Tips for Treating Allergies When Traveling

TravelingThe holidays are right around the corner and for you and your family, this may mean hitting the road. Traveling can be stressful enough without having to worry about an allergy attack, especially because you never know when a trigger will strike. Fortunately, if you are traveling with allergies, there are precautions you can take to be prepared if something does hit. In this blog, we’ll look at six of them.

  1. Bring a first-aid kid. It’s always smart to bring a first-aid kid when you travel. Fill yours with remedies for common ailments such as cuts, stomach aches, minor aches and pains, allergies and colds. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides this comprehensive list of items to include in your travel health kit.
  2. Pack all necessary medications. Make sure you won’t run out while you are away. You can check the pollen counts for your destination (and everywhere along the way), and if you see that your triggers pose a threat, ask your doctor to prescribe a higher dosage of your medication or suggest an additional treatment for the short period you’ll be away.
  3. Prepare an allergy-free menu. Not only will this ensure that food allergy triggers will be avoided, it will also save you money that could otherwise be spent on restaurants and novelty snacks. The Food Allergy Research and Education site offers extensive tips on traveling with food allergies.
  4. Know airline regulations. If you are flying, check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations on traveling with medication to ensure you are following their rules. The last thing you want is to have to leave important medications at the security checkpoint.
  5. Book an asthma- and allergy-friendly hotel. There are some hotels that offer this type of accommodations, which include no pet policies and hypoallergenic linens. WebMD also recommends that you ask for a sunny room away from the pool if mold allergies are a concern. You can also bring your own dust-proof, zippered pillow covers whether you are staying at a hotel or with friends/family.
  6. Have an in-case-of-emergency plan. Make 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. You should also research cell phone reception where you are going and know where to find the closest emergency center just in case.

When you are ready to pack away your allergies for good, call CT Sinus Center at 860-BALLOON to make an appointment. When you first come in, our expert team will sit down with you to discuss your medical history and allergy symptoms. 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, this destination is definitely worth the trip.

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 You Allergic to Exercise?

ExerciseHave you ever noticed that when you’re working out, especially with cardio activities, your nose starts to run? Or maybe after an exertive workout, you feel congested like you were just hit with a cold. If either of these scenarios sound familiar, then you must be allergic to exercise and now have an excuse to binge watch Netflix instead of going for that jog! No, just kidding. Exercise-induced rhinitis is a real thing, but while it’s inconvenient, it’s harmless.

Although the medical community (and many of us) know that this reaction exists, its exact cause is unknown. However, here are two popular theories:

  • Greater exposure to allergens. Of course if you are exercising outside, you are going to be surrounded by all of the things that usually trigger allergiespollen, grass, mold — and even things that cause nonallergic rhinitis such as cold air and car exhaust. In the same vein, if you are working out at a gym, it’s possible that you are allergic to something there, such as the chemicals they use to clean. It follows then that the harder you work out, the more your breathing deepens and speeds up, causing you to inhale more of the allergens.

  • Dilated blood vessels: The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) explains:

    Normally these blood vessels are in a half-constricted or half-open state. But when a person exercises vigorously, hormone (adrenaline) levels increase. Adrenaline causes constriction of the nasal membranes so that the air passages open up and the person breathes freely.

When you’re done exercising and less adrenaline and blood is flowing, your nasal passages expand again, which can make you feel congested.

Important note: Exercise-induced rhinitis is not to be confused with exercise-induced asthma and exercise-induced anaphylaxis (EIA), both of which need medical attention and treatment.

That said, if you are suffering from a runny or congested nose while exercising, it’s time to stop allowing it to keep you from fitness activities. After all, exercising is extremely important to your overall health and wellbeing. Schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center to find out how we can help you put down the tissues and pick up your performance. 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 get back on that track and leave your exercise-induced rhinitis in the dust.

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

Are You Allergic to Fragrance?

FragranceHave you noticed that a certain fragrance can make you sneeze? Maybe it’s the perfume from the woman who shares your cube wall. Maybe it’s that little deodorizing tree hanging in your car. Or perhaps it’s the fancy soap you bought at the neighborhood artisan store.

You may be … or maybe not. The medical field hasn’t fully confirmed that fragrances are indeed allergens, or if they are merely irritants that cause a fragrance sensitivity. Either way, fragrances can cause a number of different symptoms, and if you’ve ever suffered because of a one, you know that it can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are repeatedly exposed to it.

According to Everyday Health, the symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • A tight feeling in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Worsening asthma symptoms
  • Runny and stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watering eyes
  • A skin allergy

These symptoms do sound a lot like the ones brought about by allergies, however, in order to be classified as an allergic reaction, the substance must trigger IgE antibody production. While this sounds like it should be easy to test, WebMD explains that it is difficult to isolate the actual culprit in the fragrance mix that is causing the reaction. Also, sometimes the reaction doesn’t involve antibodies, so the test wouldn’t yield results. The site also explains that according to experts, finding the cause often comes down to trial and error.

What do you do if you think you have a fragrance sensitivity?

The best thing to do, of course, is to avoid using that product. The problem is that fragrances are hard to avoid. WebMD tells us that “According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), some 5,000 different fragrances — and countless other fragrance combinations — are used in products today.” These products include, but are not limited to, soaps, lotions, cosmetics and cleaning products.

Unfortunately though, we don’t always have control over what we are exposed to, especially at work. If you know where it’s coming from, for example your office neighbor’s perfume, you can politely speak to the person about it. Or if the culprit is the office carpet cleaner, explain the head of maintenance and see if anything can be done to help you. Most places will accommodate your needs. Some states have gone as far as implementing legal action regarding fragrances in areas of employment.

Is it worth it to see an allergist for a fragrance sensitivity?

Absolutely. If you have a chance at finding relief for your symptoms, wouldn’t you want to? If you are experiencing reactions to fragrances, schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center to see how we can help. Our expert physicians will sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and your exposure to particular triggers. They will then perform a series of diagnostic tests to see if they can pinpoint the exact cause of your reaction. After they will thoroughly discuss your results and a create an individualized plan for relieving your symptoms.

Stop suffering. Call CT Sinus Center today at  860-BALLOON and see what we can do for you. With four offices conveniently located throughout Connecticut, the sweet smell of relief is just a short drive away.

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