Fall Allergies


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.

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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.


Get Schooled on Back-to-School Allergies

SchoolWith the new school year about to begin, you may be worried about your child’s allergies acting up. Statistically, childhood allergies are not uncommon. The most recent information available from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) cites that “Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school children are currently approaching 40%-50%.” The site then breaks down the different types of allergies and their prevalence:

Fall Allergies

  • In 2012, 9.0% or 6.6 million children reported hay fever in the past 12 months

Food Allergies

  • Findings from a 2009 to 2010 study of 38,480 children (infant to 18) indicated:
    8% have a food allergy

    • Approximately 6% aged 0-2 years
    • About 9% aged 3-5 years
    • Nearly 8% aged 6-10 years
    • Approximately 8% aged 11-13 years
    • More than 8.5% aged 14-18 years
  • 38.7% of food allergic children have a history of severe reactions
  • 30.4% of food allergic children have multiple food allergies
  • Of food allergic children, peanut is the most prevalent allergen, followed by milk and then shellfish

Skin Allergies

  • In 2010, black children in the U.S. were more likely to have had skin allergies (17%) than white (12%) or Asian (10%) children
  • In 2012, 12.0% or 8.8 million children reported skin allergies in the past 12 months

One of the reasons your child is susceptible to allergies in the beginning of the year is that the classrooms have probably been closed up for the entire summer, creating a breeding ground for dust and mold. As we stated in our blog “Fall Allergies and Your Child”:

And while school staff puts in as much effort as possible to keep the building free of dust, mold, and other irritants, sometimes it’s just hard to get it all. This is because with all of the school’s nooks and crannies and the amount of children running around stirring things up, there is only so much anyone can do to keep the building allergy-free.

Luckily when it comes to food allergies, schools have taken many precautions to protect students from being exposed to triggers. Accommodations such as peanut-free lunchrooms and gluten-free options can help keep your child safe. Be sure to make the school aware of your child’s allergies and if they have an EpiPen, keep an extra one with the school nurse. The best bet is to have your young learner bring their own lunch and snacks. For some delicious allergy-free ideas, visit the Kids with Food Allergies Community page for “Allergy-Friendly School Lunch Box Ideas (Video and Resources).”

For parents of children suffering from asthma, including exercise-induced asthma, there are additional concerns about back-to-school. The American Lung Association provides a “Back to School with Asthma Checklist” to help make the transition safer and easier.

As a parent, you know that the most effective way to keep your child healthy is to be pro-active, so if your child does suffer from allergies, make an appointment with the expert physicians at CT Sinus Center to pinpoint the exact cause and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will work for your child and your family. While we unfortunately can’t predict if and when a child will begin to suffer from allergies, we are here to help at any time if you notice that they seem to be showing symptoms.

When allergies hit, call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices and feel confident that you are sending your young learner off with the tools they need to be healthy.

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 Tips Com(piled) for Mold Allergy Season

Mold Allergy SeasonIf you live in New England, fallen leaves are just another fact of life, and so is having to rake them. There are a few people who find raking cathartic, but most find it a bothersome chore. And whether they like it or not, for people with fall allergies, raking leaves can be downright dangerous.

Leave piles are a breeding ground for mold spores, and the spores themselves are extremely airborne, especially during the warm part of the day. Because they are so light, mold spores are easily inhaled. Therefore, just being around mold can trigger an allergic reaction, so you can imagine what raking them and stirring up the pollen can do.

The best way to avoid mold allergy symptoms is simply to stay away from mold — but that is easier said than done. You have to go outside and if you have a yard, you’ll have to rake leaves. And anyway, you don’t want to allow allergies to keep you trapped inside the house on beautiful fall days.

To help you get through leave season as healthy as possible, we have compiled a list of ways to reduce your symptoms as much as possible.

  1. Check the pollen count. Try to do your yardwork on the days that the pollen and mold counts are lower. For up-to-date tree, weed, grass and mold levels in your area, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
  2. Clean your gutters. Leaves can accumulate in the gutters, where if left, will further decay and produce mold.

  3. Wear a mask. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests a NIOSH rated N95 mask for preventing inhalation of pollen and mold spores while working outside.

  4. Keep windows closed and clean air filters. Since they are so light and airborne, it is easy for the mold spores living in the leaves to come in through your windows, air conditioners and air purifiers.

  5. Shower/bathe after raking leaves. After working in the yard, bathe in order to clean off any pollen and spores that are on your skin. Then put on clean clothes and wash the ones you were wearing. Dry them in the drier or inside so because wet clothes hanging on a line will attract allergens.

  6. Take allergy medication. Over-the-counter and prescription medications come in many forms — antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays — and, while temporary fixes, work well when taken correctly. Allergy shots lead to permanent relief, but the process itself takes many years and numerous injections per month.

  7. Visit CT Sinus Center. If you are looking for a permanent solution to your fall mold allergies, especially if you suffer from seasonal allergies year long, we can help. 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 leave your mold allergies behind.

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


The Truth About Fall Allergies

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It’s that time of the year again. The humidity is gone, pumpkin spice everything is available, and the leaves are turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red. You might be enjoying all of the season’s charm if your head wasn’t so stuffy. Unfortunately, you are probably experiencing the following symptoms as well:

  • Runny nose and nasal congestion
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Sinus pressure and facial pain
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under the eyes
  • Decreased sense of smell or taste

Like millions of other people, you are suffering from fall allergies. Yes, fall allergies are a real thing. Contrary to popular belief, allergies are actually year-round, caused by different irritants. In fact, about 75% of people who suffer from spring allergies will also suffer from fall ones.

Ragweed, which can release its pollen through October, is the most common cause of fall allergies. The pollen is an ambitious little material that can travel through the wind for hundreds of miles. What this means is that even if there is no ragweed growing anywhere around you, you can still have a reaction to the pollen.

Mold spores are another common trigger for discomfort. Mold flourishes in damp or wet areas, and while you are aware of susceptible spots in your house, you probably don’t think about the ones outside. Problematic mold can exist in piles of wet leaves or rotting fruits and vegetables, such as those in your garden and in the carved Halloween pumpkin on your front porch.

Another fall allergy trigger is the return to school. Have you noticed that your child seems to be suffering from allergies more now after going back? Is this a coincidence or more in the line of “the dog ate my homework”? Believe it or not, the truth is that your child may actually be allergic to school, and this is something to sneeze at. Chances are that many of the classrooms have been closed up for the entire summer, and without proper ventilation and regular cleaning, mold and dust mites can build to harmful levels — especially in older buildings.  

There is good news, however. Even with fall allergies, you are not condemned to stay in your house all season feeling miserable, nor should you keep your child home from school. There are many over-the-counter medicines that may bring some relief, but if those don’t work, schedule a consultation with us. One of our knowledgeable physicians will take the time to sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and available treatment options, including Balloon Sinus Dilation. a non-invasive procedure that will put a permanent end to your sinus conditions. Balloon Sinus Dilation is available only at CT Sinus Center.

For more information on how CT Sinus Center can offer you permanent relief from allergies year-round, book your appointment by calling (203) 574-5997. Don’t let the charm of the fall season pass you by.