Monthly Archives: December 2015

Alcohol Intolerance: What’s In Your Drink?

With New Year’s Eve upon us, you may plan to celebrate with a cocktail or two. However, while this customary activity sounds harmless enough, every time you take a sip, you may be putting yourself at risk. From alcohol to mixers, what hidden dangers are lurking in your drink?

To begin with, you may have noticed that when you have an alcoholic drink, you immediately start to experience any one of the following symptoms:

  • Facial redness (flushing)
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Warm, red, itchy bumps on the skin (hives)
  • Worsening of preexisting asthma
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If this is so, you could be suffering from alcohol intolerance. This intolerance is caused by a genetic condition in which the body lacks the specific enzyme necessary to break down alcohol, which then becomes toxic.

People who meet one of the following conditions are more at risk for having that missing enzyme:

  • Of Asian descent
  • Asthma or hay fever (allergic rhinitis) sufferer
  • Allergic to grains or other foods
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient

An alcohol intolerance is not an allergy — the difference being that an intolerance is not life threatening, whereas an allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, which if not treated promptly, can be deadly. In the rare case that a person does have an actual alcohol allergy, he or she will have an instantaneous serious reaction, such as severe pain or difficulty breathing. If this happens, seek emergency medical help right away.

This is not to say that if you have an intolerance, you should ignore it and continue drinking. If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, why would you even want to drink? For non-alcoholic drinks that are so delicious you won’t care that they’re alcohol-free, visit the Mocktail Board on Pinterest.

However in most cases, it isn’t the actual alcohol that causes the adverse reaction, but rather the ingredients. The Mayo Clinic states that sulfites or other preservatives; chemicals, grains or other ingredients; or histamine, a byproduct of fermentation or brewing, can all induce an uncomfortable intolerance.

But even if you are sure you don’t have an alcohol intolerance, drinking adult beverages can make you sick. Of course, being ill can be a result of drinking too much, but it can also be a result of food allergies.

Some mixed drinks obviously have allergens in their ingredient list. For example, a White Russian is made with cream, but did you know that some margarita mixes use a milk derivative for binding? Are you aware that vermouth, wines or vodkas can contain citrus fruits? Alcohol can also be a major concern for people with nut allergies. For an extensive list of alcohols that contain nuts, visit Nut Free Ninja.

So as you raise your glass to the new year, make sure you know exactly what has gone into it — the alcohol itself as well as the mixers. Otherwise, what should be a night of fun may not include much celebration at all.

Have a happy and healthy new year from everyone here at CT Sinus Center!


(For more information on all things allergies, visit our website and Facebook page.)

Safety through the Season


With the holidays upon us, it’s time to get together with family and friends to celebrate the joy of the season. To help you get through it all happy and healthy, we bring you these tips:

Holy smokes! ‘Tis the season of stringing lights, burning candles, building fires and decking the halls.  However, if these things aren’t done carefully, a beautiful display can become a horror show. Keep flammables, including your Christmas tree, away from open flames. Also, make sure to inspect all cords before using them, especially if they’ve been packed away for the year; and remember that when it comes to extension cords, don’t double up — one is enough. For more information on keeping your family safe during the holidays and beyond, visit the U.S. Fire Administration site.

Pretty Dangerous. Mistletoe, Poinsettias and Holly are just some of the flowers that symbolize the holiday season. However, if ingested by humans or pets, these beauties can be poisonous. When using them to decorate, it’s best to place them somewhere out of reach. If there is an emergency, call poison control immediately 1-800-222-1222.

That’s no tree to sneeze at. Have you noticed that your winter allergies seem to get worse around your real Christmas tree? That’s because while the tree is still living outside, it collects pollen and mold, which in turn trigger allergies. If you or someone in your family is sensitive to mold, consider putting up an artificial tree or only keeping the real one in the house for a few days.

Drink Responsibly. Mixology is an art form, and bartenders love opportunities to show off their skills at holiday parties. While their creations are tasty, they may also contain ingredients that trigger food allergies. In addition, some people may have an intolerance for alcohol itself, or rather the chemicals, grains or preservative within in. Symptoms of alcohol intolerance include: facial redness (flushing); warm, red, itchy bumps on the skin (hives); worsening of preexisting asthma; runny or stuffy nose; low blood pressure; nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea. So as you raise your glass in celebration, make sure you know what’s in it.

Hold the nuts. Yes, we all have that relative, but we’re talking about the edible kind. One of the best things about this season is the food; but creating allergy-free meals can be challenging. Visit our Halloween and Thanksgiving blogs for tips on making treats that everyone can enjoy!

Relax. Just do it. This time of year can be incredibly stressful. Make sure to take care of yourself, slow down and enjoy everything that’s going on around you. Follow these tips to say goodbye to holiday stress and anxiety,and give yourself the the gift of peace.  

All of us at CT Sinus Center wish you and your family a happy holiday season and thank you for being a part of our family.

Happy Holidays!

(For more information on all things allergies, visit our website and Facebook page.)


Sneezing in a Winter Wonderland

Don’t let this be the winter of your discontent because you’re suffering from allergies. Even though everything has frozen over, humidity is at an all-time low, and the pollen count is pretty-much non-existent, there are still allergens floating around that can make you miserable.

In fact, many of the things that can trigger allergies in the wintertime are the same as the culprits that attack during the other seasons:

  • Mold: Even when it’s cold outside, there can still be dampness in your house, which in turn can host mold. Bathrooms and basements are typical growth areas, but you may also find mold in places that aren’t properly insulated or in the pile of fireplace wood that you just brought in from outside.
  • Dust mites: With forced-air furnaces and lack of ventilation, not to mention children who spend more time inside than out, the airborne dust can really pile up. The same goes for pet dander.

In addition, the symptoms of winter allergies are the same as in any other season:

  • Runny nose and nasal congestion
  • Watery or itchy eyes  
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Sinus pressure and facial pain
  • Circles under the eyes
  • Decreased sense of smell or taste

The difference is that in the winter, not only are you faced with these ailments, but also freezing cold temperatures, a weakened immune system and viruses that spread like wildfire. Suffering through winter allergies can really make you want to crawl into bed and hibernate.

Unfortunately for most of us, hibernation is not an option. Luckily, there are some things you can do to minimize the impact of winter allergens, including cleaning regularly and using a dehumidifier in problem areas. You can also try over-the-counter or prescription medications to alleviate your symptoms. However, if you are looking for a more permanent solution, especially if you suffer year-round, schedule a consultation at CT Sinus Center to see how we can help.

When you come in to CT Sinus Center, one of our expert physicians will sit down with you to thoroughly discuss your symptoms and diagnostic processes. We offer specific skin testing to evaluate for environmental allergies, including fungi. Once we diagnose specifically what is triggering your allergies, we’ll work to develop an individualized and effective treatment plan.

You may be eligible for balloon sinus dilation, a non-invasive, outpatient procedure that opens up the nasal passages, allowing more airflow and drainage, which in turn prevents future sinus issues. When you undergo balloon sinus dilation, in just under an hour, you will be on your way to long-lasting allergy relief. After all, don’t you deserve a break from the discomfort allergies bring during any season?

Sleep Apnea: Wake Up to Relief


You know snoring can be annoying, especially if the person who sleeps next to you is doing it; but did you also know that snoring can be a sign of a potentially serious medical condition? Loud snoring is one possible symptom of a disorder called sleep apnea, in which your breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Attention problems
  • Irritability

There are two main types of sleep apnea: central and obstructive, and each has a number of risk factors. Among those factors are obesity; age; jaw, tongue and palate structure; large tonsils and adenoids; and certain medical conditions.

In central sleep apnea, there is a disconnect causing your brain to stop sending signals to the muscles that control your breathing. In other words, you breathing isn’t getting blocked, you’re just not doing it. Usually there is a serious illness behind central sleep apnea such as a neurological disease or heart failure, and the route to treatment is through addressing the underlying cause.

Obstructive sleep apnea, which is more common, occurs when the throat muscles relax and the airway narrows, limiting air intake and lowering the amount of oxygen in your blood. This can happen several times an hour, and when it does, you may wake yourself up by gasping or choking. However, many times you may fall right back asleep and never know it happened.

The danger of sleep apnea is that it can lead to serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease, so it is important that you see a doctor if you, or someone you love, have any of the following symptoms:

  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up gasping
  • Headaches
  • Irritability or Depressing
  • Excessive sleepiness

There are variety of surgical and nonsurgical treatment options available, depending on the cause and type of your apnea. If it is determined that you can benefit from a surgical procedure, schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians at our sister branch Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat. Westwood ENT provides superior patient-centered treatment for sleep disorders in up-to-date facilities. We offer many non-invasive, outpatient procedures that last only a few hours and leave you with minimal discomfort during recovery and maximum relief afterward. These procedures target the nose and throat and include radiofrequency turbinate reduction, tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy and deviated septum repair.

For more information on snoring and sleep apnea and how we can help, call us at (888) 230-3715 and schedule a consultation. A good night’s sleep should not be a pipe dream.

Top 4 Signs of Sinusitis

For the last couple of weeks, you’ve been feeling congested and have had some swelling just above your cheeks. You keep telling yourself it’s just a cold, and if you give it a few more days, it’ll pass. But a few days later, you’re completely fatigued and feel like someone is pounding on your eyes from the outside in. Deep in your heart, you know you are suffering from sinusitis.

Sinusitis is a common condition wherein the area around your nasal passages, the sinuses, become swollen. Acute sinusitis is a temporary infection that is most often associated with a cold. Usually, in an acute case,  over-the-counter remedies, fluids and rest are all you need to feel better after a couple of days. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis persists much longer — at least eight weeks — and requires help from a doctor.

In order to be diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

In addition, you may also be experiencing:

  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Aching in the jaw and teeth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

If we have just described how you’ve been feeling,  it’s time to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable physicians at CT Sinus Center. Depending on your individual symptoms and medical history, your doctor may use a variety of diagnostic methods to determine the underlying cause of your discomfort.

In many cases, your doctor will recommend saline irrigation, nasal sprays to prevent inflammation, decongestant or corticosteroids to relieve inflammation. If you have a bacterial infection, you will likely be prescribed antibiotics.

If these treatments don’t do the trick, or your symptoms keep coming back, CT Sinus Center can help you find the permanent relief that has been eluding you. Schedule a consultation with one of our specialists to see if you are eligible for Balloon Sinus Dilation, a procedure designed to reshape your nasal passages, thereby increasing airflow and drainage and decreasing the chance of mucus buildup and further sinus problems. This non-evasive procedure is done under local anesthesia and takes just under an hour. It is available only at CT Sinus Center.

For more information on how we can help you get permanent relief from sinusitis, schedule an appointment today!