Allergens


What is Involved in Allergy Testing?

allergy testingIn our blogs, we always talk about how at CT Sinus Center we have the most up-to-date diagnostic tools for pinpointing the exact cause of your allergies. In today’s blog, we are going to discuss what is involved so that you know what to expect when you come in for your allergy testing appointment.

Let us begin by saying that we don’t jump into the actual testing. First, our staff will sit down with you and thoroughly discuss your medical history and symptoms. Next, before we start any type of test, we will explain to you what we’re going to do because our top priority — next to making you feel better — is making you feel at ease.

Once you are ready, we will begin the actual allergy testing process, which can involve a skin and/or blood test. Here are the different types with descriptions from Mayo Clinic:

Skin Prick Tests

  • May be called puncture or scratch test
  • The test is painless and barely penetrates the skin
  • Done on forearm (adult) and back (child)
  • Process: Site is cleaned with alcohol and marked, and then a drop of allergen extract is applied and pricked into the skin with a tiny needle
  • Histamine and Glycerin or saline are applied to site
  • After 15 minutes, doctor checks site for reaction
  • Can test up to 40 allergens at once, including pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites and foods

Skin injection test

  • Done on forearm
  • Process: Small needle injects the allergen into skin
  • After 15 minutes, doctor checks site for reaction
  • Usually used to detect allergy to insect venom or penicillin

Patch test

  • Tests for contact dermatitis
  • Done on arm or back
  • Process: Allergen is applied to patch and then patch is placed on skin
  • After 48 hours, doctor checks site for reaction
  • Can test 20 to 30 allergens at once, including latex, medications, fragrances, preservatives, hair dyes, metals and resins

Blood test

According to the College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), a blood test is usually done if:

  • The patient is taking a medicine that can interfere with skin testing, but cannot be stopped for a few days
  • The patient suffers from a severe skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis
  • Testing with a strong allergen might cause an extra large positive reaction
  • A single needle stick for allergy blood testing may be better than several skin tests, especially for babies and very young children

Now that you know what to expect, schedule an appointment for allergy testing at CT Sinus Center and take the first step in finding permanent relief. Our patient-care administered by expert physicians will have you feeling at ease from the moment you walk through the door and feeling relief shortly thereafter.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices today.

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


Get Schooled on Back-to-School Allergies

SchoolWith the new school year about to begin, you may be worried about your child’s allergies acting up. Statistically, childhood allergies are not uncommon. The most recent information available from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) cites that “Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school children are currently approaching 40%-50%.” The site then breaks down the different types of allergies and their prevalence:

Fall Allergies

  • In 2012, 9.0% or 6.6 million children reported hay fever in the past 12 months

Food Allergies

  • Findings from a 2009 to 2010 study of 38,480 children (infant to 18) indicated:
    8% have a food allergy

    • Approximately 6% aged 0-2 years
    • About 9% aged 3-5 years
    • Nearly 8% aged 6-10 years
    • Approximately 8% aged 11-13 years
    • More than 8.5% aged 14-18 years
  • 38.7% of food allergic children have a history of severe reactions
  • 30.4% of food allergic children have multiple food allergies
  • Of food allergic children, peanut is the most prevalent allergen, followed by milk and then shellfish

Skin Allergies

  • In 2010, black children in the U.S. were more likely to have had skin allergies (17%) than white (12%) or Asian (10%) children
  • In 2012, 12.0% or 8.8 million children reported skin allergies in the past 12 months

One of the reasons your child is susceptible to allergies in the beginning of the year is that the classrooms have probably been closed up for the entire summer, creating a breeding ground for dust and mold. As we stated in our blog “Fall Allergies and Your Child”:

And while school staff puts in as much effort as possible to keep the building free of dust, mold, and other irritants, sometimes it’s just hard to get it all. This is because with all of the school’s nooks and crannies and the amount of children running around stirring things up, there is only so much anyone can do to keep the building allergy-free.

Luckily when it comes to food allergies, schools have taken many precautions to protect students from being exposed to triggers. Accommodations such as peanut-free lunchrooms and gluten-free options can help keep your child safe. Be sure to make the school aware of your child’s allergies and if they have an EpiPen, keep an extra one with the school nurse. The best bet is to have your young learner bring their own lunch and snacks. For some delicious allergy-free ideas, visit the Kids with Food Allergies Community page for “Allergy-Friendly School Lunch Box Ideas (Video and Resources).”

For parents of children suffering from asthma, including exercise-induced asthma, there are additional concerns about back-to-school. The American Lung Association provides a “Back to School with Asthma Checklist” to help make the transition safer and easier.

As a parent, you know that the most effective way to keep your child healthy is to be pro-active, so if your child does suffer from allergies, make an appointment with the expert physicians at CT Sinus Center to pinpoint the exact cause and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will work for your child and your family. While we unfortunately can’t predict if and when a child will begin to suffer from allergies, we are here to help at any time if you notice that they seem to be showing symptoms.

When allergies hit, call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices and feel confident that you are sending your young learner off with the tools they need to be healthy.

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


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.


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.


The Different Type of Tissues

tissuesWhen allergies hit, tissues are essential, and in the heat of the moment, you usually reach for whatever is closest to you. However, if you’ve ever shopped for tissues (and most of us have), you may have been overwhelmed by how many kinds are available. Of course, having options is great, but which type is the best?

Like most things, it depends on what you’re looking for.

Tissues are identified by their strength, which is measured by how many layers it has. So tissue that is 1-, 2- or 3-ply has 1, 2 or 3 layers, respectively. As you would imagine, the more layers, the stronger, and more absorbent, the piece is. And if you’ve ever used a tissue, which we’re sure you have, then you know that you don’t want one that falls apart in your hands.

Some types of tissues have the following natural additives to help sooth your irritated nose:

  • Lotion: moisturizes the skin around your nose
  • Aloe vera: has antibacterial properties to help fight infection in your chaffed skin
  • Vitamin E: is an antioxidant that helps protect and heal skin
  • Menthol: cools and helps clear your nasal passages

Unfortunately, some types of tissues also contain surfactants and chemicals, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, chlorine, and isopropyl palmitate, that are used in the softening and bleaching processes. (If you’re interested in how tissues are made, watch this Science Channel segment “How It’s Made Tissues.”)  For some people, these elements can trigger contact dermatitis, and some brands use these more than others, so you should always check the ingredients on the tissue box.

However, if you are ready to leave the tissues behind, or at least those you use for allergy attacks, 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 when and where you mostly experience allergy symptoms. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will pinpoint what is causing your nasal issues 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 discomfort 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 cross facial tissues off your shopping list this allergy season.

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


Protect Your Child From Spring Allergies

ChildFinally spring has sprung and your child is probably running for the outdoors after being cooped up in the house all winter. But as soon as you started opening up the windows and letting that fresh air in, you may have noticed that your child has started suffering with a scratchy throat and stuffy nose. Just like last year.

What is going on with this poor timing of your kids getting sick right when they can go spend some time outside? It just may be that your child isn’t suffering from a head cold at all, but rather from allergies.

Children can develop allergies from as young as 12 months old and usually show signs of them before they reach age 10 (although symptoms can begin outside of that age range). According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:

  • In 2012, 9.0% or 6.6 million children reported hay fever in the past 12 months.
  • In 2012, 10.6% or 7.8 million children reported respiratory allergies in the past 12 months.
  • Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school children are currently approaching 40%-50%.

While the good news is that many children outgrow allergies in later adulthood, you’re still concerned about them right now. And you should be. KidsHealth explains that:

Seasonal allergies not only make life miserable for your child [causing restless sleep, exhaustion, trouble concentrating], but if left untreated, they can lead to some greater long-term health problems, such as sinusitis, chronic ear infections, and even asthma.

The even better news is that there are some things you can do today to help ease your child’s suffering. First and foremost, make an appointment with your doctor or an ENT specialist such as one of the expert physicians at our sister practice Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat. Our staff will make you and your child feel at ease from the moment you walk in the door and throughout the entire visit. We’ll begin by talking to you and your child about their medical history and symptoms. Next, we’ll perform thorough testing to determine exactly what is triggering the allergies. Finally, we’ll develop an individualized treatment plan that is perfect for your child.

Help your child hop happily into the season and away from allergy symptoms. Call Westwood ENT today at (888) 230-3715 and schedule your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

For tips on keeping your child with allergies (and any adults too) healthy this season, visit our blogs:

To help your child learn more about their allergies, visit the KidsHealth page “Learning About Allergies” for educational articles in fun and easy-to-understand kid-speak.

And last, but not least, for all of your other allergy and sinus-related questions, visit the CT Sinus Center webpage and blog.


7 Tips Com(piled) for Mold Allergy Season

Mold Allergy SeasonIf you live in New England, fallen leaves are just another fact of life, and so is having to rake them. There are a few people who find raking cathartic, but most find it a bothersome chore. And whether they like it or not, for people with fall allergies, raking leaves can be downright dangerous.

Leave piles are a breeding ground for mold spores, and the spores themselves are extremely airborne, especially during the warm part of the day. Because they are so light, mold spores are easily inhaled. Therefore, just being around mold can trigger an allergic reaction, so you can imagine what raking them and stirring up the pollen can do.

The best way to avoid mold allergy symptoms is simply to stay away from mold — but that is easier said than done. You have to go outside and if you have a yard, you’ll have to rake leaves. And anyway, you don’t want to allow allergies to keep you trapped inside the house on beautiful fall days.

To help you get through leave season as healthy as possible, we have compiled a list of ways to reduce your symptoms as much as possible.

  1. Check the pollen count. Try to do your yardwork on the days that the pollen and mold counts are lower. For up-to-date tree, weed, grass and mold levels in your area, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
  2. Clean your gutters. Leaves can accumulate in the gutters, where if left, will further decay and produce mold.

  3. Wear a mask. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests a NIOSH rated N95 mask for preventing inhalation of pollen and mold spores while working outside.

  4. Keep windows closed and clean air filters. Since they are so light and airborne, it is easy for the mold spores living in the leaves to come in through your windows, air conditioners and air purifiers.

  5. Shower/bathe after raking leaves. After working in the yard, bathe in order to clean off any pollen and spores that are on your skin. Then put on clean clothes and wash the ones you were wearing. Dry them in the drier or inside so because wet clothes hanging on a line will attract allergens.

  6. Take allergy medication. Over-the-counter and prescription medications come in many forms — antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays — and, while temporary fixes, work well when taken correctly. Allergy shots lead to permanent relief, but the process itself takes many years and numerous injections per month.

  7. Visit CT Sinus Center. If you are looking for a permanent solution to your fall mold allergies, especially if you suffer from seasonal allergies year long, we can help. Through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, our expert physicians will find the right treatment for your specific symptoms. 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 let us help you leave your mold allergies behind.

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


Is Honey The Bee’s Knees of Allergy Treatments?

HoneyFor years, people have been raving about the relieving effects that local, raw (unprocessed) honey has on allergies. But does it really work as well as they allege it does? While we would like to say “yes,” especially as incentive to help end the ongoing bee crisis, unfortunately, these claims are unfounded.  

The reasoning behind this myth is similar to the reasoning behind why allergy shots (immunology) work: When the allergens are introduced a little at a time over time, the body builds an immunity to them. So if you consider it in this way:

  1. Bees collect nectar and pollen from flowers that the person is exposed to daily.
  2. The nectar and pollen are converted into honey.
  3. Person ingests the local honey over a period of time.
  4. The exposure to the honey causes immunity.

In theory, this makes sense. Unfortunately according to major medical sources (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Mayo Clinic and WebMD, the theory is a little sour. Here’s why:

  1. There is no way of telling how much pollen, if any, is in the honey.
  2. While you can control allergen dosage and its progression with allergy shots, you have no way of knowing how much is actually in the honey.
  3. Bees mostly collect nectar and pollen from the type of flowers that don’t typically cause allergies. Most allergies come from tree and grass pollen, which is actually airborne.

In fact, ingesting raw honey can actually be harmful under the following conditions:

  1. In a child under 12 months old, it can cause infant botulism.
  2. It can cause a mild to severe allergic reaction.

In processed commercial honey, bee parts, mold spores, pollen and bacteria are all removed because they are considered the “junk” parts.

Does this mean that honey just has placebo effects or that you shouldn’t ingest it at all?

Actually, no. Honey, aside from being delicious, has many beneficial properties, for example, anti-inflammatory effects. So if you think honey is working to make you feel better, you’re right. So go ahead and get some of that fresh local honey that they’ll be selling during the upcoming fair season, and for more information on the great qualities of honey, visit “Benefits of Honey.”

The debunking of the myth does mean, however, that you need another solution for your allergies, and at CT Sinus Center, we have a permanent one. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians to see what we can do for you. When you come in, we’ll take the time to sit down with you and discuss your symptoms before doing thorough diagnostic testing to see exactly what is triggering your allergies. Next, in easy-to-understand language, we’ll explain our findings and treatment options. Finally, we’ll develop an individualized treatment plan that will bring sweet relief from allergies in no time. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will end your suffering in around an hour:

  1. Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
  2. 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 our four conveniently-located offices, and let us help you “bee” free from allergies.

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


5 Common Mistakes That Make Allergies Worse


Allergy mistakesDoes it seem that no matter what you do to treat your
allergies, nothing seems to be working? Perhaps instead of helping, you’re actually committing some of the following common treatment mistakes. So before you suffer another day, let’s take a look at some “fixes” you should be avoiding.

  1. Mistake: Treating symptoms, not underlying causes. While you may be able to eliminate some of your symptoms with specific treatments, unless you address what’s causing them, the fix is only temporary. For example, if you are taking a decongestant for a stuffy nose or an antihistamine for a runny one, you may be able to breathe a bit more freely, however the relief will last only as long as the dosage does. Also, if you have chronic allergies, but you’re taking medication for the common cold, you may only get a break from some of your symptoms.

Correct way: See an allergy specialist for a diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan.

  1. Mistake: Taking medications too late. As we discussed in “Allergy Myths: The Truth Is Out There,” many people won’t reach for the allergy medications until they feel sick. However, once the allergy is in full-swing, it can be difficult to relieve its symptoms.

Correct way: “Pre-treat” by taking the medicine before you are exposed to the allergen, thereby preventing, or at least lessening, the allergic reaction. Pre-treating often means taking the medication long-term and year-round.

  1. Mistake: Ignoring pollen count. If you ask the average person how the pollen count is measured, he or she may tell you that it is an estimated level based on how much pollen is seen in the air and on surfaces. Actually, pollen count is a real, scientific measurement of how much pollen and mold is saturating the air, and higher levels represent danger for allergy sufferers.

Correct way: Schedule your life around the pollen count.

  1. Mistake: Inviting pollen in. You probably think of dust being inside of your house, and pollen being outside. However, pollen will find its way into your home — and you may be responsible. First, opening windows lets the fresh air in, but it also lets the pollen in. Also, pollen can gather on shoes and clothing, which then can be tracked throughout your house. It can even settle into clothing that is hanging on an outside clothesline, so your freshly washed clothes may not be as clean as you thought.

Correct way: Constantly wash your clothes, dry them inside, and shower to remove the pollen from your skin. Always leave windows closed.

  1. Mistake: Misusing air purifiers or humidifiers. Both of these machines are great for improving the air quality in your home. However if you don’t keep up on the maintenance and clean the filters, you are only be recirculating the pollen and mold that was making you ill in the first place.

Correct way: Make sure you are always using distilled water, and clean your filters regularly.

It is said that doing things over and over in the same way, but expecting different results, is the definition of insanity. So why keep making the same mistakes over and over when treating your allergies? On the other hand, doing things the correct way can be quite time-consuming and inconvenient — and temporary.

The expert physicians at CT Sinus Center can help you break through this frustrating and expensive cycle to find permanent relief. First and foremost, we will take the time to sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and then use the most up-to-date diagnostic tools to find out exactly what’s causing them. Next, we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan designed to get you on the path to symptom-free living in no time. You may be an ideal candidate for Balloon Sinus Dilation, a non-invasive, in-house procedure in which a small balloon is inflated in the nasal cavity, opening passages and relieving your allery symptoms forever.

To see what we can do for you, call CT Sinus Center today at 860-BALLOON and schedule an appointment at one of our three conveniently-located offices.

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