Monthly Archives: July 2017


Am I Allergic to Milk?

AllergicOften times after drinking a tall glass of milk or eating a bowl of ice cream our bodies experience physical reactions that cause us discomfort. We immediately jump to the conclusion that we are allergic to dairy and worry about what that may mean for our health.

In reality, we probably are not allergic to dairy, or specifically milk, and our health is not in jeopardy. Although we may not feel great, we are likely experiencing intolerance. Intolerance to milk and milk products may be uncomfortable, but they are likely not severe. Actual allergic reactions, on the other hand, can be life-threatening

As it is easy to confuse an allergy with intolerance, it is important to understand the inner workings that separate the two. It is also important to know that when looking at a food’s ingredients, “milk” and “dairy” are not necessarily the same thing.

Allergies caused from cow’s milk range from mild to moderate to severe. The reaction occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies the protein in milk as something harmful. Thus, causing a release of antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) to neutralize the allergy-causing food or substance.

Mayo Clinic lists the symptoms of a milk allergy as:

  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting
  • Signs and symptoms that may take more time to develop include:
  • Loose stools, which may contain blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy skin rash, often around the mouth
  • Colic, in babies

According to Mayo Clinic, milk allergies are amongst the most common of food allergies. They differ from person to person and usually occur a few minutes to a few hours after consumption. If you are allergic, you should avoid milk completely. Luckily, however, many kids outgrow a milk allergy.

Intolerance to milk, on the other hand, is a condition that does not involve the immune system and is caused from not having enough of the enzyme used to break down lactose. The discomfort felt from lactose intolerance will not necessarily happen every time the milk-based food or beverage is consumed. Depending on the level of lactose intolerance you have, you may be able to eat small amounts without a reaction, and even a severe reaction is usually not life-threatening.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Gas and bloating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

If you experience discomfort brought on by milk or other dairy products it is important that you see a doctor in order to find out if you have intolerance or an allergy so you can start feeling better. Through patient-centered care, our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center will use up-to-date diagnostic knowledge and tools to find out exactly what is triggering your reaction. Once that is determined, they will set up an effective, individualized treatment plan to keep you safe and feeling great.

To make an appointment at one of our four conveniently located offices, call 860-BALLOON today.

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


7 More Strange and Unusual Allergies

unusual Pollen, dust, mold, pet dander and food. These are the things we usually talk about when discussing allergies. But our immune systems are complicated, and we never really know what might cause it to attack. Even the most unexpected and unusual things can be responsible for causing an allergic reaction. 

In “5 Unusual Things That Can Trigger Your Allergies” on our sister site Westwood Ear, Nose & Throat, we discussed the following strange allergy triggers:

  • Leather shoes
  • Water
  • Exercise
  • Nickel
  • Temperature

For this blog, we are going to look at seven more unusual things that can trigger allergy symptoms when you least expect it.

1. Soil. We know all about pollen allergies, but sometimes the soil is the root of the problem. Mold, mildew and fungus can all cause an allergic reaction, so if you find it growing on or around your plants, you’ll want to take care of it as soon as possible. For tips on how to identify and control it, visit the Farmer’s Almanac section on White Mold.

2. Raw produce. As a child, you may have tried to tell your parents that you were allergic to vegetables, and the truth is: You may be. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) explains:

Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen-food syndrome, is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables or some tree nuts. The immune system recognizes the pollen and similar proteins in the food and directs an allergic response to it.

The common triggers for this unusual allergen are:

  • Birch pollen: apple, almond, carrot, celery, cherry, hazelnut, kiwi, peach, pear, plum
  • Grass pollen: celery, melons, oranges, peaches, tomato
  • Ragweed pollen: banana, cucumber, melons, sunflower seeds, zucchini

That said, the ACAAI also explains that the onset occurs out of the blue after the person has eaten these foods without problem. In addition, cooking the food distorts the proteins, and usually doesn’t cause any problems at all. So will that be one serving or two?

3. Lanolin. This is a wax-like substance that is derived from sheep. You can find it in many beauty products, pharmaceutical preparations and industrial uses. In a few other blogs, we discussed how beauty products can trigger allergy symptoms, so this should come as no surprise. However, lanolin is also present in wool clothing and blankets as well, so it is possible for them to cause reactions, which is something to definitely be aware of.

4. Antiquing. Flea markets and antique shops are full of beauty, culture and history. They are also full of mold, dust and even pet dander that accumulates as the item sits on the sales floor (and wherever they were prior to that). Make sure that after you buy that perfect, unique piece you give it a thorough cleaning before you bring it in the house.

5. Chamomile tea. For centuries, people have used this herbal tea to soothe the stomach and the nerves. However, for some, especially those with a ragweed allergy, this natural remedy can trigger an unnatural reaction. The symptoms of the unusual chamomile allergy are similar to those of seasonal allergies, and if severe enough, can result in anaphylactic shock.

6. Red meat. Vegetarians may rejoice at this fact, but for us carnivores, this is not great news. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to any type of meat, and the reactions are not unlike those of other food allergies:

  • Hives or skin rash
  • Nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Stuffy/runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Asthma
  • Anaphylaxis

In recent years, scientists have discovered that being bitten by the Lone Star tick can cause a person to develop red meat allergies. The ACAAI explains that it is related to a carbohydrate called alpha-gal and can take several hours to present. This is just one more reason to check for ticks after you and/or your furry family members spend time outside.

7. Touch. Dermatographia, otherwise known as skin writing, is an allergic reaction that occurs when the skin is lightly scratched or rubbed. According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms appear about 30 minutes after the contact and disappear just as quickly. They include:

  • Raised red lines
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Hive-like welts
  • Itching

If you think you are suffering from allergies, either any of these unusual ones or the more common types, contact CT Sinus Center at 860-BALLOON and schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians. With our four conveniently-located locations, relief is right in your backyard.

To learn more about CT Sinus Center, allergies and sinusitis, visit our website and blogs.


Tongue Swelling: Allergies or Illness

tongueThe tongue is typically about 10 centimeters long when measured from the back of the throat to the very tip. Most people know that it is a muscular organ responsible for chewing, swallowing, licking, tasting, breathing and articulating words. However, did you know that the color and swelling of the tongue can indicate a medical problem?

Angioedema (swelling in the deeper layers of skin and tissue) of the tongue can occur for a number of reasons:

If you suspect that the swelling is caused by allergies, our expert staff at CT Sinus Center can help you find relief. At your first appointment, we’ll talk to you about your symptoms and medical history. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will figure out if your reaction is caused by food allergies, insect stings, medication or something else entirely. Then, once we establish the cause, we’ll develop a treatment plan that is the perfect fit for your lifestyle.

So watch your mouth — especially your tongue — and if you notice swelling, call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices. (If it is an emergency, such as anaphylactic shock or trouble breathing, call 911 immediately.)

Read more blogs on sinus– and allergy-related conditions on the CT Sinus Center website.


Camping with Allergies and Asthma

CampingThe perfect spot for camping is different for different people. It can be out in the wilderness, at a campground, in a RV, in a cabin, or at a fancy hotel. Okay, staying in a fancy hotel isn’t really considered camping, but for some of us, that’s as close as we’ll get. For others of us who enjoy roughing it, camping can be an ideal vacation, but it can also pose issues for allergy and asthma sufferers. So if you are packing up for an outdoor getaway, but are worried about symptoms flaring up, read on for the ways to make sure you and your campsite mates get the rest and relaxation you deserve.

First and foremost, it’s important to be aware of the allergens that you may encounter when staying in your open-air accommodations. Not surprisingly, they are the same triggers that you come across in your daily life:

If you’ll be traveling with children who suffer from allergy or asthma, remind them of the importance of being prepared on camping trips. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) has created an interactive game and key that will help identify what triggers to look for.

So what can you do to keep allergies at bay and stay a healthy and happy camper?

  1. Check your scripts. Make sure you won’t run out of your allergy medication while you are away. Your doctor may even be able to prescribe a higher dosage or suggest an additional treatment for the short period you will be highly exposed. Don’t forget to pack them.
  2. Check the pollen count for the place you’ll be setting up camp. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare when you’re packing.
  3. Buy a hypoallergenic tent with good flaps to keep the allergens out. You can also buy hypoallergenic sleeping bags.
  4. Create an allergy-free menu. Pinterest offers great recipes from gluten-free corn dogs to nut-free trail mix. And what fun is a campfire without s’mores?
  5. Have a in-case-of-emergency plan. It’s always smart to bring a first-aid kid when you travel, especially when you are camping. Also be sure that everyone on the trip is aware of the allergy issue and knows how to react accordingly, whether that be with an antihistamine, an EpiPen, and/or a call to 911. In the article “Camping with Food Allergies? Follow This Advice for Maximum Fun, Safety,” the author states the importance of researching cell phone reception and knowing where to find the closest emergency center just in case.

If you want to take a permanent vacation from your allergies, call CT Sinus Center at 860-BALLOON to make an appointment. When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about which allergy symptoms you are experiencing. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will pinpoint what is causing your suffering and develop the right treatment for your lifestyle. With our four conveniently-located locations, traveling to an office won’t be much of a hike.

Make scary (allergy) stories something you tell over the fire, not something you experience.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions or treatments, read more about CT Sinus Center and take a look at our blog.