What’s ahead, as 2015 allergy season begins

SHARE What’s ahead, as 2015 allergy season begins

PHOTO: Dr. Joseph Leija (shown in 2013) has been conducting the Gottlieb Allergy Count for more than two decades. | AL PODGORSKI~SUN-TIMES MEDIA

The good news is that Monday was an unseasonably warm and sunny day.

But unfortunately warmer temperatures also signal the start of allergy season. (So that’s what all that sneezing was about!)

We need no further proof than the fact that Monday (March 16) was the first seasonal report of the Gottlieb Allergy Count. (Tree Moderate, Mold Low, if you were wondering.)

With his pollen-catching machinery atop a building on the Gottlieb Hospital grounds in west suburban Melrose Park, allergist Dr. Joseph Leija takes the daily count from now through October. He’s been doing this for more than two decades.

Though now retired, Leija continues to rise before dawn to collect his samples that help those with allergies and asthma take action against the season.

He’s got a prediction for the season upon us, and it’s not what you’re going to want to hear if the warmer weather brings on a stuffy nose, sneezing or breathing difficulties for you. Leija believes the long cold winter will kick off a bad allergy season. All that moisture from the snow might make the trees and grass green and the flowers bloom, but it’s not so good for what else it brings. “Dampness also fosters the growth of mold,” Leija said in a prepared statement.

So if you’re a sufferer, be proactive is the good doctor’s advice. Make an appointment with your allergist. Have the ducts on your air conditioner cleaned. Take your allergy medicine. Think twice about opening a window. (I know, that last one is a hard one to follow, but …)

To get the daily news from Leija, visit the hospital’s allergy page or follow @GottliebAllergy on Twitter.

NOTE: Updated to correct Twitter handle.

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