Every morning, Dr. Charles Barnes treks up to the roof of Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., to pull a collection slide out of the hospital's spore trap, a small machine consisting of a vacuum pump and wind main.
The little plastic slide may not look like much, but it provides an accurate pollen count for the entire Kansas City metro area.
"We've had this same technology and process for the last 24 years," Barnes says. "It's really pretty simple."
On Wednesday's Central Standard, we speak with the person who can explain why you've been sneezing more than usual. Charles Barnes tells us everything we ever wanted to know about pollen, especially how much of it is floating through our air.
Charles Barnes, Director of the Allergy and Immunology Laboratory at Children's Mercy Hospital
For fifteen-year-old Antonio Franco, going out to something like a baseball game can be complicated, even dangerous.
“I accidently ate the wrong kind of cookie,” he says, remembering a severe allergic reaction. “We ended up having to rush to the hospital.”
Franco is one of an increasing number of children and teenagers who have severe food allergies, especially to peanuts. Because peanuts and foods containing peanut traces are so common, these kids and their parents are often limited in where they can go for fun.
There's one topic that keeps on giving year after year: allergies. From seasonal, to year-round, gluten to peanuts, allergies affect over 65 million people in the United States alone.
In the first segment of Thursday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske discusses all things mold, pollen, and food protein with Dr. Jay Portnoy, who heads the allergy and asthma department at Children's Mercy Hospital.