Monthly Archives: June 2016

7 Ways to Have a Safe and Festive Fourth of July

Fourth of JulyWith the Fourth of July approaching, many people are preparing for barbeques, fireworks and all the patriotic fun the holiday brings. However, if you are an allergy sufferer, some of these activities may throw up red flags. So in order to help ensure that you and your loved ones have a safe celebration, we compiled a list of things to watch out for.

  1. Pollen counts: Of course you can’t control nature, but if you are aware of the daily pollen counts, you can at least prepare yourself. Allergy medications work best when you take them before you are exposed to the allergens, so make sure to take the correct dose before heading out to the festivities and continue to take as directed.
  2. Grass: There’s a good chance that wherever you’re celebrating, there will be grass — whether watching fireworks or hanging out at a park or a backyard BBQ. During this time of the year, grass pollens are pretty hard to avoid, especially since the holiday is so close to June, the time in which grass pollen count skyrockets. Grass can also be a breeding ground for mold, which can trigger allergic symptoms as well. If you are sensitive to these elements, take you allergy medication and find alternatives to sitting in the grass.
  3. Insects: Another hidden danger in grass involves insects. The saying “they won’t bother you if don’t bother them” may often be true, but insect behavior tends to be unpredictable. Be sure to pack your bug spray  and follow these tips from the  the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology to ward off any unprovoked attacks. And if you or someone does have a known allergy to insect bites/stings, make sure you’ve also packed the EpiPen.
  4. Balloons: Who doesn’t love balloons? Someone with a latex allergy. Many party planners don’t take latex allergies into account when they are buying decorations, and it’s not unusual for guests, especially children, to reach out and grab balloons. So if you are buying balloons for your Fourth of July celebration, buy the latex-free ones.
  5. Smoke: Where there are fireworks, there is usually also smoke. The same can be said for campfires and even the grill. Usually the smoke itself is an irritant, rather than an allergen, but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause serious health issues. People who suffer from asthma or COPD are particularly susceptible to the dangers of smoke and should stay out of smoke’s way. And, of course, everyone should remain conscious of fire and firework safety at all times.
  6. Food allergies: In the last couple of years, the world has become much more sensitive about food allergies, and just because it’s a holiday, it doesn’t mean you should take a break from being conscientious about them. For some delicious, allergy-friendly Fourth of July recipes, visit My Allergy Kingdom.
  7. PTSD: Not everybody loves fireworks, in fact for some Veterans, they can be downright terrifying. The loud explosions and flashes of light in a firework display can trigger frightening flashbacks for our Veterans, and nobody wants that to happen. To learn more about how you can help your Veterans cope during Fourth of July celebrations, visit here. After all, we have them to thank for our continued independence.

With a little planning ahead, everyone can have a blast on the Fourth of July. At CT Sinus Center, we would like to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday!

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

Allergy Shots: Yea or Nay?

Allergy ShotsFor some people, no amount of antihistamines, decongestants or corticosteroids, prescription or over-the-counter, provide relief from their chronic allergy symptoms. For these people, allergy shots are another option.

Mayo Clinic describes immunotherapy, or allergy shots, as the “carefully timed and gradually increased exposure to allergens, particularly those that are difficult to avoid, such as pollens, dust mites and molds.” The desired outcome, as the name suggests, is to get the immune system to the point where it becomes used to the allergens and no longer reacts. The treatment itself is similar to being vaccinated, but the resistance can take three to six months and required shots once or twice a week. After that period, less frequent shots are still necessary for up to five years.

One of the great things about allergy shots is that they carry very little risk and are usually very effective, although you may react to the allergens entering your body depending on the severity of your allergy.

Mayo Clinic explains the risks:

  • Local reactions can involve temporary redness, swelling or irritation at the injection site.
  • Systemic reactions, which are less common, involve typical allergy symptoms from minor nasal congestion to more severe wheezing.
  • Anaphylaxis, which is extremely rare, can begin within 30 minutes. The procedure is done in a doctor’s office so that if this does occur, you are still under a doctor’s care.

When deciding whether or not the shots are right for you, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests considering the following factors:

  • The length of allergy season and the severity of your symptoms
  • Whether medications and/or changes to your environment can control your symptoms
  • Your desire to avoid long-term medication use
  • Time: allergy immunotherapy requires a major time commitment
  • Cost: may vary depending on your region and insurance coverage

If you are an allergy sufferer, but are not sure you want to go through this procedure, CT Sinus Center has another option for you. Our expert physicians specialize in up-to-date, innovative procedures that can put an end to your allergy suffering forever.

Say “nay” to allergy shots.

When you come in for your appointment at CT Sinus Center, our doctors will begin with a patient-centered approach and thoroughly discuss your symptoms. They will then perform comprehensive diagnostic testing to figure out exactly what is triggering your allergies in order to develop an individualized treatment plan. 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. Both are one-time procedures that will last a lifetime.

If you are ready to take a shot at a allergy-free life, 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.

Scratching Out Skin Allergies

Skin AllergiesSometimes you wear your allergies on your sleeve, or at least under it if you suffer from skin allergies. These allergies, while usually not life-threatening, can be very uncomfortable. There are four types of skin allergies recognized by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:

1. Hives (Urticaria) are bumps on the skin that usually itch, but can burn too. The  reaction can be caused by the following conditions:

  • Foods
  • Medications
  • Common allergens (pollen, animal dander, latex, insect stings)
  • Environmental factors (heat, cold, sunlight, emotional stress)
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Genetics

2. Angioedema is similar to hives, but affects deeper levels of skin. It can be life-threatening when occurring in the throat or on the tongue because it may hinder breathing.

3. Contact dermatitis: This reaction occurs when an allergen comes into contact with your skin. It appears as a red, itchy rash and can be quite uncomfortable. According to WebMD, the following are the most common causes of contact dermatitis:

  • Nickel (a metal used in jewelry and snaps on jeans, makeup, lotions, soaps, shampoos)
  • Sunscreens and bug sprays
  • Medications you put on your skin (antibiotics, anti-itch creams)
  • Fragrances
  • Cleaning products
  • Plants
  • Latex (plastic gloves, elastic in clothing, condoms, balloons)
  • Chemicals

4. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, manifests as itchy, red and dry skin. It affects people of all ages, but usually begins in early childhood. Eczema is not actually caused by the body’s release of histamines as in most allergic reactions. In fact the exact cause is unknown, but there is a proven link between seasonal allergies and eczema.

There are few things you can do to self-treat skin allergies, and in most cases, the reaction will go away on its own. Treatments include:

The problem is that when you are re-exposed to the allergen, the reaction comes back.

The best thing to do is to avoid the allergen completely, but you can’t do that until you know exactly what it is. Even then, completely avoiding it may not be realistic.

However, if you suffer from skin allergies, our expert physicians at our sister office Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat can help. When you come in for an appointment, our doctors will take the time to sit down with you and thoroughly discuss your symptoms. They will then do a very thorough skin test to determine what exactly you’re allergic to. Next they will discuss all possible treatment options and put you on an individualized treatment plan that is sure to make your life much more comfortable.

Call (888) 230-3715 today to schedule your appointment at one of Westwood’s  three conveniently- located offices, and say goodbye to your irritation — skin and otherwise.

For more information on sinus allergy conditions, visit the CT Sinus website and blog.

5 Common Mistakes That Make Allergies Worse

Allergy mistakesDoes it seem that no matter what you do to treat your
allergies, nothing seems to be working? Perhaps instead of helping, you’re actually committing some of the following common treatment mistakes. So before you suffer another day, let’s take a look at some “fixes” you should be avoiding.

  1. Mistake: Treating symptoms, not underlying causes. While you may be able to eliminate some of your symptoms with specific treatments, unless you address what’s causing them, the fix is only temporary. For example, if you are taking a decongestant for a stuffy nose or an antihistamine for a runny one, you may be able to breathe a bit more freely, however the relief will last only as long as the dosage does. Also, if you have chronic allergies, but you’re taking medication for the common cold, you may only get a break from some of your symptoms.

Correct way: See an allergy specialist for a diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan.

  1. Mistake: Taking medications too late. As we discussed in “Allergy Myths: The Truth Is Out There,” many people won’t reach for the allergy medications until they feel sick. However, once the allergy is in full-swing, it can be difficult to relieve its symptoms.

Correct way: “Pre-treat” by taking the medicine before you are exposed to the allergen, thereby preventing, or at least lessening, the allergic reaction. Pre-treating often means taking the medication long-term and year-round.

  1. Mistake: Ignoring pollen count. If you ask the average person how the pollen count is measured, he or she may tell you that it is an estimated level based on how much pollen is seen in the air and on surfaces. Actually, pollen count is a real, scientific measurement of how much pollen and mold is saturating the air, and higher levels represent danger for allergy sufferers.

Correct way: Schedule your life around the pollen count.

  1. Mistake: Inviting pollen in. You probably think of dust being inside of your house, and pollen being outside. However, pollen will find its way into your home — and you may be responsible. First, opening windows lets the fresh air in, but it also lets the pollen in. Also, pollen can gather on shoes and clothing, which then can be tracked throughout your house. It can even settle into clothing that is hanging on an outside clothesline, so your freshly washed clothes may not be as clean as you thought.

Correct way: Constantly wash your clothes, dry them inside, and shower to remove the pollen from your skin. Always leave windows closed.

  1. Mistake: Misusing air purifiers or humidifiers. Both of these machines are great for improving the air quality in your home. However if you don’t keep up on the maintenance and clean the filters, you are only be recirculating the pollen and mold that was making you ill in the first place.

Correct way: Make sure you are always using distilled water, and clean your filters regularly.

It is said that doing things over and over in the same way, but expecting different results, is the definition of insanity. So why keep making the same mistakes over and over when treating your allergies? On the other hand, doing things the correct way can be quite time-consuming and inconvenient — and temporary.

The expert physicians at CT Sinus Center can help you break through this frustrating and expensive cycle to find permanent relief. First and foremost, we will take the time to sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and then use the most up-to-date diagnostic tools to find out exactly what’s causing them. Next, we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan designed to get you on the path to symptom-free living in no time. 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, opening passages and relieving your allery symptoms forever.

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.

Fairfield County Office Now Booking Appointments

Until now, if you live in Fairfield County, you’ve had to travel a little bit out of your way to find expert sinus relief. Now, beginning August 4, CT Sinus Center is bringing its proven, permanent sinus solutions to your neighborhood!

Our brand new office will be conveniently located at 4 Corporate Drive, Suite 392, in Shelton. This new location will allow us to help even more sinusitis and allergy sufferers get back to the quality of life they deserve.

CT Sinus Center is the leading provider of a one-hour permanent solution to sinus suffering called balloon sinus dilation.This non-invasive procedure increases the airflow through nasal passages, reducing the recurrence of ailments and providing you with long-lasting, much needed relief.

Schedule your appointment today at our new Fairfield County office by calling 860-BALLOON. Whether you are eligible for balloon sinus dilation or any other of our highly effective methods of treatment, CT Sinus Center will get you back to feeling like you in no time.

Our office doors will not open until August 4, but our services are in demand, so secure your appointment today. Don’t miss your chance to get ahead of allergy season.

For more information on how the expert physicians at CT Sinus Center can help you, visit our website and blog, and call 860-BALLOON.

CT Sinus Center comes to Fairfield County


For years, CT Sinus Center has been bringing permanent allergy and sinus relief to Connecticut, securing our position as the leader in our field. Now, in response to our proven success, we are proud to announce that we’ll be opening a brand new office on Corporate Drive in Shelton. By August 4, Fairfield County residents will be able to seek superior sinus treatment in an office conveniently located in their own neighborhood.

This fourth location will allow us to bring sinus relief to every corner of the state. Meanwhile, we will continue to provide the state-of-the-art treatment that you’ve come to expect from us, including balloon sinus dilation, a non-invasive, innovative procedure that may put a permanent end to your sinus problems in less than an hour.

Are you interested in learning more about what CT Sinus Center is all about? Watch this brief introductory video to see what we can do for you.

Then, when you are ready to say goodbye to your chronic sinus suffering, call us and book an appointment at one of our four offices: Waterbury, Litchfield, Sharon, and soon, Shelton. When you come in for a consultation, our expert physicians will thoroughly discuss your individual symptoms and the available treatment options. They will have you back on the path to feeling like yourself in no time.

For more information on CT Sinus Center, visit our website and our blog.

Make an appointment and get a jump start on putting an end to your seasonal allergies forever. With four CT Sinus Center locations, sinus relief is nearby — no matter where you live.