Monthly Archives: November 2016

Are You Allergic to Fragrance?

FragranceHave you noticed that a certain fragrance can make you sneeze? Maybe it’s the perfume from the woman who shares your cube wall. Maybe it’s that little deodorizing tree hanging in your car. Or perhaps it’s the fancy soap you bought at the neighborhood artisan store.

You may be … or maybe not. The medical field hasn’t fully confirmed that fragrances are indeed allergens, or if they are merely irritants that cause a fragrance sensitivity. Either way, fragrances can cause a number of different symptoms, and if you’ve ever suffered because of a one, you know that it can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are repeatedly exposed to it.

According to Everyday Health, the symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • A tight feeling in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Worsening asthma symptoms
  • Runny and stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watering eyes
  • A skin allergy

These symptoms do sound a lot like the ones brought about by allergies, however, in order to be classified as an allergic reaction, the substance must trigger IgE antibody production. While this sounds like it should be easy to test, WebMD explains that it is difficult to isolate the actual culprit in the fragrance mix that is causing the reaction. Also, sometimes the reaction doesn’t involve antibodies, so the test wouldn’t yield results. The site also explains that according to experts, finding the cause often comes down to trial and error.

What do you do if you think you have a fragrance sensitivity?

The best thing to do, of course, is to avoid using that product. The problem is that fragrances are hard to avoid. WebMD tells us that “According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), some 5,000 different fragrances — and countless other fragrance combinations — are used in products today.” These products include, but are not limited to, soaps, lotions, cosmetics and cleaning products.

Unfortunately though, we don’t always have control over what we are exposed to, especially at work. If you know where it’s coming from, for example your office neighbor’s perfume, you can politely speak to the person about it. Or if the culprit is the office carpet cleaner, explain the head of maintenance and see if anything can be done to help you. Most places will accommodate your needs. Some states have gone as far as implementing legal action regarding fragrances in areas of employment.

Is it worth it to see an allergist for a fragrance sensitivity?

Absolutely. If you have a chance at finding relief for your symptoms, wouldn’t you want to? If you are experiencing reactions to fragrances, schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center to see how we can help. Our expert physicians will sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and your exposure to particular triggers. They will then perform a series of diagnostic tests to see if they can pinpoint the exact cause of your reaction. After they will thoroughly discuss your results and a create an individualized plan for relieving your symptoms.

Stop suffering. Call CT Sinus Center today at  860-BALLOON and see what we can do for you. With four offices conveniently located throughout Connecticut, the sweet smell of relief is just a short drive away.

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

Preparing for a Procedure

procedureIf you have ever undergone a medical procedure or surgery, you know that the anticipation can one of the worst parts of the entire process. However, when you are coming in to CT Sinus Center for either balloon sinus dilation or turbinate reduction, we will do everything we can to make sure you are prepared, calm and comfortable from your very first appointment.   

The Fear Factor

The reason anticipation is so scary is because it is usually accompanied by a fear of the unknown. What is going to happen during the procedure? How will I feel afterwards? What will my recovery be like? What if something goes wrong? This anxiety is completely natural, and everyone who works at CT Sinus takes it all very seriously.

Our Approach

We have built our practice around our patient-centered model of care, which means that from the minute you walk through our door, we will take the time to make sure your needs come first. What does this look like?

The Treatment

To begin with, it looks like our doctors taking the time to sit down with you to thoroughly discuss your diagnosis and the options you have for treatment. Instead of just telling you what treatment to have, we’ll work with you to make sure that it is the right one for you specifically. Patient-centered care also looks like everyone on staff making sure that you fully understand every step of the procedure you are going to undergo and being attentive and responsive to any questions and concerns you have about any of it.

Trusted Physicians

Most physicians will give you a list of instructions to follow before undergo a procedure, but not all of them will give you the peace of mind that our expert physicians will. Want to hear it from a patient? Watch a testimonial from a balloon sinus dilation patient.

If you are having sinus and allergy problems and you want to put an end to them, call CT Sinus today at  860-BALLOON and see what we can do for you. With four offices conveniently located throughout Connecticut, the right patient-centered care is just a short drive away.

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

How to Host an Allergy-Free Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingThere is so much to be thankful for during this season: family, friends, health, and of course … food. As we get together with our loved ones this Thanksgiving, there are some things we have to keep in mind to ensure that everyone stays happy and healthy:

It’s all fun and games until someone has an allergy attack. For many people, a little friendly competition via backyard football game is a holiday tradition. Aside from the obvious dangers (sprained ankles, skinned knees, elbows to the nose), playing outside this time of year can trigger mold allergies. So perhaps it’s best to leave the sport to the pros on television. Instead, suggest some of these great indoor game ideas from Pinterest’s “Thanksgiving Games” Board.

Fido may be a part of your family, but your guests may not share the bond. The allergens that cause pet allergies are present in the skin cells that dogs and cats shed, and they can remain airborne for quite some time. This means that even when your fur babies aren’t around, the allergens still may be. Before guests arrive, make sure to do a deep cleaning (not that you won’t regardless) and if you can, give your pets a bath. If necessary, keep them in a part of the house that is separate from where guests will be. And if you decided to sneak your loyal companions a little turkey because they are beings such good boys and girls, yes they are, go ahead — we won’t tell.

Food comas are only good if they are caused by eating too much good stuff. In “Allergy-free Food to Give Thanks For,” we discussed food allergies and food intolerances  caused by traditional Thanksgiving treats — those made with milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, gluten and/or wheat. To help you plan for guests with special dietary needs, we’ve provided some links to allergy-free recipes. These meals are so delicious that you may want to prepare them regardless of whether or not your guests have restrictions.

  • Gluten Free & More: “These great holiday recipes are also free from dairy, corn, soy, rice, nuts and eggs!”
  • Go Dairy Free: “The Biggest Gathering of Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Recipes”
  • Eating with Food Allergies: “With a few substitutions you can have a feast free of the top 8 allergens.”

Keep these tips in mind and you will be the Thanksgiving host(ess) with the most(ess).  

Everyone here at CT Sinus Center wants to thank you for trusting your sinus care to us and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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

The Difference Between Celiac Disease and Wheat Allergy

celiac diseaseIn recent years, there has been a huge increase in attention given to gluten allergies. For a while, the condition seemed to become a “catch-all” diagnosis for all digestive problems, and people started going crazy trying to eliminate gluten from their diets — which is no small feat. Gluten, a substance often used to give food its shape and hold it together, seems to be everywhere, even in places you wouldn’t think, such as cosmetics and medications. However, there has been some misunderstandings about gluten allergies. For example, a gluten allergy (or celiac disease) is quite different from a gluten sensitivity. Another common misconception about gluten is that it is synonymous to wheat. However, gluten is actually a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, all of which are used to make a number of different things, and a wheat allergy is something totally different.

Let’s take a look at the differences between:

  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which a reaction to gluten causes the immune system to attack the lining of the small intestines, preventing it from absorbing nutrients effectively. Celiac Disease is serious and there are a multitude of symptoms, from digestive to musculoskeletal, and related conditions associated with the disorder. For more information on long-term health problems caused by celiac, visit WebMD.
  • Gluten sensitivity is not an autoimmune disorder and is still a bit of a mystery to the medical world as far as its causes, but scientists, and the people who suffer from it, now recognize its existence and the impact it has on quality of life. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)  has symptoms that range from digestive distress to headaches and fatigue. A full explanation of the disorder can be found in our blog “Gluten Sensitivity: It Does Exist.”
  • Wheat allergy, also an autoimmune disorder, is a reaction to one of the numerous proteins found in wheat, and people who have a wheat allergy, unless suffering from celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, can have gluten in non-wheat sources. The symptoms of a wheat allergy includes both respiratory and digestive issues and are similar to other food allergies. For more information on wheat allergies, visit the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The first step to diagnosing whether or not you have one of these disorders is to see a doctor for testing. The Gluten Intolerance Group explains the process:

  • Starting the gluten-free diet without complete testing is not recommended and makes diagnosis difficult.
  • It is necessary to be consuming gluten in order for diagnostic tests to provide valid results.
  • The first step to diagnosing celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a panel of blood tests.
  • Wheat allergy is generally diagnosed through RAST or skin prick testing.
  • Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is diagnosed by first ruling out celiac disease, wheat allergy and other conditions which could be causing symptoms. Then, if improvement is seen on a gluten-free diet, NCGS may be diagnosed.

Luckily with celiac disease, NCGS and wheat allergies being in the spotlight, more and more people are getting diagnosed and helped much sooner. The even better news is that if you are diagnosed with any of these conditions, there are now tons of resources that will help you create delicious and satisfying gluten and/or wheat-free meals. To get you started, the Celiac Disease Foundation provides downloadable pediatric and adult “7-Day Gluten-Free Meal Plans” with shopping lists. The foundation also offers tips on reading labels so that you can rest assured that what you’re buying is safe for you and your family.

If you think you or a loved one may have celiac disease, NCGS and/or wheat allergies, schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center today. Our expert physicians will take the time to thoroughly discuss your diet and symptoms before administering diagnostic testing and determining the best way for you to start eating in a way that keeps you both happy and healthy.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

And for all things allergy– and sinus-related, check out the CT Sinus website and blog.

Is it Time to Turn to Turbinate Reductions?

When allergy or sinus issues hit, you can blame all the usual suspects — pollen, mold, dust and pet dander — but you can also blame your turbinates. A turbinate sounds like something you’d find on an airplane, but what it is is mainly soft tissue structures within the nose that support your nasal passages and clean, warm and moisturize the air as it passes through your airway. When they become inflamed, due to respiratory infections or allergies (see image), it becomes difficult to breathe through your nose.

You can treat turbinate inflammation with the same prescription or over-the counter medications you use for your other sinus symptoms. Antihistamines, decongestants and nasal spray will all work, but they are all only temporary fixes. In addition, if you have long-term or chronic turbinate inflammation, medication may lose its effectiveness.

Turbinate Reduction

At Connecticut Sinus Center, we specialize in a same-day, in-house procedure called Turbinate Reduction that doesn’t just address the cause of the inflammation, but actually addresses the inflammation itself, clearing the passageway for air to flow more freely. The procedure involves decreasing the size of the turbinate by making a small incision in it’s lining and removing a small amount of bone.  

The benefits of turbinate reductions include:

  • Increased air flow
  • Decrease in common sinus ailments
  • Decrease in sinus headaches
  • Restoration of sense of smell
  • Often a reduction in post nasal drip
  • Minimal recovery time
  • No external scarring (this is an entirely internal procedure)

If you would like to know if you are eligible for the Turbinate Reduction procedure, make an appointment at CT Sinus Center today with one of our expert physicians. When you come in, we will take the time to thoroughly discuss your symptoms and your medical history. After, we will use a variety of diagnostic methods to examine your airways in order to determine what is keeping you from breathing freely through your nose. During the entire process, we’ll answer all of your questions and help alleviate any concerns.

If you do not qualify for the turbinate procedure, we will work with you to find the right individualized treatment plan for sinus relief. Call us today at 860-BALLOON to see what we can do for you. With our four offices offering services, you are sure to find one convenient to your neighborhood.

And for all things allergy and sinus related, visit the CT Sinus website and blog.