‘It’s going to be a bad season for sure’: Chicago doc releases 1st allergy report of 2017

CHICAGO -- "It’s going to be a bad season that’s for sure."

That’s the warning from Dr. Joseph Leija from Gottlieb Memorial Hospital to anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies.

On Tuesday morning, Leija released the year’s first allergy report for Chicago. He says he started taking air samples from the rooftop of the Gottlieb Professional Building in early February.

"Now it’s getting higher and higher. The mold and tree pollen for people with allergies, they’re suffering right now. Many people are complaining about my nose, my eyes, everything, because the pollinating of the trees has been tremendous due to the weather being warm," Leija said.

It’s one obvious downside to our record breaking warm temperatures in recent days. When examining the cubic meter of air sampled Tuesday, Leija found the tree pollen count to already be at a moderate level, meaning there were 15-90 grains in the sample. The mold spore count was low, with less than 6,500 spores. Still, the numbers prompted the doctor to release his initial daily report earlier than any season in his 20 years of research.

"Why is this happening? Is it because of the weather situation or something with the pollution? People with allergies are suffering more and more and more," he said.

To help stop the suffering, Leija said people need to listen to their doctor’s advice and take allergy medications before the symptoms begin. Unfortunately, it also means missing limiting the amount of time spent out in the spring-like conditions.

"It’s very essential to have the windows closed. Air condition as soon and as much as possible. What we do know is the weather is not too bad and we open the windows. That’s the worst thing we can do. The air, the pollen comes into the house and then the person with allergies sneezes and has runny nose, stuffy nose," Leija said.