Monthly Archives: November 2015

Allergy-free Food to Give Thanks For


It was just a few weeks ago that we talked about how Halloween candy can be frightful for those of us with food allergies, and we offered suggestions on how to keep your kids with allergies safe. Now, with Thanksgiving around the corner, we have some more tips on allergy-free eating that you can be thankful for.

When you sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll be surrounded by a host of culinary delights: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh bread, green bean casserole with almonds, shrimp cocktail and so much more. For most people, the only danger of eating these dishes is the inevitable “food coma.” However, if you or someone you love suffers from food allergies, the consequences could be much more serious. 

Unfortunately, the top culprits of food allergies — milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat — are present in most of the foods we listed in our spread above. However, there’s no reason to forgo the holiday and all its wonderful foods. Here are some tips for a Thanksgiving menu that will make you forget you have any dietary restrictions at all.

  • Read all labels carefully. It’s not always obvious that a food contains allergens. For example, did you know that turkey broth contains wheat, and some store-bought turkeys are basted with a gluten solution? Make sure you know what you are getting.
  • Know what you can and cannot eat. Thanksgiving dinner is not the time to try that lobster appetizer if you think you may be allergic to shellfish or that peanut butter cookie if some nuts give you hives.
  • Search for allergy-free recipes on the Internet. You can find delicious recipes for any dietary restriction, including gluten free, soy free and dairy free. The problem with doing this search, though, is that you’ll come up with so many amazing things to make, you won’t know which ones to choose!
  • Use substitutes. Nowadays there are many allergen-free alternatives on the market that you can substitute without most even knowing. Earth Balance makes a soy free, lactose-free, gluten-free vegan spread that you’ll never believe isn’t butter. Silk makes wonderful milk alternatives using soy, coconut, cashews, or almonds. If you’re baking, applesauce and mashed bananas are great egg substitutes. For a great resource on even more substitution suggestions, click here.

Keeping these tips in mind, if you watch for ingredients and are careful about what you eat, you’ll have a Thanksgiving meal to remember — and not because it sent you to the emergency room.

The physicians and staff of  CT Sinus Center say thank you for choosing us to play a part in your health and happiness. We wish you a wonderful holiday season!

(For more information on all things  allergies, visit the our website.)


Veterans Day: Honoring and Taking Care of Our Nation’s Heroes


Today, on Veterans Day, we want recognize and honor our veterans for everything they have done for us. Without them, we would never have the level of freedom that we enjoy daily in our lives. However, for our veterans and their families, our freedom comes at a very large cost.

In 2013, the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium reported that “965,943 individuals ages 18 and over living in the community reported having a military service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or more.” These disabilities include:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries and pain
  • Limb loss
  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Infectious disease
  • Urologic injuries
  • Results of exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides (including cancers, heart disease, Hodgkin’s disease, Diabetes, and Neuropathy)
  • Sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This number is extremely alarming; however the most frightening thing about this data is that many veterans refuse to seek treatment for their disability, either out of denial or fear that it will have a negative effect on their jobs or social standings. A lack of treatment leads to depression, substance abuse, a poor quality of life and even death, putting a terrible strain not only on the veterans themselves, but also on those people that are closest to them.

It is up to us – friends, family, and the community – to reach out to our veterans and help them get the treatment they need. The physicians and staff of CT Sinus Center want to do everything we can to help. Above we mentioned that veterans often suffer from sinus conditions. In fact, according to a study by The National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans, 29% of the 60,000 men and women who had served in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) between October 2001 and June 2008 suffer from sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis. That is 17,400 people; and that study doesn’t even consider unreported cases and veterans of previous wars — wars in which Agent Orange and other herbicides were prevalently used.

If you or a veteran you know is suffering from any of these sinus conditions, schedule a consultation with our physicians at any of our three locations: Waterbury, Litchfield or Sharon. We will take the time to thoroughly discuss your specific symptoms and treatment options, including Balloon Sinus Dilation, a non-invasive procedure available only at CT Sinus Center that can put a permanent end to sinus suffering.

The physicians and staff of CT Sinus Center want to extend a most sincere thank you to all the veterans out there. While we can never repay you for what you’ve done for our country, we are here to do our part in helping you live the quality of life you deserve.

Unmasking the Symptoms of Thyroid Gland Disorder

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Garo/Phanie/REX (1896004iw) Model released - Sore throat. Woman stroking her throat. Various

The problem with detecting a thyroid disorder is that the symptoms mirror those of many other less serious conditions, so people may just brush it off as being overworked, eating too much or too little, or undergoing stress

See for yourself. The following is a list of symptoms typical of a thyroid gland disorder — some are specific to hypothyroidism and others to hyperthyroidism:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Changes in heart rate, including increased blood pressure and heart palpitations
  • Changes in mood including anxiety, irritability, depression, sleeplessness
  • Sweating or chills
  • Brain fog
  • Hair loss
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abnormal menstruation
  • Muscle weakness, trembling, or tingling in hands
  • Dry skin and nails
  • A lump in the neck

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to schedule a consultation with a doctor so that you can be tested for a thyroid condition. While some of these ailments may seem nothing more than an inconvenience, they could lead to serious issues if left unchecked. And besides, why sacrifice quality of life if relief is possible?

The type of treatment you will receive for a thyroid disorder depends on whether you are experiencing hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Both are usually diagnosed with blood tests. Hypothyroidism is commonly treated with thyroid hormone replacement pills. Hyperthyroidism may be treated with a medication designed to block the effects of excessive production of thyroid hormone, a radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid gland, or the surgical removal of the thyroid gland.

If you have found a lump in your neck, the diagnostic process is a bit different. And while this discovery can be very scary, it is important to note that in most cases, the swelling is due to a goiter. Small goiters are usually harmless and do not require medical treatment. Larger ones, while not themselves harmful, can cause difficulty breathing or swallowing and will need to be examined with imaging studies (MRI, CT Scan, Ultrasound) and/or a fine-needle aspiration biopsy.

In rare cases, surgery to remove the thyroid is necessary. This happens when one or more of the following occurs:

  • The fine needle aspiration is reported as inconclusive or suspicious of cancer
  • Imaging shows nodules have worrisome characteristics (such as that nodules are getting bigger)
  • The trachea or esophagus are compressed because one or both lobes have grown excessively large

So if you are experiencing unexplained weight gain, mood swings, or extreme fatigue (or any of the other symptoms that we’ve listed) for two weeks or more, it’s time to see a doctor. It could very well be nothing, but the peace of mind of being checked is priceless. And if there is an issue, early detection and treatment can lead to permanent relief.

Our sister branch Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat offers superior patient-centered care in up-to-date facilities.  Our expert physicians will take the time to sit down with you and thoroughly go over your symptoms, diagnostic procedures and treatment options. For more information on how we can help you go back to living the quality life you deserve, call us at (888) 230-3715.