Monthly Archives: September 2016


7 Tips Com(piled) for Mold Allergy Season

Mold Allergy SeasonIf you live in New England, fallen leaves are just another fact of life, and so is having to rake them. There are a few people who find raking cathartic, but most find it a bothersome chore. And whether they like it or not, for people with fall allergies, raking leaves can be downright dangerous.

Leave piles are a breeding ground for mold spores, and the spores themselves are extremely airborne, especially during the warm part of the day. Because they are so light, mold spores are easily inhaled. Therefore, just being around mold can trigger an allergic reaction, so you can imagine what raking them and stirring up the pollen can do.

The best way to avoid mold allergy symptoms is simply to stay away from mold — but that is easier said than done. You have to go outside and if you have a yard, you’ll have to rake leaves. And anyway, you don’t want to allow allergies to keep you trapped inside the house on beautiful fall days.

To help you get through leave season as healthy as possible, we have compiled a list of ways to reduce your symptoms as much as possible.

  1. Check the pollen count. Try to do your yardwork on the days that the pollen and mold counts are lower. For up-to-date tree, weed, grass and mold levels in your area, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
  2. Clean your gutters. Leaves can accumulate in the gutters, where if left, will further decay and produce mold.

  3. Wear a mask. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests a NIOSH rated N95 mask for preventing inhalation of pollen and mold spores while working outside.

  4. Keep windows closed and clean air filters. Since they are so light and airborne, it is easy for the mold spores living in the leaves to come in through your windows, air conditioners and air purifiers.

  5. Shower/bathe after raking leaves. After working in the yard, bathe in order to clean off any pollen and spores that are on your skin. Then put on clean clothes and wash the ones you were wearing. Dry them in the drier or inside so because wet clothes hanging on a line will attract allergens.

  6. Take allergy medication. Over-the-counter and prescription medications come in many forms — antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays — and, while temporary fixes, work well when taken correctly. Allergy shots lead to permanent relief, but the process itself takes many years and numerous injections per month.

  7. Visit CT Sinus Center. If you are looking for a permanent solution to your fall mold allergies, especially if you suffer from seasonal allergies year long, we can help. Through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, our expert physicians will find the right treatment for your specific symptoms. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of  CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices, and let us help you leave your mold allergies behind.

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


How to Soothe a Sore Throat

sore throatSore throats are irritating and annoying, no matter how bad they are. The most common type of sore throat is called pharyngitis and usually occurs alongside a cold or flu virus. Allergies are another common cause of throat irritation.

A sore throat is pretty easy to diagnose and treat at home, although it is always a good idea to get a sore throat checked out by a physician in order to rule out bacterial infection or other medical conditions. The tell-tale symptoms of a sore throat include:

  • Pain in your throat
  • Itching in your throat
  • Increased pain when talking or swallowing
  • Inflamed tonsils or glands
  • Voice loss

For at-home treatments, you can try over-the-counter medications such as:

You can also try natural remedies:

  • Gargles:
    • Warm salt water
    • Fresh lemon juice, honey, hot water
    • Ginger, honey water
    • Cayenne pepper, water
  • Drinks:
    • Apple cider vinegar, honey, water
    • Herbal tea (chamomile, licorice root, marshmallow root, peppermint, clove)
  • Raw garlic (eaten, chewed, sucked on)

Unfortunately, even though these home remedies work well, they are only temporary, and if you suffer from allergies, you may be self-treating your sore throat much more often than you’d like. This can become inconvenient and expensive.

For a long-lasting solution, you’ll want to treat the cause of your pain: post nasal drip from allergies. At CT Sinus Center, we have the knowledge and means to do just that. Take the first step toward permanent relief by scheduling an appointment to speak with our expert physicians. When you come in,the first thing we’ll do is talk to you about your symptoms and listen closely to what you have to say. Next, we’ll use the most up-to-date diagnostic tools to find out exactly what is causing your suffering and then how we can end it. You may be eligible for Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing and consequently, relieving post nasal drip. Or perhaps you are a better candidate for Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, quickly increasing airflow and reducing post nasal drip.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices, and let us permanently soothe your itchy, sore throat.

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


Is the Flu Shot for You?

Flu shotAs much as you may not want summer to be coming to an end, there are signs everywhere indicating that it is. One of those signs is the one standing in front of your pharmacy announcing that the flu shot is now available.

The seasonal flu, or influenza, is a respiratory viral infection and is not the same as the common cold. The flu season usually begins around October, peaks around January or February, and can last through the spring.

There are three types of flu virus: A, B and C. Usually types A or B cause epidemics, with type A bringing more severe symptoms. According to WebMD:

  • 5% to 20% of the U.S. population will get the flu, on average, each year.
  • 200,000 (approx.) Americans are hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness.
  • 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.
  • $10 billion+ is the average cost of hospitalizations and outpatient doctor visits related to the flu.

The flu shot (vaccine) is designed to help prevent you from getting the flu and passing it on to others. In the case that the influenza does get to you, having gotten the shot helps to diminish the severity of your illness. Like other vaccines, the flu shot must be given before the virus strikes so that your body can build up an immunity to it. Unlike with other vaccines, you should get the flu shot every year because the flu virus mutates from season to season, and in order to be protected, you need the most up-to-date formula.

It is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months gets a flu shot, especially children, people over 50 and people with certain chronic health conditions. There are, however, a few scenarios in which people should not be vaccinated or should take precautions when doing so. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides detailed information on who should or should not get the flu shot.

If you are still unsure about whether or not you should get the vaccine this year, check out these statistics also provided by the CDC:

  • A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010–2012.
  • Another study published in the summer of 2016 showed that people 50 years and older who got a flu vaccine reduced their risk of getting hospitalized from flu by 57%.
  • Flu vaccination also has been shown to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes (79%) and chronic lung disease (52%).
  • Vaccination helps protect women during pregnancy and their babies for up to 6 months after they are born. One study showed that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women was 92%
    effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu.

Have you made your decision?

Everyone here at CT Sinus Center hopes you make it through the flu season happy and healthy. And for all of your allergy and sinus needs, call us at 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

(For more information on allergy– and sinus-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.)


Conjunctivitis: Not Pretty in Pink (Eye)

ConjunctivitisIt’s not difficult to diagnose conjunctivitis (pink eye) since the primary symptom is a pink (red) coloring in the white of the eye or the inner eyelid. The other symptoms are pretty obvious too — the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists them as:

  • Swelling of the conjunctiva (the thin layer that lines the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid) and/or eyelids
  • Increased tear production
  • Feeling like a foreign body is in the eye(s) or an urge to rub the eye(s)
  • Itching, irritation, and/or burning
  • Discharge (pus or mucus)
  • Crusting of eyelids or lashes, especially in the morning
  • Contact lenses that do not stay in place on the eye and/or feel uncomfortable

One of the most concerning things about pink eye is that it is highly contagious. Or is it? Well, yes, if it is caused by a virus or bacteria, pink eye is extremely contagious and requires medical treatment. However, there is a non-infectious type of pink eye caused by allergies.

Allergic conjunctivitis can occur as a reaction to the same triggers that cause seasonal allergies (pollen, mold, pet dander, dust). WebMD explains that the layer of skin that covers your eyes and the inside of your lids is the same as the skin that lines the inside of your nose. It makes sense, then, that both areas can be irritated by the same substances. It also makes sense that this type of pink eye usually appears in both eyes.

Fortunately, allergic conjunctivitis will usually go away on its own, but why suffer if you don’t have to. When you make an appointment at CT Sinus Center, our expert physicians can help you keep from seeing red when allergies hit. When you come in, we will discuss your symptoms at length in order to find clues as to what is triggering your condition. Next, we will perform thorough testing to identify the actual cause of your allergies and develop an individualized treatment plan to get you back to seeing clearly in no time.

As we discussed in our blog “Should You Drop Your Allergy Eye Medications?” there are several ways to treat eye allergies with medications such as antihistamines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, corticosteroid anti-inflammatories, decongestants, and mast cell stabilizers. Immunotherapy (shots or SLIT) is another effective way of treating allergic conjunctivitis.

Also, because eye allergies are usually a sign of seasonal allergies and are accompanied by the same symptoms (congestion, runny nose, cough, sinus pressure), you may be eligible for one of our two outpatient procedures that can put a permanent end to sinus suffering altogether:

  1. Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
  2. Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Isn’t it time you found relief? Call (860) BALLOON to make an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices today. We promise you that our allergy team will be a sight for sore eyes.

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