Chicago weather: Highest tree pollen count in history recorded for Midwest

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The onset of summer-like heat releases more irritants that affect seasonal allergy sufferers. (WLS)

Dr. Joseph Leija took the highest tree pollen reading ever at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital Friday morning. A dangerous air quality alert was issued.

Dr. Leija measured 2,000 spores to the square cubic meter in the Midwest Friday morning. The dominant tree pollens in his reading were mulberry and oak. He said the mold reading was low.

On Thursday, no records were broken, but temperatures soared into the 80s in Chicago. It was the warmest day of the year so far. But with the heat and wind comes pollen and allergies.

When the wind blows and the heat rises, Dr.Leija heads to the roof of the hospital to measure what tickles our noses.

"Bad, very bad. Because the wind and everything else changes. In the past few days there was rain, which we needed rain. In which the rain increases the count of pollen altogether, mold activity. And here we are with the highest count of tree pollen and mold," Dr. Leija said.

The onset of summer-like heat releases more irritants that affect seasonal allergy sufferers.

"It affects my asthma a lot, that's why I have to use the nebulizer and try to just take my medication. It's all I can do," said Norvelle Armstrong, a seasonal allergy sufferer.

Dr. Leija says those with a sensitivity to tree pollen are especially vulnerable now. He has measured elevated counts of birch, mulberry and weed pollens over the last few days.

"People often think they can wait to take their medication, but they should be taking their medication on a regular basis to prevent the problem, not to have symptoms later on," Dr. Leija said.

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weatherweatherallergieshealthChicago - Lincoln Park
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