Allergy Triggers


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.


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 Up with Fall Allergies

FallWith fall weather approaching — or, as we are in New England, coming and going and coming and going — it’s time to think about this season’s allergies. In our blog “The Truth About Fall Allergies,” we stated that the most common triggers for this time of year are ragweed and pollen. In this blog, we are going to take a closer look at each one.

Ragweed, is described by Allergic Living as the “super-villain of allergy plants.” There are at least 17 different species of ragweed in the United States, however the two most common types are common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida). Ragweed season usually runs from August through October and it can be found pretty much everywhere. Even if it isn’t growing in your immediate area, its pollen might be. According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America:

  • One plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains.
  • The light pollen is easily carried by the wind and has been found in the air 400 miles out to sea and 2 miles up in the atmosphere.

When is ragweed pollen at its worst? That depends on where you are. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of AmericaⓇ (New England Chapter) explains:

  • Warmth, lowered humidity, and active breezes after sunrise create the ideal environment for pollen release.
  • Near the plants, pollen levels are highest shortly after dawn. The amount of airborne pollen peaks in many urban areas between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Rain and/or low morning temperatures (below 50° F) can block or slow pollen release on that day.

Mold can also be found everywhere, including inside, so there is little escaping it during the fall season. The Center for Disease Control and and Prevention (CDC) has cited the following as the most common types:

  • Alternaria
  • Aspergillus
  • Cladosporium
  • Penicillium

Outdoor mold thrives in damp, humid environments and in our part of the world, triggers allergy symptoms from summer to fall. Indoor mold also flourishes under those conditions, however, if the circumstances are right, can last year-round. For more information on keeping mold, and your mold allergies at bay, visit our blogs:

If you are suffering from mold and/or ragweed allergies — or think you may be  — you can do one of two things:

1. Check the pollen and mold count daily and take allergy medications.

-or-

2. Make an appointment at CT Sinus Center and put a permanent end to your suffering.

We highly suggest the second option. 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 watch your allergy symptoms be gone with the fall wind.

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


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.


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.