Causes


Sinusitis: Acute vs. Chronic

SinusitisSinusitis is a common condition in which the area around your nasal passages – the sinuses – become swollen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites that:

  • Number of adults with diagnosed sinusitis: 29.4 million
  • Percent of adults with diagnosed sinusitis: 12.1%

Having sinusitis is miserable: the mucus, the facial pressure, the congestion and runny nose, not to mention the possible ear pain, coughing, jaw pain, fatigue, sore throat and nausea that can accompany all of it… Quite frankly, it’s horrible and can really put a cramp in your lifestyle. On top of that, sinusitis can last for a while, whether it’s acute or chronic. Let’s look at the differences between the two.

Acute

Acute sinusitis is sometimes referred to as rhinosinusitis, and almost always begins with a common cold or seasonal allergies. The increase of mucus and its inability to drain due to inflammation can cause infection leading to sinusitis.

The good news is that not all acute sinusitis involves bacterial infection; some may be viral. In these cases, over-the-counter remedies, fluids and rest are all you need to feel better after a couple of days. However, if your condition lasts for over 10 days with no improvement, the infection may be bacterial and you’ll need an antibiotic for relief.

Chronic

Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, can last for more than 12 weeks even with treatment and is often reoccurring. In order to be diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

There are various causes of chronic sinusitis listed by Mayo Clinic as:

  • Nasal polyps
  • Deviated nasal septum
  • Other medical conditions (such as cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux, or HIV and other immune system-related diseases can result in nasal blockage)
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Allergies
  • Asthma

If you are suffering from either acute or chronic sinusitis, make an appointment at CT Sinus Center to discover the underlying cause and end sinus issues permanently. When you first come in, our expert team will sit down with you to discuss your medical history and sinus symptoms. Your physician may have you undergo the following tests:

  • Nasal endoscopy
  • Imaging studies
  • Nasal/sinus cultures
  • Allergy tests

Once the root of your problem is discovered, we will work with you to find the best solution for your sinus issues. You may eligible for one of our non-invasive, suffering-ending procedures:

  • 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 say “see ya later” to your sinusitis.

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


4 Reasons Your Eyes Water

Eyes waterTears play an important part in eye health — it is their job to nourish and lubricate the eye, keeping it functioning (and feeling) properly. Tears are produced in the lacrimal glands in the upper eyelid and then drain out through tear ducts and into the nose. To see how the tear process works, watch this video from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. However, sometimes things go wrong and you produce extra tears, or the normal amount of tears you do produce doesn’t drain properly, and your eyes water.

What are some of the reasons eyes water?

  1. Weather. If you’ve ever walked outside during a blustery day or even gone for a jog, you know that wind and cold weather can make your eyes water. This is because these elements dry out your eyes and your body creates extra tears to keep them lubricated in order to protect them.
  2. Allergens. The same things that trigger your nasal allergies pollen, mold, dander, dust, smoke — trigger your eye allergies. When you suffer from allergies and your encounter any of these things, your immune system produces histamine, which causes numerous symptoms, including itchy and/or watery eyes.
  3. Infection. Your eyes will also produce more tears when you have an infection as an attempt to wash away the germs. Unfortunately no matter how hard the tear system works, an eye infection requires medical attention and is extremely contagious. Two examples of eye infections are conjunctivitis (pink eye) and blepharitis.
  4. Improperly functioning tear ducts. WebMD explains: “If a tear duct becomes blocked or fails to open, tears cannot drain from the eye properly. The duct may fill with fluid and become swollen, inflamed, and sometimes infected.” Babies under a year old are likely to have blocked tear ducts, but luckily it tends to clear up on it’s own without any long-term effects. For adults, this condition is usually due to injury or a medical condition and needs treatment.

What should you do if your eyes water excessively?

Whenever you have issues with your eyes, it’s best to see a doctor and we have just the right ones. Our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center are trained in all-things allergy-related and will take the time to sit down with you, discuss your symptoms and medical history, and perform a thorough exam in order to determine exactly what is causing your eyes to over-water. Once the results are in, we will develop a treatment plan that is right for you and your lifestyle.

Treatment may include any of the medications listed in our blog “Should You Drop Your Allergy Eye Medications?” or, if it is determined that you have allergies, one of our two outpatient procedures:

  • 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 today to schedule your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices and turn those watery eyes into tears of joy.

And for all things related to sinus conditions, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


How to Handle Hives

HivesSometimes allergic reactions manifest as red, itchy or stinging bumps on top of the skin. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) states that 20 percent of people will experience these hives, or urticaria, at least once in their lives. The condition is easy to spot, but the ACAAI lists some things about hives that you should be aware of:

  • An actual hive usually lasts under 24 hours, but the reaction can last for weeks. This is because as the bumps fade, new ones can take their place.
  • Hives can appear on the skin anywhere.
  • During a reaction, it’s possible that not all hives will be the same shape or in the same area.
  • If you apply pressure to the bumps, they will turn from red to white (blanching).
  • The overall reaction is usually acute (lasting under 6 weeks), however may be chronic (lasting over 6 weeks).

Hives can be caused by a number of different things:  

  • Some food (especially peanuts, eggs, nuts and shellfish)
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Some plants, such as poison oak and poison ivy
  • Medications, such as antibiotics (especially penicillin and sulfa), aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Physical stimuli, such as pressure, cold, heat, exercise or sun exposure
  • Latex
  • Blood transfusions
  • Bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections and strep throat
  • Viral infections, including the common cold, infectious mononucleosis and hepatitis

Fortunately, most cases of hives, while uncomfortable, pose no real health threat. However, chronic hives can be a sign of an immune disorder and can lead to health problems down the road. So if you are experiencing this reaction, you should get checked out. Also, people often incorrectly self-diagnose their condition as hives when it is really angioedema, a swelling under the skin. The symptoms of angioedema are a little different and include:

  • Swelling in the eyes or mouth
  • Swelling of the hands, feet or throat
  • Difficulty breathing, stomach cramps or chemosis (swelling of the lining of the eyes)

With either hives or angioedema, severe reactions need immediate medical attention.

And as we said above, even if you have mild symptoms, you should see an allergist to determine exactly what is causing your reaction — because why suffer if you don’t have to.

With state-of-the art diagnostic practices and tools, such as those used in food allergy testing, the expert physicians at CT Sinus Center will be able to pinpoint your triggers and devise an individual treatment plan. Whether that plan includes medications or avoidance practices, we will make sure that it keeps you safe and comfortable

Call us today at 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices

And for all things sinus– and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Food for Thought: Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance

Food IntolerancePeople often say that they can’t eat certain things because they are allergic to them, but in many cases, what they mean is that they have an intolerance to it. However, it is very important to understand the differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance, because that knowledge can literally save your, or someone else’s, life.

According to WebMD, the two conditions share the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

But that is where the similarities end.

Now let’s take a look at the differences.

This chart from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital breaks them down clearly:

Food Intolerance

What causes food intolerance?

A food intolerance occurs when there is a problem in properly breaking down food in the digestive system. The most common intolerance is to lactose, and there are a few conditions that can provoke an intolerance reaction. Mayo Clinic cites the following triggers:

  • Absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest a food
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Food poisoning
  • Sensitivity to food additives
  • Recurring stress or psychological factors
  • Celiac disease

What causes food allergies?

A food allergy takes place in the immune system and, like seasonal allergies, occurs when your body determines something is harmful and produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) explains, “These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. Each type of IgE has a specific ‘radar’ for each type of allergen.”

According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE):

  • Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies and the number of sufferers is on the rise for no known reason.
  • This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S.
  • The economic cost of children’s food allergies is nearly $25 billion per year.

The following is a list of the most common allergens, with links to their descriptions on the FARE website. The site also discusses some of the less common, but equally as dangerous, food allergy triggers.

If you have a reaction, whether severe or mild, it is extremely important that you see a doctor in order to find out if you have an intolerance or an allergy and what has caused it. Through patient-centered care, our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center will use up-to-date diagnostic knowledge and tools to find out exactly what is triggering your reaction. And once that is determined, they will set up an effective, individualized treatment plan to keep you safe and feeling great.

To make an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices, call 860-BALLOON today. Food is one of the great pleasures of life; you deserve to enjoy it without anxiety.

For more information on food allergies, download the National Institution of Allergies and Infectious Diseases helpful guide for families.   

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


Recognizing Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic shock is a life-threatening allergic reaction that begins with our immune system. It occurs when our bodies release an antibody called Immunoglobulin E in an attempt to fight it off what it recognizes as a potentially dangerous allergen. This antibody triggers specific reactions in the body that translate to the common symptoms of anaphylactic symptoms. Mayo Clinic lists the symptoms as:

  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing or wheezing (due to a swollen tongue or throat)
  • Facial swelling
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Sensation of a lump in your throat
  • Shock

What causes anaphylactic shock?

Knowing what can trigger anaphylaxis is extremely important for you and everyone around you. These include:

  • Dairy (milk, cheese, eggs, etc.)
  • Nuts (including tree nuts)
  • Shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp, etc.)
  • Seeds (sesame, etc.)
  • Stings (bee, wasp, etc.)
  • Medications (penicillin, etc.)

It is also important to mention that, according to Webmd, “exercise can trigger anaphylaxis if the activity occurs after eating allergy-provoking food” and “pollens and other inhaled allergens (allergy-causing substances) rarely cause anaphylaxis.”

How Do I Treat It?

If you or someone you know is experiencing anaphylactic shock, seek medical help immediately. Anyone who knows they have a serious allergy, should always carry epinephrine, usually in the form of an EpiPen. Epinephrine is adrenaline that, when injected through the outer thigh and into the muscle, can reverse anaphylaxis and keep the heart beating. Once the medication is administered, immediate medical care is still necessary.

Doctors are best informed on how to treat such maladies, and if you have had a reaction, even a milder one, it is important to discuss it with them. After that, it’s best to just avoid your allergens altogether if possible.

Because it is possible to develop a life-threatening allergy at any time in your life, it is imperative to understand what to do in a case of anaphylactic shock. Remember, though, that an allergy isn’t the end of the world as long as you educate yourself on the symptoms and take the correct precautionary steps in order keep safe.

For more information on all things sinus and allergy, visit the CT Sinus Center website and take a look at our blog.