Monthly Archives: May 2017


Nickel Allergy: A Reaction to Metal

Nickel allergyNickel is a prevalent material in the things that surround us. In fact, you can find it in almost everything including the kitchen sink, which can be a big deal if you suffer from a nickel allergy. According to LiveScience, “Nickel is a hard, silvery-white metal whose strength, ductility and resistance to heat and corrosion make it extremely useful for the development of a wide variety of materials.” Mayo Clinic’s extensive list of materials that contain nickel shows just how widespread its use is. Some of the things on this list may surprise you:

  • Jewelry for body piercings
  • Other jewelry, including rings, bracelets, necklaces and jewelry clasps
  • Watchbands
  • Clothing fasteners, such as zippers, snaps and bra hooks
  • Belt buckles
  • Eyeglass frames
  • Coins
  • Metal tools
  • Cellphones
  • Keys
  • Military “dog-tag” IDs
  • Chalk
  • Medical devices
  • Laptops or computer tablets
  • E-cigarettes

Some foods also contain small amounts of nickel that can cause a reaction. These include soy and certain fruit, vegetable, legumes and grains. For a more comprehensive list of foods that contain nickel, visit the Healthline website.

Fortunately, it’s rare to find something that is made purely of nickel, and items are usually a combination of nickel and other materials. LiveScience further explains, “Nickel is commonly used as a protective outer coating for softer metals.” This is called nickel-plating. Unfortunately, even a little bit of nickel can cause an allergic reaction, and some people are more at risk for developing the allergy than others.

A nickel allergy usually presents as contact dermatitis, the signs of which Mayo Clinic lists as:

  • Rash or bumps on the skin
  • Itching, which may be severe
  • Redness or changes in skin color
  • Dry patches of skin that may resemble a burn
  • Blisters and draining fluid in severe cases
  • Infection (increased redness, warmth, pus, pain)

If you are having recurring reactions to nickel or are not sure where your symptoms are coming from, you should see a doctor. After discussing the circumstances surrounding your reaction and performing patch testing, your doctor will likely prescribe a corticosteroid, nonsteroidal cream or a antihistamine. In severe cases, phototherapy, an exposure treatment, may be used.

Stop letting your nickel allergy meddle with your life. Contact CT Sinus Center today and let our expert physicians pinpoint the exact cause of your symptoms and create a treatment plan that is right for your individual lifestyle.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices today. You’ll leave feeling as good as gold.

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


Diagnosing a Sinus Infection

Sinus infectionWhen you have acute sinusitis, otherwise known as a sinus infection, it’s pretty easy to recognize the symptoms. This is especially true if you have chronic sinusitis, which can happen a number of times a year.  In order to be diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

In addition, you may also be experiencing:

  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Aching in the jaw and teeth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

No matter if this is your first or your fiftieth sinus infection, it’s always a good idea to get checked out by a doctor just to be sure. Also if you’ve self-diagnosed correctly, you may need medication.

What should you expect when you go to the doctor?

First, your medical staff should take the time to discuss your medical history and specific symptoms. Next, your physician should do a thorough inspection of your sinuses for diagnosis, and may also check your eyes, ears and throat. To help determine the underlying cause, you may also undergo the following tests:

  • Nasal endoscopy, in which a thin, flexible tube with a fiber-optic light is inserted through your nose.
  • Imaging studies, in which a CT Scan or MRI can show details images of your sinuses.
  • Nasal/sinus cultures, though generally unnecessary, which might help pinpoint a bacterial or fungal cause.
  • Allergy tests, recommended if your doctor suspects the condition may be brought on by allergies.

A sinus infection is such a common thing that experts can often diagnose them without extensive testing. However, while the diagnosis is often correct, without testing, the physician could miss the real cause of the symptoms or prescribe a medication that isn’t actually needed. So if you are looking to get it right the first time, schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center.

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 put an end to sinus infections once and for all.

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


What’s Causing Your Spring Allergies?

19727500 - adorable little girl laughing in a meadow - happy girlSpring allergies: We all know that they exist and what their symptoms are, but do we all know exactly what causes them? In previous blogs, we’ve talked about pollen, mold and dust, whereas in this blog, we are going to get more specific about which types of pollen could be causing your discomfort. Because when it comes to allergy triggers, it’s not always true that “a rose is a rose is a rose.”

In general, the three types of pollen are tree, grass and weed — all of which are difficult to escape because these natural elements are everywhere. What’s worse is that pollen can travel for long distances, so even if there aren’t any of these specific plants near you, you can still be affected.

WebMD presents the following lists of spring allergy triggers:

Trees:

Alder Ash
Aspen Beech
Box elder Cedar
Cottonwood Cypress
Elm Hickory
Juniper Maple
Mulberry Oak
Olive Palm
Pine Poplar
Sycamore Willow

Grasses and weeds:

Bermuda
Fescue
Johnson
June
Orchard
Perennial rye
Redtop
Saltgrass
Sweet vernal
Timothy

How to combat Spring AllergiesIn our blog: “Don’t Let Allergies Keep You Prisoner in Your Own Home,” we share the following tips from the ACAAI on dealing with your seasonal allergy symptoms:

  • Monitor pollen and mold counts.
  • Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car.
  • Stay inside midday and during the afternoon, when pollen counts are highest.
  • Take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.
  • Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing other chores outdoors.

Of course you can also stock up on allergy medications and spring clean every weekend. Or, you can make an appointment with one of our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center and put a permanent end to your allergy suffering. 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. 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

Stop letting nature get in the way of your enjoyment of well, nature. Call us today at 860-BALLOON, and get that spring back in your step. 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.


Allergies: The Hidden Risks of Festivals

Allergies: The Hidden Risks of FestivalsThe time has come to celebrate music (of any genre), food, flowers, fashion, time periods or anything else you are passionate about: It’s festival season. However, before you pack your bag and head out for the festivities, there are a few things to keep in mind if you suffer from allergies.

Nature. Most festivals are held in the great outdoors. This means that as a festival-goers, you can expect to be surrounded not only by an abundance of new friends, but also countless (and familiar) allergy triggers, such as pollen,  mold and even sun and heat. Since you will be outdoors much of the time, your exposure to these triggers will be prolonged, so be sure to take the proper precautions (whether that means taking medication, applying bug repellant, wearing sunscreen  and/or limiting outside time as much as possible).

Food. What fun is a festival without delicious food! However, whether you are purchasing your meals from a food truck or a concession stand, it’s very difficult to know what ingredients are being used. This is especially true because the food at festivals tends to be as creative as the participants surrounding it, which can be very dangerous if you have any food allergies or intolerances. If this is an issue, make sure to ask vendors for the list of ingredients in what you want to order; they are probably asked this all the time and will not hesitate to tell you. Remember that a  festival is not the time to become an adventurous eater because if you do, you may spend the rest of the festival indisposed, and no one wants that. You may even be able to bring your own food if the festival allows, which can be life- and money-saving.

Body Decorating.  This may be a strange thing to see on a list talking about allergies, but it’s here because it’s not something people of think about. Over the years, face painting and fake tattoos have become a staple of the festival scene, for children and adults, but they have also been known to cause a  reaction, most often on the skin.  Another popular festival adornment that can cause a reaction is henna. Heather from Henna by Heather explains:

The number one thing to watch out for is people using what they may call “black henna” that actually isn’t henna at all, but is instead paraphenylenediamine aka PPD for short. It is a highly concentrated industrial dye that is also used in many commercial hair dyes. It is not intended to be used on skin, and can give serious chemical burns and leave scars.

Real, natural henna, on the other hand, typically only contains natural ingredients. My professional mix includes the leaves of the henna plant, lemon juice, and cajeput essential oil. We keep a list of all the ingredients prominently posted in our booth and are always happy to answer questions.

Professionals will be able to quickly and easily list the ingredients in their mix, which should all be plant-based and all natural. If in doubt, ask for a tiny test spot. If that spot is light orange the first day, chances are that it is indeed natural henna. If it’s dark brown or, worse, black, right away, steer clear.

If you keep all of these things in mind, you can kick off the 2017 festival season right and celebrate without too much allergy suffering until it’s time for fall festival season to begin.  If you want to be proactive, make an appointment at CT Sinus Center by calling 860-BALLOON for a diagnosis of what’s causing your symptoms and a permanent solution to end them.

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


Can I Be Allergic to My Allergy Medicine?

Allergy MedicineWhen allergy season hits, you’re likely to reach for some allergy medicine that will relieve your symptoms. Whether that be a prescription or an over-the-counter remedy, all of these treatments can not only make a serious dent in your budget, but they also come with the risk of side effects, including drug interactions. One of the greatest risks of allergy medicine is the possibility of an allergic reaction as severe as anaphylactic shock.

According the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI):

[I]f you have an allergy to a particular medication, your immune system identifies that drug as an invader or allergen. Your immune system may react to medications in several ways. One type of immune reaction is due to production of antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) specific to the drug. These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, triggering an immediate allergic reaction. This reaction causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin and usually occurs within minutes to a few hours of taking the drug.

The most common immune response to a drug is due to the expansion of T cells, a type of white blood cell that recognize the drug as foreign. These T cells orchestrate a delayed immune response that most often affects the skin, causing itchy rashes, and occurs days to weeks after exposure to the drug.

Most allergic reactions occur within hours to two weeks after taking the medication and most people react to medications to which they have been exposed in the past. This process is called “sensitization.” However, rashes may develop up to six weeks after starting certain types of medications.

While an allergic reaction to allergy medicine is rare, Drugs.com states that the following drugs have been know to trigger attacks in some people:

  • Pseudoephedrine (sympathomimetic) used in decongestants
  • Chlorpheniramine (an antihistamine) contains both active and inactive ingredients that can be triggers
  • Prednisone, (steroid) an anti-inflammatory or an immunosuppressant
  • Ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
  • Acetaminophen, analgesic and an antipyretic (used to prevent or relieve fever)

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, as any medication can cause a reaction in certain people. So if you don’t want to take the chance and are looking for a safer and more permanent way to put an end to your allergy symptoms, schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center today. When you come into one of our four conveniently-located offices, our expert staff will sit down with you to discuss your symptoms and medical history and perform a thorough exam in order to determine exactly what is triggering your reaction. Once the results are in, we we’ll develop a treatment plan that is right for you and your lifestyle. You may even be eligible for one of our in-house procedures that will help relieve sinus pressure and pain:

  • 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 us today at 860-BALLOON and say goodbye to your symptoms and the mounting allergies bills and risks.

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