Allergic Reactions


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.


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.


Conjunctivitis: Not Pretty in Pink (Eye)

ConjunctivitisIt’s not difficult to diagnose conjunctivitis (pink eye) since the primary symptom is a pink (red) coloring in the white of the eye or the inner eyelid. The other symptoms are pretty obvious too — the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists them as:

  • Swelling of the conjunctiva (the thin layer that lines the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid) and/or eyelids
  • Increased tear production
  • Feeling like a foreign body is in the eye(s) or an urge to rub the eye(s)
  • Itching, irritation, and/or burning
  • Discharge (pus or mucus)
  • Crusting of eyelids or lashes, especially in the morning
  • Contact lenses that do not stay in place on the eye and/or feel uncomfortable

One of the most concerning things about pink eye is that it is highly contagious. Or is it? Well, yes, if it is caused by a virus or bacteria, pink eye is extremely contagious and requires medical treatment. However, there is a non-infectious type of pink eye caused by allergies.

Allergic conjunctivitis can occur as a reaction to the same triggers that cause seasonal allergies (pollen, mold, pet dander, dust). WebMD explains that the layer of skin that covers your eyes and the inside of your lids is the same as the skin that lines the inside of your nose. It makes sense, then, that both areas can be irritated by the same substances. It also makes sense that this type of pink eye usually appears in both eyes.

Fortunately, allergic conjunctivitis will usually go away on its own, but why suffer if you don’t have to. When you make an appointment at CT Sinus Center, our expert physicians can help you keep from seeing red when allergies hit. When you come in, we will discuss your symptoms at length in order to find clues as to what is triggering your condition. Next, we will perform thorough testing to identify the actual cause of your allergies and develop an individualized treatment plan to get you back to seeing clearly in no time.

As we discussed in our blog “Should You Drop Your Allergy Eye Medications?” there are several ways to treat eye allergies with medications such as antihistamines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, corticosteroid anti-inflammatories, decongestants, and mast cell stabilizers. Immunotherapy (shots or SLIT) is another effective way of treating allergic conjunctivitis.

Also, because eye allergies are usually a sign of seasonal allergies and are accompanied by the same symptoms (congestion, runny nose, cough, sinus pressure), you may be eligible for one of our two outpatient procedures that can put a permanent end to sinus suffering altogether:

  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

Isn’t it time you found relief? Call (860) BALLOON to make an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices today. We promise you that our allergy team will be a sight for sore eyes.

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


Have an Egg-cellent Easter — Even With Food Allergies

Easter

Easter is a time for friends and family to come together and celebrate spring, the season of hope and rebirth. Unfortunately, if you have food allergies, there are some holiday traditions that can quickly turn that hope into despair. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Easter Eggs

Mayo Clinic notes eggs as one of the most common food allergies for children. Reactions can include:

  • Skin inflammation or hives — the most common egg allergy reaction
  • Nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing (allergic rhinitis)
  • Digestive symptoms, such as cramps, nausea and vomiting
  • Asthma signs and symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath

A severe reaction can result in anaphylaxis and requires medical attention immediately. And for people who are extremely sensitive to eggs, even just touching them can lead to a serious reaction. This is especially true for young children who may handle the egg and then touch their eyes or mouths.

However, egg allergy sufferers can still experience the egg-dying tradition that their non-allergic peers enjoy. EggNots, created by a loving aunt for her food-allergic young niece, are affordable, dyeable ceramic eggs that allow all the fun without the risk. Or, you can get plastic eggs and fill them with treats like candy or coins. Not only are the plastic kind colorful alternatives, they cost very little and are reusable year after year. Plus, everyone, no matter what age, loves to pop them open for their hidden treasures.

Candy

When it comes to candy sales, Easter is only second to Halloween. However, just like with its autumn cousin, this holiday candy is full of allergens:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Gelatin
  • Food dyes/colors
  • Nickel (an ingredient in some types of chocolate)

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that the big bunny is out of a job. With nutrition sciences constantly evolving, the list of allergy-friendly foods is quickly growing and there are plenty of alternatives to satisfy any sweet tooth. For an updated list of allergy-free Easter candy, click here.

Toys

You don’t usually think of toys having food allergens that can cause your child to have a serious reaction, but the truth is, some may. A Food Allergy Research & Education blog posted in February 2016 lists hidden food-related dangers in popular toys such as modeling compounds (e.g. Play Doh)  and stuffed animals — all of which are popular Easter gifts.

Of course, you must also be aware of other dangers when it comes to toys, for example, choking hazards. Small children tend to put everything in their mouths … or ears and nose. If the latter occurs, call our sister office, Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat, to  get you and your child out of that tight situation.

With some precautions taken, everyone can enjoy traditional Easter activities. At CT Sinus Center, we would like to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday! May your (Easter) basket always be full.

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