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Ask Doctor Cory.

Dear Dr. Cory:

Why do we get hay fever and allergies? And why do we get itchy eyes? They are really driving me nuts right now!

Ryan Boyd Waukesha, Wisconsin

Dear Ryan:

Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, are allergies caused by pollen from trees, grass, and ragweed.

Each spring, summer, and fall, tiny grains of pollen are carried through the air. When they hit the noses or throats of people who are allergic to them, they cause the mast cells in the body to release the chemical histamine. Histamine causes the many small blood vessels in the nose to enlarge. Extra fluid runs out from these larger blood vessels, causing swelling and stuffiness in the nose. Histamine can also cause sneezing; runny nose; itchy eyes, nose, and throat; watery, red, swollen eyes; and coughing.

Usually the best way of treating allergies is to find out what is causing the allergy and then, if possible, avoiding it. You might try sleeping with the air conditioning on at night and the windows closed to avoid pollen and other particles in the outside air.

There are several medicines that can help control seasonal allergies. Allergy shots can also reduce these symptoms. Once you and your doctor have discussed the basic steps of allergy control, you may need to see an allergist, a doctor who specializes in taking care of allergies.

Dear Dr. Cory:

Why does your skin peel after you get a sunburn? Why does your skin turn red and hurt when someone touches it?

Crystal Getts Kiln, Mississippi

Dear Crystal:

All burns, including sunburns, destroy skin cells. That is why you have pain, redness, and peeling. Sunburns commonly cause two types of burns:

* First-degree burns occur when the first layer of skin has been burned. The skin becomes dry and pink. There are no blisters and only minor pain. Healing time usually takes about three to five days. The skin may begin to peel or flake away, showing the layer of new skin cells underneath.

* Second-degree burns occur when the first and second layers of skin have been burned. This layer contains the nerve endings, so the amount of pain greatly increases. Second-degree burns result in blistered skin.

Sunburn is caused by the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. You cannot see these rays, but they are there on cloudy as well as sunny days. Because children's skin is thinner, they can get more severe burns in less time than adults.


Cory SerVaas, M.D.

Always protect yourself from the sun with Slip, Slop, Slap!:

* Slip on dry, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing to cover your skin.

* Slop on sunscreen whenever you are outside. Don't forget your lips, ears, the tops of your feet, and the back of your neck. Waterproof UVA and UVB sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher are the best.

* Slap on a wide-brimmed hat!

* Avoid the sun between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. when its rays are most intense.

* Protect yourself year-round from the sun--on cloudy days as well as sunny days.

* Wear sunglasses that give 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.

Send your health questions to: "Ask Doctor Cory," U*S*Kids, P.O. Box 567, Indianapolis, IN 46206. Or, e-mail your questions to:

This column does not replace your doctor's advice.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Children's Better Health Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:allergy; sunburn
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:U.S. Kids
Date:Jul 1, 2000
Previous Article:Three for Three.
Next Article:Screen Dreams.

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