according to the Twitter account.
According to Loyola Medicine, the levels as of Thursday were reported to be:
Trees - low - most prevalent - Juniper
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Grass - absent
Molds - low
Weeds - absent
The count is collected daily on the roof of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.
Trees are in their peak season from March to May, while grass will be in its peak season from May to June, Loyola Medicine noted. Mold has its peak season in both spring and fall - whenever conditions are "damp."
Loyola Medicine ranks the counts from low to high risk, then "alert." When an allergen is marked as "alert," those sensitive are advised to stay indoors.
What exactly are allergies and why do people react differently?
If you have an allergy, your immune system overreacts to a substance you inhaled, touched or ate, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
"Allergies are inherited. People inherit the ability to be allergic, but they don't exactly inherit what they're allergic to," said Dr. Richard Wasserman, medical director of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas, Texas. "So, people who have one parent with allergies have about a 50% likelihood of developing allergies. If both parents have an allergic disease, it's about 80%."
Seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is usually triggered by outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold spores.
"Rose fever, hay fever are, kind of, colloquial names for allergy. Hay fever is probably mostly caused by mold," said Wasserman. "Mold is another thing that people get allergic to. Mold likes to grow in moist environments like haystacks or barns, so that's the association there."
According to Mayo Clinic, these are the most common seasonal allergy symptoms:
- Itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth
- Runny, stuffy nose
- Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)