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Mold Spore Question

Dear Dr. Kagen:

I am a sufferer from seasonal allergy, especially that caused by mold spores. I live in the Chicago area. One thing I have consistently noticed is that my allergy gets significantly worst when several days of hot humid summer weather is followed by a cooling trend produced by Canadian high pressure. While others may look forward to such moderating temperatures, I look forward to more sneezing and watery eyes. A check of the newspapers indicate that the mold spore content is almost invariably higher following this weather change.

Question: is this connection between cool Canadian air and an increase in mold spores only a figment of my imagination?

I look forward to your answer.

Dr. Bill M. Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL. USA

Dear Dr. Bill,

Thanks for asking a Northwestern University Internal Medicine graduate about mold aeroallergens in Chicago.

The entrance of a high pressure ridge into the Chicago region is associated with lower outdoor mold spore levels along the shores of Lake Michigan. The air arriving with high pressure blows out of the east and in from the north and over the lake, and both the lake and the Canadaian regions do not support abundant mold growth. Ordinarily, it is the back side of the high pressure [winds out of the south] and the front end of the low pressure systems that result in higher mold spore counts in northern Illinois.

If you live west of the Lake, then the arrival of high pressure brings to you the mold spores arising from the ground eastward of your location. Also, remember that when you are looking at aeroallergen data on TV on Monday evening, the information is the cumulative level of pollen and mold spores identified over the previous 24 hours and not necessarily the current day's level of available aeroallergens.

I hope this brief information is helpful to you. A really good Allergy Specialist [Leslie Grammer, M.D.] is available at Northwestern University for you to consult to help answer any other questions that may arise.

Good luck.

Steve Kagen, M.D.