The Dangers of Ticks During Fall

TicksTicks lie somewhere between the two categories of completely harmless bugs and very dangerous bugs. While it’s true that people are more exposed to ticks during the warmer months, it’s possible to be exposed to them as the months get cooler too.  

Most people immediately associate ticks with the horrors of Lyme disease. However, it’s important to note that not every tick is infected with a disease, and that Lyme is not the only possible risk. In fact, the list on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) page “Tickborne Diseases of the United States” is a bit unnerving.

Luckily, these cases are rare, but you should still be cautious when it comes to these creepy critters. Some ticks are as tiny as a poppy seed and you may not even feel their bite, so always inspect your skin (and your pets) after being outdoors, especially if you’ve been in a wooded area or grassy area.

Let’s take a look at the most common ticks found in the United States:

  1. Deer ticks (blacklegged ticks). Deer ticks are most commonly found in North America. They come from, you guessed it, deer, and are able to transmit many of the diseases listed on the CDC site. They are mainly found in forests and wooded areas, so take extra precautions such as wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover your skin when you’ll possibly be exposed to them.
  2. American Dog tick (wood ticks). These guys are no friend of man’s best friend. Dogs and cats are susceptible to getting this type of tick wherever they go outside, so it’s very important to inspect your fur babies every time they come back in. Unwanted tick guests can cause harm to you and your pet, including illness and tick paralysis. If you do happen to find a tick on Fido, there is a specific, safe way to remove it. Visit PetMD to learn more about the dangers ticks pose for cats and dogs.
  3. Lone Star tick. Have you heard the buzz going around for these suckers? One bite from them can cause you to become allergic to red meat, as well as to possibly contract a disease. When this tick bites, your immune system may be activated if a carbohydrate named “alpha-gal” is transferred into your body. This molecule is found in most mammalian cell membranes except for human cell membranes — its foreignness is what triggers the allergic reaction. So if you are bitten, there will be no more steak for dinner, but at least poultry and seafood (which are non mammalian meat) are still okay.

If you happen to find any type of tick on you or your pet, remove it immediately. It can take up to 24 hours to fully pass on Lyme or any of the other diseases, and if you spot any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately to seek proper treatment and testing:

  • Bullseye rash
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle pains
  • Rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Trouble breathing

If you notice a tick, or that you are having a reaction after consuming red meat, make an appointment with us at one of our four conveniently-located locations. We have up-to-date diagnostic tools that will figure out what’s causing your your discomfort and expert physicians that will develop an individualized treatment plan for you.  

Call CT Sinus Center at 860-BALLOON and tick off “finding relief” on your to-do list.

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.

Knocked Out by Allergies: Allergic Shiners

allergic shinerMost of us recognize dark circles under the eyes as a sign of exhaustion or a fight (you should see the other guy). However they are also a symptom of allergies. While the discoloration is harmless, having them or seeing them on someone you love, especially a child, can be very worrisome.

“Allergic shiners” occur when congestion in the sinus cavities causes vascular congestion in the small veins under the eyes. In other words, when the sinuses are blocked, nothing around your face drains well. Therefore where usually blood will flow freely through the capillaries under the eyes back to the heart, when there is congestion, the blood pools, creating dark circles and sometimes puffiness. Combine these symptoms with the itchy eyes that are often associated with allergies and the rubbing that accompanies the itch, and you have a recipe for very irritated-looking eyes.

How are allergic shiners different from black eyes?

In the allergic shiner, the blood pools in enlarged veins, where in the other kind caused by impact, there is actually bleeding under the skin due to broken or leaked veins or capillaries. Both types are very visible because the skin under your eyes is extremely thin. In addition, the older you get, the thinner the skin gets, making shiners of any kind seem more prominent.

How do I treat an allergic shiner?

The treatment for allergy-induced under eye circles is the same as for the other symptoms of allergic rhinitis because the goal is to unclog the sinus cavities, therefore releasing any blockage preventing the blood from flowing freely. These treatment methods include:

Or, you can make an appointment with us at CT Sinus Center to find out more information about how through our one-time, innovative procedures, we can put an end to your allergy suffering forever. When you come in, our expert physicians will take the time to sit down with you to discuss your symptoms and then proceed with thorough state-of-the art diagnostic tools to diagnose your condition. Next, they will come up with an individualized treatment plan that is the perfect match for you. You may be eligible for Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, effectively eliminating the chances of continued problems. Or perhaps 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, is your best bet.

Stop going round for round with your allergies. Call 860-BALLOON today to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

For more information on allergies and other sinus conditions, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.

Fairfield County Office Now Booking Appointments

Until now, if you live in Fairfield County, you’ve had to travel a little bit out of your way to find expert sinus relief. Now, beginning August 4, CT Sinus Center is bringing its proven, permanent sinus solutions to your neighborhood!

Our brand new office will be conveniently located at 4 Corporate Drive, Suite 392, in Shelton. This new location will allow us to help even more sinusitis and allergy sufferers get back to the quality of life they deserve.

CT Sinus Center is the leading provider of a one-hour permanent solution to sinus suffering called balloon sinus dilation.This non-invasive procedure increases the airflow through nasal passages, reducing the recurrence of ailments and providing you with long-lasting, much needed relief.

Schedule your appointment today at our new Fairfield County office by calling 860-BALLOON. Whether you are eligible for balloon sinus dilation or any other of our highly effective methods of treatment, CT Sinus Center will get you back to feeling like you in no time.

Our office doors will not open until August 4, but our services are in demand, so secure your appointment today. Don’t miss your chance to get ahead of allergy season.

For more information on how the expert physicians at CT Sinus Center can help you, visit our website and blog, and call 860-BALLOON.

The Real Costs of Allergies

The Real Cost of Allergies

Suffering from allergies can be expensive, especially if you have them year-round. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), “Allergies are the 6th leading causes of chronic illness in the United States, with more than 50 million sufferers each year. “

In our previous blog “Say ‘No’ to Lifelong Sinus Medication’” we shared a study by the Academy of Allergy and Asthma in Primary Care stating that (combined) per year, sinus sufferers spend $17.5 billion on health costs, lose 6 million work and school days, and make 16 million visits to the doctor.

While those numbers are frightening enough, let’s take a look at some of the costs that you may not necessarily consider when estimating the more obvious expenses such as copays and medication (over-the-counter and prescription):

  • Side effects of treatments
  • Constant fatigue
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Lack of sleep
  • Low motivation
  • Loss of productivity
  • Pressure to make up lost professional or academic work from sick work/school days
  • Time lost traveling to doctor’s offices
  • Gas/Parking fees for doctor’s office
  • Restricted diet
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Poor nutrition
  • Vitamin Supplements
  • Natural/Organic Alternatives (such as nasal irrigation)
  • Lost family time
  • Lost personal time
  • Lost outdoor time (to avoid pollen)
  • Excessive Cleaning (to eliminate dust)
  • Cosmetic Purchases (to cover up dark circles and puffy eyes)
  • Frustration
  • Depression

These are just some of the hidden costs of suffering from allergies, and unfortunately, they are all very common and compound to make things even worse. Consequently, when you suffer from constant allergies, life isn’t as good as it should be. It’s really a vicious circle: When you’re not feeling well, you don’t do the things you should to take care of yourself. And when you don’t take care of yourself, you feel even worse both physically and emotionally. Of course, you can take decongestants, antihistamines and corticosteroids to help your symptoms, but each one of those options carry their own risks (including monetary costs).

There is help: CT Sinus Center can put a stop to your allergy suffering and get you back to feeling like yourself in as little as one day. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians and tell us exactly what you’ve been experiencing. Our patient-centered approach and up-to-date diagnostic methods and treatments , including balloon sinus dilation, will allow us to find the perfect path to putting an end to your suffering. This is why we are called the leaders in permanent relief.

It’s time to stop living in a haze of dust mites, pollen and losty experience, call us at (860) BALLOON and get back to the quality of life you deserve.

For more information on allergies and sinusitis, the CT Sinus Center website and blog.

Dysphagia: A Diagnosis That’s Hard to Swallow


Dysphagia is a condition in which a person has difficulty swallowing food or liquid. Of course, we’ve all had a hard time swallowing something, especially if we didn’t like it, or coughed when our food “went down the wrong pipe,” but persistent dysphagia can be a sign of a serious disorder of the throat or esophagus. The condition is most often seen in the elderly or in people with a neurological disorder.

A person suffering from dysphagia will feel either like she or he cannot control the muscles in the throat necessary to make the food/liquid go down or that something is actually blocking the food/liquid from going down. In addition to physical ailments, the condition may have social manifestations as well. For example, a sufferer may no longer want to dine with friends and family, either at home or out, feeling embarrassed at how long it takes to eat or the coughing that occurs after every couple of bites. The sufferer may also stop enjoying meals that she or he once enjoyed. As you can imagine, the problem can be frustrating and frightening, and if left alone, can lead to malnutrition, extreme weight loss, and dehydration.

Some of the most common symptoms of dysphagia are:

  • coughing or choking
  • pain when swallowing
  • inability to swallow
  • drooling
  • regurgitation
  • the feeling of having food stuck in the throat or chest

There are many possible causes of dysphagia, and when you make an appointment at our sister branch, Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat, one of our knowledgeable physicians will sit down with you and thoroughly discuss your history with the problem. He will then complete a series of non-invasive swallowing tests called Fiber Optic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing, or Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing with Sensory Testing, in order to assess the functions of the back of the tongue, throat, and larynx. Depending on your particular symptoms, the doctor may also examine the esophagus.

Once a diagnosis is made, the condition can be treated in a number of different ways with medicine, muscle relaxers, antacids, exercises, and/or dietary and lifestyle changes. In severe cases, a surgery called myotomy, which stretches or dilates the constricted part of the throat or esophagus, may be performed.  

However, no matter the severity of your dysphagia or the extent of treatment needed, the expert physicians and facilities at our sister branch Westwood Ears, Nose and Throat offer a relief that is just a phone call away. For more information on diagnostic procedures or to book an appointment, call (888) 230-3715. Don’t let dysphagia prevent you or a loved one from living life to the fullest.

Meet the CT Sinus Center Team: Dr. Marcus


Here at CT Sinus Center we understand that having faith in your physician is a top priority when you seek medical treatment. But in order to have this confidence, you need to know that your doctor is knowledgeable, skilled, and has a comforting bedside manner. Of course, we couldn’t agree more and that is why the only experts we invite to join our team are ones that we would want treating our own families. In that light, today we would like to introduce the newest member of the CT Sinus Center team, Dr. Larry Marcus, MD, MS, FACS.

Dr. Marcus specializes in otolaryngology within the head and neck. Born in Texas, he moved to Nebraska with his family where he would later attend the Nebraska College of Medicine. Upon graduation, Dr. Marcus was off to New York City where he completed his residency in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Marcus’s talents have served him well in nearly thirty professional appointments and positions throughout the country, including in New York, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio and Texas. His passion for the field and his desire to share his knowledge even brought him into the classroom to teach otolaryngology at Creighton University School of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School. Without us even mentioning Dr. Marcus’s numerous professional associations within the industry, including a fellowship with the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, it is clear that he is a leader in his field.

In addition to Dr. Marcus’s vast knowledge about sinus, head, and neck issues, his ability to explain complex medical procedures to his patients makes him an extremely valuable asset to CT Sinus Center. When you schedule an appointment with Dr. Marcus or any of our excellent physicians, you can be assured that you’ll receive the individualized attention and care you deserve.

And while  Dr. Marcus also holds a master’s degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, it isn’t all work and no play for the expert physician. In his spare time, he can be found with his wife and two daughters spending time in the great outdoors, at a Broadway show, or at the horse races.

So if you find that you are in need of a doctor specializing in sinus conditions, look no further than CT Sinus Center. At all three of our locations, we offer everything you need ears, nose and throat — and in many cases, same-day, permanent treatment. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Marcus or any of our other exceptional physicians, book an appointment today. For more information on ENT issues, visit our website and check into our blog weekly!