Monthly Archives: March 2017

Cough Drops, Lozenges and Throat Sprays: What’s the Difference?


69606430_lThere is nothing like the annoyance of a sore throat, and for most people, once it starts, relief can’t come soon enough. In our blog “How to Soothe a Sore Throat,” we looked at all the different symptoms of the ailment and how you can treat it. Sore throats are often caused by a virus, with the exception of strep, which is a bacterial infection, so antibiotics are of no use. Instead, people reach for cough drops, lozenges and throat sprays. In this blog, we want to focus on two specific remedies, lozenges and throat sprays, and their ingredients.

Why did we leave out cough drops in that last sentence? Well, it’s because while many people think cough drops and lozenges are different things, they actually aren’t. That said, not all lozenges and throat sprays are created the same.

Which remedy is the best one for me?

The answer depends on your symptoms. Different lozenges and throat sprays have different ingredients, or different percentages of ingredients. Each ingredient has different properties. Therefore, when choosing a treatment, read the label carefully to make sure it’ll do what you want it to.

Let’s break down the common active ingredients in both lozenges and throat sprays:

  • Benzocaine: a numbing agent that relieves pain and can ease coughs
  • Dextromethorphan: an agent that works with your brain to suppress the cough reflex
  • Menthol: a minty oral anesthetic/analgesic designed to cool the painful area and subsequently, suppress cough. Menthol vapors also work to relieve nasal congestion.
  • Phenol: a combined oral anesthetic and analgesic used mostly in throat sprays

While lozenges and sprays can be effective in treating your sore throat and cough, they are only temporary solutions. If you are looking for something more permanent, especially if you have recurring sore throats, make an appointment with CT Sinus Center to see how we can help.

In many cases, your pain could be caused by post-nasal drip from a sinus condition, or even a problem with your tonsils and adenoids. So when you come in, our expert team will take the time to sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and medical history. Next, they’ll perform a series of tests to get to the bottom of what is causing your sore throat and develop an individualized treatment plan that fits your lifestyle.

Don’t let a sore throat be a pain in the neck. Call us today at 860-BALLOON, and start breathing a sigh of relief. With four conveniently-located offices, help is just around the corner.

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


What’s This Lump in My Nose?

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Have you gone to blow your nose recently and felt a lump in your nostril? Or maybe you feel like there is something solid blocking your nasal passage, in addition to the regular congestion. While it is possible for lumps to grow inside your nose, luckily they are usually nothing serious.

There are a few things that may cause the lump:

Acne. Pimples pop up when pores get blocked and oil and dead skin cells build up. Usually pimples appear on your face, but they can appear in your nose too. Other than using acne medication and warm compresses, you can just wait it out for them to go away. Just make sure you don’t pick at them because that can lead to infection.

Folliculitis. Sometimes the hair follicles inside your nose can become inflamed because of bacterial or fungal infection. The most common type of infection is Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and can go away on its own in mild cases. In severe cases, it is usually easily treated with antibiotics. The symptoms of folliculitis, as explained by Mayo Clinic, are:

  • Clusters of small red bumps or white-headed pimples that develop around hair follicles
  • Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Red and inflamed skin
  • Itchy or burning skin
  • Tenderness or pain
  • A large swollen bump or mass

Boils. This is another type of bacterial or fungal infection, which manifests as painful bumps that drain pus. Like folliculitis, it is also usually a staph infection that can be cured with some home care. However, if the following symptoms occur, you should see a doctor as, according to Mayo Clinic, they can lead to a serious condition:

  • There are more than one
  • Occurs on your face
  • Worsens rapidly or is extremely painful
  • Causes a fever
  • Is more than 2 inches (5 centimeters) across
  • Hasn’t healed in two weeks
  • Recurs

Nasal Polyps. These are painless tear-drop or grape-shaped growths that are often caused by continuous inflammation brought on by allergies or asthma. Polyps are usually harmless, but can cause uncomfortable symptoms. According to WebMD, “Most people with nasal polyps have a runny nose, sneezing, and postnasal drip. About 75% have problems with their sense of smell.” The site also lists these additional symptoms:

  • Stuffy or blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • Facial pain
  • Loss of taste
  • Itching around the eyes
  • Infections (from mucus buildup)

Often when people feel a lump anywhere on their body, they ignore it out of fear. A lump in the nose is no exception. However, it really is best to get it checked out, even in mild cases, because it’s better to be safe, and also your doctor can help alleviate any discomfort and possibly prevent it from recurring. In the rare case that the lump is a more serious infection or growth, your doctor can make sure you get the treatment required.

Our expert physicians at Connecticut Sinus Center have a nose for nasal issues and can help you figure out exactly what is causing the lump and how to treat it. When you come in for your appointment, we’ll sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and medical history. Next, we’ll conduct a series of tests, which may include allergy tests and a nasal endoscopy, that tell us exactly what is causing your growth so that we can come up with an individualized treatment plan that is right for you and your lifestyle.

Call 860-BALLOON today and schedule your appointment. With four conveniently-located offices across the state, getting the care is a no(se)-brainer. 
For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Setting the Record Straight: Deviated Septum

deviated septumThe nasal septum is the bone and cartilage in the middle of your nose. It is what separates your nasal cavities and is responsible for keeping you breathing freely through your nose. However, if the septum is crooked, or deviated, it can hinder your breathing.

According to WebMD, about 80% of people have somewhat of a deviated septum. The good news is that unless the deviation is severe, you probably won’t even notice it. And fortunately, for most people, this is the case. Unfortunately for the others, a seriously crooked septum can result in breathing problems and requires treatment.

How do I know if I require treatment?

Because the symptoms of a deviated septum mirror those of chronic sinusitis and allergies, it’s important to go to a doctor for a proper diagnosis. WebMD lists them as:

What causes a deviated septum?

You may be born with one, or it can come about because of injury. That said, a broken nose doesn’t necessarily lead to a deviated septum.

What’s the treatment for this condition?

To manage your congestion and discomfort, you can reach for the old standbys:

Or, if you are ready to do more than just manage it, you can schedule an appointment at our sister office, Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat for a more permanent solution. Through superior, patient-centered care, our doctors will be able to determine if you have a deviated septum and whether or not you are a candidate for a surgical procedure called septoplasty, which will repair a crooked septum and improve breathing. During these procedures, the doctor will make a small incision in the area of the nose that needs repairing and remove excess bone or cartilage or lessen swelling and blockage in other ways that can widen the breathing space. Sometimes, a rhinoplasty is combined with septoplasty to improve the appearance or crookedness of the nose.

This outpatient procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia and can usually be done within an hour and a half. If you eligible to have it, your doctor will make sure that you are prepared and comfortable every step of the way.

If you think you may be suffering from a deviated septum, make a straight-line path to your phone and call Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat at  (203) 574-5987 today.

With three conveniently-located offices, there is no reason to turn your nose up to finding relief.

For information on all things related to to sinuses and allergies, visit CT Sinus Center’s website and blog.

6 Spring Cleaning Tips For Allergy Sufferers

CleaningSpring is just around the corner, and you know what that means: spring cleaning. Love it or hate it, it’s a seasonal ritual that does wonders for both your health and your state of mind. But if you suffer from allergies, spring cleaning can be a devil in disguise.

Are we saying that you shouldn’t spring clean? No (sorry); it’s actually very important. What we are saying is that when it comes to this task, there are precautions that you should be taking so that you aren’t actually making your allergies worse. Let’s look at some things that can trigger an allergy attack.

  1. Opening windows. What is one of the first things you do when the weather gets warmer? You open the windows. Unfortunately, this is literally inviting the allergens in. To freshen up rooms while keeping the windows closed, use an air purifier or a diffuser with essential oils. If you absolutely have to open the windows, make sure the pollen count is low.
  2. Dusting. During the winter months, because people spend so much time inside, dust can build up. When you start moving things around, cleaning under, behind, between, etc., the more dust you kick up, the more your allergies will kick in. Wear a mask while cleaning and do a little at a time if your symptoms are acting up. The same goes for when you vacuum. Your best bet, allergies or not, is to purchase a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that you keep clean.
  3. Bringing out the spring wardrobe. If you tend to put your warm-weather clothes away for the colder seasons and do the “closet switch-out” as soon as the temperature hits 50, wash your clothes before you wear them. Over the months, dust and mold can settle in your garments, which will trigger your allergies.
  4. Letting the dogs out. You may not want to roll around in the fresh growing grass or flower garden, but Fido may, and that gives allergens a free ride in. Also, with the warmer weather, your pet will probably want to go outside more, which means that you’ll want to give him more frequent baths. To make things worse, Fido will be shedding, which adds even more dander to the mix.
  5. Removing mold. Now is the time to inspect spots, inside and out, that may be harboring mold — from your deck and patio furniture to the corners of your garage to the tiles in the bathroom. Even walls can harbor mold. So as you go big with the cleaning, don’t forget all the little corners and crevices where allergens may be hiding. Wear a mask and rubber gloves for further protection.
  6. Using cleaning products. It’s no secret that cleaning products use harsh chemicals and that many people have allergic reactions to them. Be careful with what you are using because not only will the products trigger symptoms while you’re using them, but also well after as the chemicals stick around. For a useful guide on allergy-friendly cleaning products, visit “Home Cleaning Tips for Allergy Sufferers” on the Everyday Health website.

Not sure what is causing your symptoms or looking for relief from them once and for all? Make an appointment at CT Sinus Center today and see what our expert physicians can do for you. When you come in, we’ll sit down and discuss your symptoms before we start a series of diagnostic procedures to figure out exactly what is triggering your allergies. Once we get answers, we’ll develop a treatment plan that is right for your specific lifestyle.

Now are we telling you that once you find relief you no longer have to spring clean? Again, no, sorry; but at least you will feel much more comfortable while you do it.

Call 860-BALLOON today and make your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices and add your sinus cavities to your cleaning list.

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

Sinusitis, Allergies and Sleep Deprivation

SleepYou’re sure you’d feel better if you just got some sleep. All you’re asking for is just one night, but at this point it seems that you have as much of chance of that as you do winning the lottery.

Why is your sinus condition keeping you up?

Whether you have sinusitis or allergies, there are a number of reasons why you might have trouble sleeping. Let’s take a look at the three most common ones:


  • Difficulty breathing. A stuffy or runny nose can be very inconvenient when you are trying to get some shut-eye. If you’ve ever had the experience (and who hasn’t?), you know exactly what we mean. According to the article “Combat Allergy Fatigue” on the Everyday Health site, Dr. Park, author of the book “Sleep, Interrupted,” explains how having a stuffy nose is similar to sleep apnea in the respect that ““When your nose gets stuffy, your tongue starts to fall back, creating a vacuum effect in your throat. So you keep waking up, because you can’t breathe.” And when you keep waking up, you end up exhausted the next day.
  • Pain. Sinus pressure can often cause pain in your forehead and face. A stuffy or runny nose leads to post-nasal drip that can make your throat dry and scratchy. None of these conditions are conducive for a good night’s rest.
  • Sinus medication. Restlessness and inability to sleep are common side effects of many medications. For some people, even the medication intended to make you drowsey can actually keep you up. If you are having trouble sleeping while taking meds, consult your doctor or pharmacist to see they might be to blame. You may have change when you take the medication or even stop taking it completely.

Sleep deprivation is frustrating, for sure, and can actually be dangerous, too. WebMd explains the following effects of chronic sleep deprivation:

  • Decreased performance and alertness
  • Memory and cognitive impairment
  • Stress on relationships
  • Poor quality of life
  • Health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity
  • Occupational injury
  • Automobile injury

So what can you do if your sinus condition is keeping you awake?

You could continue taking sinus or allergy medication while looking for the one that relieves your symptoms and doesn’t have side effects. Or, you can make an appointment at CT Sinus Center and let us help you find permanent relief and a good night sleep.

When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about your symptoms and medical history. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will find the right treatment for your lifestyle. 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 spend your nights catching z’s instead of counting sheep.

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