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Allergies and sunburns: Summer is on the horizon in Kansas City

Posted: 6:59 AM, May 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-13 08:22:49-04
Tree Pollen allergies.jpg

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Allergy season could be getting longer and stronger. An allergist and immunologist at the University of Kansas Health System said researchers are studying a “super allergen.”

Dr. Marissa Love explained researchers want to see what kind of effect warmer temperatures from signs of climate change have on pollen-producing plants.

"The plants have gotten used to this warmer climate, so they're producing what [researchers] call super allergens. These pollens that are stronger, more durable, and spread farther," Love said.

Rain knocks pollen out of the air, offering relief to allergy sufferers. But Love warned if rain ends up in your basement, it can lead to mold which can cause allergies too. She suggested pumping standing water out of the basement.

Doctors said you can start treating your allergy symptoms with over-the-counter medicine. To really treat the allergy itself, it’s best to meet with a doctor to determine if allergy shots are a good solution.

And as summer approaches, dermatologists remind you the importance of protecting your skin from the sun.

Dr. Daniel Aires says, “Sunshine is fine, sunburns are bad.”

As the head of the University of Kansas Health System’s dermatology department, Aires said five sunburns which cause skin to peel can increase your risk of getting a melanoma skin cancer by 50 percent.

He suggests using sunscreen with zinc or titanium as the active ingredient. Aires recommends avoiding sunscreens with chemical ingredients, especially after a recent study revealed our bloodstreams absorb those chemicals.

“Instead of sunscreens that have these long [lists of] chemicals in them, some of which we do absorb and they may have unknown effects on us, switch over to things like zinc and titanium," Aires said. "Both of which are actually nutrients. We have both zinc and titanium in our bodies. So if we do absorb them, they really shouldn't be that dangerous."

Zinc acts as a shield against the sun’s rays, but Aires admitted it does leave a white later on skin. Other sun protection options include wearing a wide-brimmed hat, wearing sun gloves while playing sports, and avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.