Monthly Archives: May 2016


Recognizing Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic shock is a life-threatening allergic reaction that begins with our immune system. It occurs when our bodies release an antibody called Immunoglobulin E in an attempt to fight it off what it recognizes as a potentially dangerous allergen. This antibody triggers specific reactions in the body that translate to the common symptoms of anaphylactic symptoms. Mayo Clinic lists the symptoms as:

  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing or wheezing (due to a swollen tongue or throat)
  • Facial swelling
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Sensation of a lump in your throat
  • Shock

What causes anaphylactic shock?

Knowing what can trigger anaphylaxis is extremely important for you and everyone around you. These include:

  • Dairy (milk, cheese, eggs, etc.)
  • Nuts (including tree nuts)
  • Shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp, etc.)
  • Seeds (sesame, etc.)
  • Stings (bee, wasp, etc.)
  • Medications (penicillin, etc.)

It is also important to mention that, according to Webmd, “exercise can trigger anaphylaxis if the activity occurs after eating allergy-provoking food” and “pollens and other inhaled allergens (allergy-causing substances) rarely cause anaphylaxis.”

How Do I Treat It?

If you or someone you know is experiencing anaphylactic shock, seek medical help immediately. Anyone who knows they have a serious allergy, should always carry epinephrine, usually in the form of an EpiPen. Epinephrine is adrenaline that, when injected through the outer thigh and into the muscle, can reverse anaphylaxis and keep the heart beating. Once the medication is administered, immediate medical care is still necessary.

Doctors are best informed on how to treat such maladies, and if you have had a reaction, even a milder one, it is important to discuss it with them. After that, it’s best to just avoid your allergens altogether if possible.

Because it is possible to develop a life-threatening allergy at any time in your life, it is imperative to understand what to do in a case of anaphylactic shock. Remember, though, that an allergy isn’t the end of the world as long as you educate yourself on the symptoms and take the correct precautionary steps in order keep safe.

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


How the Pollen Count Is Measured

Pollen

In last week’s blog “Allergens Are Coming: Be Prepared,” we discussed the rising pollen count and how it will affect your seasonal allergies. Actually, we talk about pollen count a lot, but have you ever wondered exactly what it is and how it is determined?

WebMD explains that the pollen count is determined by a formula that measures the number of pollen grains per cubic meter of air. The result fluctuates due to location and weather conditions, but no matter what, the higher the number, the worse you feel.

How is pollen count measured?

The National Allergy Bureau (NAB) actually has volunteer counters that must be certified through the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). The criteria for the position is high:

This program requires candidates to successfully complete both a 70 question multiple choice exam and a slide identification exam based on the “Knowledge Base for Counters.” The exam has a pass rate of 80%.To be a pollen counter, an applicant must accurately identify and count pollen on an actual pollen slide. To be a mold counter, an applicant must accurately identify and count mold spores on an actual mold slide (AAAAI).

These counters use machines called volumetric air samplers or rotation impact samplers, depending on whether they are counting both mold and pollen or only pollen, respectively. The actual pollen and mold spore count is reported and then matched to the appropriate level (low, moderate, high, very high) on the NAB pollen chart. This information later appears on pollen count and news websites.

Credit: American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology

Credit: American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology

This process is extremely interesting, but you really don’t need fancy equipment and a national bureau to tell you that the pollen count is high — your runny nose; itchy, watery eyes and sinus headache are all the proof you need. On the other hand, at CT Sinus Center, we offer numerous processes that can keep you breathing freely and enjoying your life no matter what the pollen count is.

With a patient-centered approach, our expert physicians will talk to you about your allergies and perform thorough skin testing to figure out exactly what is causing your symptoms. They will then create an individualized treatment plan that will have you saying goodbye to your allergies forever.

You may even be eligible for Balloon Sinus Dilation, an in-house process in which a small balloon is inflated in the nasal cavity under local anesthesia to promote drainage and natural healing. The benefits of this procedure include:

  • Long-term relief
  • Minimal downtime and recovery time
  • Increased airflow in nasal passages
  • Decrease in headaches
  • Non-invasive procedure done under local anesthesia

Now that is a process that is both interesting and relevant to your good health.

To see what we can do for you, call CT Sinus Center today at (860) BALLOON and schedule an appointment at one of our three conveniently-located offices.

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


Allergens Are Coming: Be Prepared

allergiesUsually by this time if you are prone to allergies and you live in Connecticut, you’re pretty miserable with the typical season symptoms: runny nose or congestion; sinus headaches; watery, itchy eyes; and cough. However, you may have noticed that this year has been a little different. With the weather fluctuating so much and all the rain, pollen counts, and consequently your allergies, have been kept at bay.

It seems, however, that warmer, sunnier skies are ahead, which is great news for our vitamin-D deficiency and our spirits, but not so great news for our allergies. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) explains that once the rain stops, the pollen count can skyrocket, and according to The Weather Channel, that is exactly what is about to happen.

Are you prepared for your allergies?

Maybe you have already stocked up on decongestants, antihistamines, corticosteroids, ibuprofen and eye drops and are ready to go as soon as your symptoms to hit. However, the truth is that in order to most effectively relieve your symptoms, you should be “pretreating,” taking the medicine before you are exposed to the allergen. This way, when your allergies do hit, the medication will already be working to either lessen the symptoms or prevent them altogether. This means that best way to treat your allergies is to treat them even when you’re allergy-free.

This proactive route can be expensive and inconvenient. Also allergy medications can cause both short- and long-term side effects, and the risks increase with increased usage.

So now, with allergy season about to hit with a vengeance, is there any other way you can prepare yourself? At CT Sinus Center, our answer to that question is “yes.” When it comes to sinus and allergies problems, we are the leader in permanent relief. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians to see how we can help you be ready.

During your consultation, we will take a patient-centered approach that begins with asking you exactly what symptoms you have and then performing thorough testing with up-to-date diagnostic methods to find out what’s causing them. Next we will discuss all available treatment options. You may be an ideal candidate for Balloon Sinus Dilation, a non-invasive, in-house procedure in which a small balloon is inflated in the nasal cavity in order to drain your sinuses and keep the passages permanently open. Or Turbinate Reductions may be the better choice for your symptoms. This is an outpatient surgical process in which soft tissue is removed in order to increase airflow and decrease post nasal drip. Whichever personalized treatment option we provide, you’ll be breathing freely even when the allergens fly (in all seasons).

We’ve been pretty lucky with the lack of allergy suffering this year, but it’s time to stop taking it for granted and be proactive about relief (before our luck runs out). Keep an eye on the daily pollen and mold report on this page of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology site, and call CT Sinus Center at (860) BALLOON so that the report becomes less of a warning and more like a reminder of the carefree summer days yet to come.  

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

 

 


Is Ibuprofen Right for a Sinus Headache?

Ibuprofen

Sometimes when you suffer from allergy or sinus congestion, you also have a headache that manifests as pain and pressure in your eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead. The pain may get worse upon bending over or lying down, and you may have additional symptoms including: runny nose, sore throat, cough and fatigue.

A sinus headache can be relentless and keep you from doing the things you need to do. So usually when people experience one, they seek relief as soon as they can. Often that relief comes in the form of ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). WebMD explains, “It works by blocking your body’s production of certain natural substances that cause inflammation. This effect helps to decrease swelling, pain or fever.”

You can purchase generic and name-brand ibuprofen (ex., Motrin and Advil), but you can also find it in a number of medications used for treating a variety of ailments, allergy– and sinus-related and otherwise. For an extensive list of medications that contain ibuprofen, visit this page on Drugs.com.

There are also a high number of risks associated with using ibuprofen. Some of the minor side effects include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea
  • Gas or bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Sun sensitivity

If you experience any of these reactions severely and/or prolonged, stop taking the ibuprofen and seek immediate medical attention.

Equally important, Everyday Health alerts users to the two black-box warnings on the ibuprofen bottle:

  1. Ibuprofen can increase the risk of heart trouble and has been linked to heart attacks, strokes and blood clots, all of which can be deadly.
  2. Ibuprofen can damage the lining of your stomach, putting you at risk for stomach ulcers and heartburn.

With all this in mind, you may wonder why anyone would use ibuprofen for a sinus headache at all. Well, the truth is, it is a very effective medication, and the side effects are rare.

However, at CT Sinus Center, we offer a different solution.

Let our expert physicians perform thorough testing in order to identify the underlying causes of your sinus headache and then work with you to choose the most effective treatment. You may be a candidate for 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 — both of which will allow air to flow freely through your sinus cavities and keep further problems from developing.

The next time you reach for that bottle of ibuprofen, consider calling CT Sinus Center at (860) BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our three conveniently-located offices. There is enough pressure in your life; there’s no need for it in your sinuses too.

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