Monthly Archives: April 2016


Should You Drop Your Allergy Eye Medications?

Eye drops

Seasonal or year-long eye allergies, or allergic conjunctivitis, can make you see red.

In addition to redness (bloodshot eyes), symptoms of eye allergies include:

  • Itching
  • Tearing/watery eyes
  • Swollen eyes
  • Burning
  • Blurred vision
  • Runny nose

Unless a viral infection develops (pink eye), an eye allergy is not usually serious. But it can be quite uncomfortable.

The AmericanTM  Academy of Ophthalmologists cites the following as eye allergy triggers: pollen, grass, weeds, dust, chemicals (such as in smoke, perfume, cosmetics and drugs) and pet dander. You’ll notice that these are the same allergens that cause allergic rhinitis, and the two conditions usually go hand in hand. However, while allergic rhinitis affects the nasal passages, eye allergies, per WebMD, occurs when the thin layer of skin that covers the front of your eyes and the inside of your eyelids becomes irritated.

The most common self-treatment for irritated eyes is eye drops, but over-the-counter drops should only be used for two to three days and you should not use them with contacts. The type of drops you use depends on your symptoms and include:

Antihistamines: Good for watery, itchy eyes, these drops work quickly, but only for a short time.

Nonsteroid anti-inflammatories: Used to treat itchy eyes, these drops can cause burning when first applied and are only effective for about an hour.

Corticosteroid anti-inflammatories: Although helpful for severe or long-term issues, these drops can have serious side effects including cataracts, eye infections, glaucoma and increased pressure in the eye.

Decongestants: Otherwise known as vasoconstrictors, these drops reduce the redness in the whites of your eyes. They are not recommended for treating allergies, and when used long-term, can actually intensify redness and swelling. Also, people with glaucoma should never use decongestant eye drops.

Mast Cell Stabilizers: These drops work like antihistamines by blocking histamine as well as other substances that your body produces during an allergy attack. They are known to be effective without side effects, however work to prevent the reaction rather than treat it.

Multi-action: These are multi-ingredient drops that come in two formulas: antihistamine/decongestant that help alleviate itching, tearing, and redness and antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer that affect all of the above plus burning.

On the other hand, if you rather avoid any type of medication, you can help alleviate allergens by constantly cleaning to eliminate dust mites and pet dander, using a humidifier, or staying indoors.

Or you can make an appointment with CT Sinus Center to see how we can put an end to your allergy suffering. Through our patient-centered approach, our expert physicians will complete thorough and specific skin testing to determine exactly what is causing your allergic reactions. Then our allergy team will develop an individualized and effective treatment plan, whether it includes medication, a small life adjustment (as your allergic reaction could be caused by a pollutant in your environment), or a simple procedure such as balloon sinus dilation or turbinate reduction that will get you back to feeling — and seeing — permanently better in as little as one day.

When it comes to allergies, don’t turn a blind eye. Call (860) BALLOON to make an appointment at one of our conveniently-located offices today.

For more information on all things sinus- and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Don’t Let Allergies Keep You Prisoner in Your Own Home

Allergies

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the newly-bloomed flowers are swaying in the breeze. It’s a beautiful spring day! At least it seems to be as you look out the closed window in your living room.

Now that the temperature is rising, so is the pollen count. And as much as you want to enjoy the nice weather, your allergies to trees, grasses and pollen are making it very difficult. If you are one of the 58 million people who suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis (otherwise known as hay fever or allergies), you know that springtime can mean the following things:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Dark circles under the eyes

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), the following climate factors influence the severity of your allergies:

  • Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days.
  • Molds grow quickly in heat and high humidity.
  • Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours.
  • Rain washes pollen away, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall.
  • On a day with no wind, airborne allergens are grounded, but when the day is windy and warm, pollen counts surge.

The ACAAI also offers some suggestions for dealing with your allergy symptoms:

  • Monitor pollen and mold counts.
  • Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car.
  • Stay inside midday and during the afternoon, when pollen counts are highest.
  • Take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.
  • Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing other chores outdoors.

Of course you can take over-the-counter or prescription medicine as well to relieve your symptoms. These include:

Following the suggestions above is a lot of work, and all of this treatment can take a toll on you, physically, emotionally and financially. But if you can’t get rid of the elements that cause your allergies, what choice do you have than to suffer, go to extreme lengths for relief, or just hide inside behind closed windows for the next couple of months?

Well, you could schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center with one of our expert physicians whose patient-centered approach and up-to-date treatment methods will get you ready to head back out into the great outdoors — in as little as one day. Whether you undergo Balloon Sinus Dilation, an in-house process in which a small balloon is inflated in the nasal cavity under local anesthesia, or Turbinate Reductions, an outpatient surgical process in which soft tissue is removed during an outpatient surgical process, your seasonal allergies will be a thing of the past, making stepping outside a breath of fresh air.

Now that it looks like spring may be here to stay — don’t quote us on that — make sure you don’t miss a single nice day because of your allergies. There are too many baseball games, walks, bike rides, picnic, “fill in the blanks” to fit in over the next couple of months. Call (860) BALLOON today to see how we can help you spring back into enjoying the season.

For more information on all things sinus- and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blogs.


Should You Take an Antibiotic for Sinus Infections?

antibiotic

Today, the medical community knows that prescribing antibiotics for sinus infections isn’t always the right route to go. In fact, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology cites that about 60 to 70 percent of people with sinus infections can get better without any antibiotics at all. However, not everyone is listening. WebMD reports that “[a]bout 90 percent of adults seen in the U.S. by a general practice physician do end up getting an antibiotic for acute sinusitis.”

How many of us have gone to the doctor and heard, “You have a sinus infection; I’ll give you an antibiotic to be on the safe side.” The truth is that unless the symptoms have lasted more than 10 days or have disappeared and come back within a few days, your infection is most likely viral. And unfortunately, antibiotics won’t help a virus.

But the real issue associated with taking an antibiotic when it isn’t necessary goes beyond it being ineffective: it’s antibiotic resistance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.”

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria become so used to a particular medication that they mutate and are no longer affected by the same drug. This new resistant strain then multiplies and continues to cause harm until a new antibiotic is developed to treat it. And then the circle begins again. 

Why should you care about antibiotic resistance? The CDC explains:

[It] can cause illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics to become dangerous infections, prolonging suffering for children and adults. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can spread to family members, schoolmates, and co-workers, and may threaten your community. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often more difficult to kill and more expensive to treat. (CDC)

While the above scenario sounds like something out of the latest zombie movie, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem throughout the global medical community. This is not to say, however, that you should never take an antibiotic. In the case of a bacterial infection or people who have trouble fighting off infections, antibiotics are highly effective if taken correctly.

The question is: If you suffer from chronic sinus infections, either viral or bacterial, do you really want to risk antibiotic resistance when the drug may not even work at all? You probably don’t.

Here at CT Sinus Center, we specialize in alternative treatments that will put an end to your sinus suffering without the risks associated with antibiotics. Known as the leaders in permanent relief, our expert physicians have perfected two procedures that are designed to drain your sinuses and increase airflow through your nasal passages: Balloon Sinus Dilation, in which a small balloon is inflated in the nasal cavity under local anesthesia, and Turbinate Reductions, in which soft tissue is removed during an outpatient surgical process. Both solutions will have you seeing results in as little as one day.

So say goodbye to the never ending antibiotics for sinus infections and hello to our patient-centered, drug free approach. Call us today at (860) BALLOON for your appointment to come in and see what we can do for you.

For more information on all things sinus and allergy, visit the CT Sinus Center website and take a look at our blog.


The Real Costs of Allergies

The Real Cost of Allergies

Suffering from allergies can be expensive, especially if you have them year-round. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), “Allergies are the 6th leading causes of chronic illness in the United States, with more than 50 million sufferers each year. “

In our previous blog “Say ‘No’ to Lifelong Sinus Medication’” we shared a study by the Academy of Allergy and Asthma in Primary Care stating that (combined) per year, sinus sufferers spend $17.5 billion on health costs, lose 6 million work and school days, and make 16 million visits to the doctor.

While those numbers are frightening enough, let’s take a look at some of the costs that you may not necessarily consider when estimating the more obvious expenses such as copays and medication (over-the-counter and prescription):

  • Side effects of treatments
  • Constant fatigue
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Lack of sleep
  • Low motivation
  • Loss of productivity
  • Pressure to make up lost professional or academic work from sick work/school days
  • Time lost traveling to doctor’s offices
  • Gas/Parking fees for doctor’s office
  • Restricted diet
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Poor nutrition
  • Vitamin Supplements
  • Natural/Organic Alternatives (such as nasal irrigation)
  • Lost family time
  • Lost personal time
  • Lost outdoor time (to avoid pollen)
  • Excessive Cleaning (to eliminate dust)
  • Cosmetic Purchases (to cover up dark circles and puffy eyes)
  • Frustration
  • Depression

These are just some of the hidden costs of suffering from allergies, and unfortunately, they are all very common and compound to make things even worse. Consequently, when you suffer from constant allergies, life isn’t as good as it should be. It’s really a vicious circle: When you’re not feeling well, you don’t do the things you should to take care of yourself. And when you don’t take care of yourself, you feel even worse both physically and emotionally. Of course, you can take decongestants, antihistamines and corticosteroids to help your symptoms, but each one of those options carry their own risks (including monetary costs).

There is help: CT Sinus Center can put a stop to your allergy suffering and get you back to feeling like yourself in as little as one day. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians and tell us exactly what you’ve been experiencing. Our patient-centered approach and up-to-date diagnostic methods and treatments , including balloon sinus dilation, will allow us to find the perfect path to putting an end to your suffering. This is why we are called the leaders in permanent relief.

It’s time to stop living in a haze of dust mites, pollen and losty experience, call us at (860) BALLOON and get back to the quality of life you deserve.

For more information on allergies and sinusitis, the CT Sinus Center website and blog.