Monthly Archives: August 2017


Medical Allergies: Latex and Penicillin

LatexGoing to the doctor is supposed to make you feel better, but what happens when a trip to the office triggers an allergic reaction? Unfortunately, there are a number of medical supplies that  can do just that. In today’s blog, we are going to take a more in-depth look at two of those triggers: latex and penicillin.

Latex:

Natural latex is made from the sap of the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. When a person has an allergic reaction to latex, it is because of the proteins in the sap. Since this allergy has become so common, natural rubber latex is often replaced with synthetic rubber, especially in gloves. However, the synthetic latex is made up of chemicals, which can trigger a whole other set of allergies.

According to The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI): People who are at higher risk for developing a latex allergy include:

  • Health care workers and others who frequently wear latex gloves
  • People who have had multiple surgeries (for example, 10 or more), such as children with spina bifida
  • People who are often exposed to natural rubber latex, including rubber industry workers
  • People with other allergies, such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or allergy to certain foods

Symptoms include:

For more information and a helpful Latex Allergy Checklist, visit the American Latex Allergy Association site.

Penicillin:

The good news about this allergy is many people who think they have it actually don’t. Instead, they may be experiencing adverse reactions or side effects to the drug, which can be just as serious.

The symptoms of a penicillin allergy are just like those of a latex allergy with the addition of:

  • Fever
  • Itchy Eyes
  • Swelling of the lips,  tongue or face

Unfortunately, people with a penicillin allergy may unknowingly be allergic to other drugs as well. Mayo Clinic explains:

Penicillins belong to a class of antibacterial drugs called beta-lactams. Although the mechanisms of the drugs vary, generally they fight infections by attacking the walls of bacterial cells. In addition to penicillins, other beta-lactams more commonly associated with allergic reactions are a group called cephalosporins.

Penicillins include:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Ampicillin
  • Dicloxacillin
  • Oxacillin
  • Penicillin G
  • Penicillin V
  • Piperacillin
  • Ticarcillin

Cephalosporins include:

  • Cefaclor
  • Cefadroxil
  • Cefazolin
  • Cefdinir
  • Cefotetan
  • Cefprozil
  • Cefuroxime
  • Cephalexin

If you believe that you may be suffering from a latex or penicillin allergy, stop the guesswork and find out for sure. Our expert allergists at CT Sinus Center have the most up-to-date testing methods to determine whether or not you do have an allergy and exactly what it is. Once the diagnosis is in, we will work with you to develop a plan to keep you safe from any follow-up reactions.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices today and be assured that a trip to the doctor will only end in health. Also watch for our blog “Medical Allergies Part 2: Other Medications and Adhesives.”

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


Are Natural Remedies Effective for Allergies?

Natural remediesThere are a ton of different pharmaceuticals, prescription and over-the-counter, on the market for treating seasonal allergies. However, many people are looking for a natural path in preventing and lessening allergy symptoms. This search can be for a number of reasons, including cost and side effects. But for those of us who have grown up with drugstore treatments, we may find ourselves asking: Do natural remedies really work?

According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP):

From a naturopathic viewpoint, allergies are often associated with weak adrenal, immune, and digestive functions. Natural treatments are used to support and improve those functions and to alleviate hay fever symptoms. For seasonal allergies, beginning natural treatments 1–2 months before the season starts can help reduce the severity of symptoms. Good health can help ease allergy symptoms, and good health starts with nutrition.

But what would medical doctors and allergists say?

WebMD quotes Mary Hardy, MD, director of integrative medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles: “Using nature-based products can be a very useful way to handle mild allergies and a useful adjunct for more significant allergies, and there are many types of treatments you can safely try.” In fact, in a section called “Natural Allergy Remedies,” WebMD examines each of the following natural allergy treatments, their use and their effectiveness:

We’ve also examined a few natural remedies in our own blogs:

The general consensus seems to be that some of the natural remedies listed above do help some people some of the time. People also recommend vitamins for allergy symptoms, but there have yet to be any conclusive scientific results regarding their specific impact on sinus issues. In addition, doctors caution that some supplements may trigger allergic reactions themselves, so you should always research and consult your doctor before using them.

That said, we do know the risks for the most common types of allergy medications, and those aren’t ideal either:

  • Antihistamines: dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, restlessness or moodiness, blurred vision, confusion, possible risks with long-term use, and negative interactions with specific medications.
  • Decongestants: dizziness, anxiety, nausea, headaches, increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, nosebleeds, throat irritation and increased tolerance.

On top of all of these risks and costs, both allergy medication and natural remedies are only temporary solutions. So if you are looking for a more permanent end to your allergy suffering, schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center to see how we can help. When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about your medical history and your symptoms. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will pinpoint what is causing your discomfort and develop 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 start breathing freely, like nature intended.

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


Living with Lactose Intolerance

Lactose IntoleranceLast week in our blog “Am I Allergic to Milk?” we examined the difference between a milk allergy and lactose intolerance. In this blog, we are going to delve further into the latter. Here is what we said about intolerance:

Unlike an allergy, intolerance 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

When you are looking at ingredient labels, remember that lactose often goes by other names such as whey and casein. Nutritionists call these “hidden lactose.” You can find a comprehensive list of hidden lactose products with descriptions on the “Milk Allergy Avoidance List” provided by Kids with Food Allergies.

Unfortunately, while there is no cure for lactose intolerance, there are many ways to live with and avoid the discomfort caused from the condition. The following tips from WebMD can help prevent the common symptoms listed above:

  • Limit the amount milk products in your diet and only have a little at a time with other non-lactose foods
  • Try lactose-free or reduced-lactose products
  • Avoid lactose altogether

If you have a reaction to lactose, it is best to see a doctor in order to pinpoint the exact protein or substance that is causing the issue, as well as to make sure it is an intolerance rather than an allergy. When seeing a specialist you can expect a diagnosis based on:

  • A detailed history of your symptoms
  • A physical exam
  • Elimination diets

In addition to the above diagnosis methods, you may even undergo the following procedures in order to receive more accurate results:

  • Hydrogen Breath Test: Undigested lactose produces high levels of hydrogen gas in your breath. Doctors can diagnose lactose intolerance by measuring this hydrogen after you drink a lactose-loaded beverage.
  • Stool Acidity TestUndigested lactose also increases the amount of acid in the stool. Doctors may use this test to diagnose lactose intolerance in young children.
  • Food Allergy TestingIf your doctor suspects a milk allergy, you may be sent to an allergist for skin testing or have a blood sample drawn for laboratory allergy testing.

Stop living with lactose intolerance. Make an appointment with our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center and put a permanent end to your suffering. When you come in, we’ll sit down and discuss your symptoms before we start a series of diagnostic procedures like those above to figure out whether or not lactose is responsible for your discomfort. Once we get answers, we’ll develop a treatment plan that is right for your specific lifestyle. Today there are so many lactose-free options out there, you won’t even miss it.

No use crying over milk, spilled or otherwise. Call us today at 860-BALLOON and make an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

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