Chicago Weather: Air quality alert issued for Midwest

(FILE) An elderly patient blows his nose on Friday, January 14, 2005. (AP Photo/Roberto Pfeil)

September 6, 2012 9:58:06 AM PDT
High levels of mold are causing headaches, sinus pain and other symptoms for allergy sufferers.

"One thing that has gone sky high is the mold count. It is in the very high range," ABC7's Meteorologist Tracy Butler said. "Allergy sufferers -- [it's a] tough time."

The Midwest is under an air quality alert Thursday due to dangerous levels of mold, according to the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

"If you feel sick, it's is likely allergies," Dr. Joseph Leija, allergist, said in a hospital statement. Dr. Leija conducts the official allergy count for the Midwest.

    On Thursday:
  • Grass: Moderate
  • Mold: Very High- alert status
  • Weeds: High
  • Ragweed: Moderate

"The dangerously high mold count coupled with grass, weeds and ragweed is a real assault on Midwesterners' breathing health," Dr. Leija said in the statement.

Dr. Leija recommends allergy sufferers rinse nasal passages with saline solution, wash hair before going to bed, and stay indoors with the air-conditioning on.

The Gottlieb Allergy County is available online at and at 1 866-4-POLLEN (476-5536).