Monthly Archives: February 2016


Recurring Respiratory Infections in Children: Can It Be PIDD?

PIDDDoes your child get sick a lot? Does his or her common cold or seasonal allergies often turn into something more serious like bronchitis or pneumonia? Or maybe he or she is prone to ear or sinus infections or multiple instances of strep throat each year.

Whatever it is, you hate to see your child not feeling well, and at the first sign of a problem, it’s off to the doctor’s office. Yet, although the physician gives excellent care and a healthy dose of antibiotics, you find that your child doesn’t respond to the treatment as well as you hoped.

If this is the case, it’s possible that you’re missing the whole picture: Your child may have a primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD). While this sounds like a very scary diagnosis, with awareness, monitoring and appropriate treatment, your child can go on to live a perfectly normal life.

PIDD is a genetic condition and is not contagious. Mayo Clinic explains, “Problems in the DNA — the genetic code that acts as a blueprint for producing the cells that make up the human body — cause many of the immune system defects in primary immunodeficiency.” This means that a person born with PIDD is missing some parts of the immune system that fight off infection, therefore making the person more susceptible to illness.

There are over 200 types of deficiencies, each one affecting different parts of the immune system, and cases can vary from so mild that they aren’t detected to others that require more aggressive treatment such as regular doses of antibiotics through an IV. PIDD is usually first diagnosed in children, although it may not be apparent in the very early stages of development.

Diagnosing PIDD involves examining family history and blood tests. If a deficiency is detected, there are many treatments available to minimize your child’s risk for and shorten the period of infection. Medicinal approaches include antibiotics for the infection itself and ibuprofen, decongestants and expectorants to address the symptoms. In some cases, treatments intended to boost the immune system, including immunoglobulin therapy, gamma interferon therapy, and growth factors, are undertaken. In extremely rare and serious cases, stem cell transplantation may be an option.

Fortunately, the majority of PIDD suffers respond well to an aggressive antibiotic routine, and while there is no way to prevent the disorder, Mayo Clinic offers the following tips on how to help prevent infection. In fact, these tips are beneficial to non-PIDD sufferers as well.

  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Take care of your teeth.
  • Eat right.
  • Be physically active.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Manage stress.
  • Avoid exposure.
  • Ask your doctor about vaccinations.

If it sounds like your child may be suffering from primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD), don’t panic. Instead, schedule a consultation with one of our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center to discuss if your child’s recurring sinus conditions, diagnostic options and how we can help.

Call us at 860-BALLOON today. We understand what it’s like to have a child not feeling well, and our patient-centered, individualized treatment will put both you and your child on the path to feeling much better in no time.

 


Break Up with Your Allergies on Valentine’s Day

Ah, Valentine’s Day: A time for love, passion … and allergens. Unfortunately for people with allergies, the holiday can result in not only a shot from Cupid’s arrow, but also one from an EpiPen.

Here are some common allergies associated with the day:

Food

When you think of Valentine’s Day, you think of candy; maybe even those heart-shaped boxes of assorted chocolates that — once you inevitably lose the key on the inside cover — end up being a game of chance as to what you’re getting. Even if you are able to hold onto the key, you’ll find that the mix is a treasure trove of common allergy triggers: eggs, milk, nuts, wheat, gelatin and food coloring. Instead, opt for allergy-free candies. With a variety of flavors and ingredients, these safer treats are sure to please any sweetie with a sweet tooth.

Also, before you toast to your love with wine, be aware that wine may also cause an allergic reaction. Both red and white wine contain histamine and sulfite, in varying concentrations, and can cause alcohol intolerance in some people. For more information on wine allergies, click here.

Flowers

Flowers are another staple of Valentine’s Day, but for people with pollen allergies, blooming bouquets may not make the best gifts. However, not all plants induce symptoms. For a list of allergy-friendly flowers and foliage, visit the Flower Shop Network Bloomin’ Blog. (Note: When ordering flowers, ask if any additional fragrance has been sprayed on them, because if your allergy-free flowers are coated with an allergen, your good intentions are moot.)

Nickel

Diamonds may be girl’s best friend, but not if they’re set in nickel. According to Mayo Clinic, nickel allergy is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis, and many people don’t realize that it’s a major component of jewelry. If you want to give your nickel-sensitive honey a token of your love, don’t dismay, heed WebMD’s advice:

Make sure [the] jewelry is made of surgical-grade stainless steel or either 14-, 18- or 24-karat yellow gold. White gold may contain nickel. Other nickel-free metals include pure sterling silver, copper, platinum and titanium. Polycarbonate plastic is okay. If you buy [the allergic person] earrings that contain nickel, add plastic covers made specifically for earring studs.

Kissing

Yes, there really is something called “kissing allergies,” and we’re not talking about the “cooties” that tormented our childhood. A kissing allergy occurs when someone who is highly allergic to a particular food or medication kisses someone who has just ingested the allergen. Therefore, if you take your shellfish-allergic date out for dinner, you won’t want to order the oysters rockefeller. And if you do, wait a few hours before delivering that smooch.

When it comes to gift-giving on Valentine’s Day, it may be the thought that counts, but a romantic evening can go sour quickly if one of you has an allergic reaction. And really, when it comes down to it, what could be more thoughtful than than keeping your Valentine’s heath and safety in mind?

If you or someone you love suffers from allergies, schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center to see how we can help. For more information on all things allergies, visit our website and blog.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours from CT Sinus Center!


Nasal Irrigation: Friend or Foe?

Nasal irrigation is a process in which you use a sterile saline solution to clear out the allergens and mucus that build up in your sinus cavity and cause sinus problems. Usually, these irritants are held at bay by the cilia, which are the hair-like substances in your nose that act as a filter. When the cilia gets clogged, they are unable to function properly, which is when sinus problems arise.  

The treatment originates from a practice from India called Ayurveda that used nasal irrigation as a daily hygiene practice. Today it’s used as a sinus and allergy treatment, and different types of kits can be bought in pretty much any store health section. You can also find instructions online on how to make your own. Since all of the irrigation systems do the same thing, picking one comes down to personal preference.

The irrigation process involves pouring a sterile saline solution into one nostril so that it runs through the nasal cavity and comes out the other nostril. As the solution passes through, it removes dirt and allergens and thins out the mucus that is causing congestion and sinus problems. To see how it works, click here.

If you ask people about nasal irrigation, such as a sinus flush or neti pot, you’ll find that they’ll either swear by it or be terrified by it. But what do the medical professionals say?

Actually, there is some disagreement in the medical community. Most doctors agree that if done correctly, the procedure is beneficial for short-term treatment. However, many are concerned that long-term usage can be counterproductive and actually harmful. In 2009, a study by the College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology showed that “patients who used nasal saline irrigation for a year and then stopped using it for a year had a 62% lower incidence of sinusitis during the year in which they stopped.” There are a few reasons for this outcome:

  • While some mucus is bad, some of it is necessary to keep your sinuses functioning correctly. In addition, there are beneficial agents — antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral — that are also flushed out with nasal irrigation.
  • People use contaminated water,which can lead to illness. It is important to use distilled or sterile water. If you have to use tap, boil it first.
  • Irrigation, according to some sources, can damage the mucus membrane in the nose.
  • The irrigation device can carry germs. If not properly disinfected, the treatment can quickly turn to a cause.

Overall, using nasal irrigation is a lot of work for a short-term solution, especially when CT Sinus Center can help you put a permanent end to your allergies or sinusitis suffering without the hassle. We offer an in-office procedure called balloon sinus dilation that, in just under an hour, will flush away your sinus conditions forever. Schedule a consultation today with one of our expert physicians to see if you are eligible for balloon sinus dilation or any of our proven methods of time-tested treatments.
For more information on sinus conditions and CT Sinus Center, visit our website and blog.