Fall


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.


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.


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.


Is the Flu Shot for You?

Flu shotAs much as you may not want summer to be coming to an end, there are signs everywhere indicating that it is. One of those signs is the one standing in front of your pharmacy announcing that the flu shot is now available.

The seasonal flu, or influenza, is a respiratory viral infection and is not the same as the common cold. The flu season usually begins around October, peaks around January or February, and can last through the spring.

There are three types of flu virus: A, B and C. Usually types A or B cause epidemics, with type A bringing more severe symptoms. According to WebMD:

  • 5% to 20% of the U.S. population will get the flu, on average, each year.
  • 200,000 (approx.) Americans are hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness.
  • 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.
  • $10 billion+ is the average cost of hospitalizations and outpatient doctor visits related to the flu.

The flu shot (vaccine) is designed to help prevent you from getting the flu and passing it on to others. In the case that the influenza does get to you, having gotten the shot helps to diminish the severity of your illness. Like other vaccines, the flu shot must be given before the virus strikes so that your body can build up an immunity to it. Unlike with other vaccines, you should get the flu shot every year because the flu virus mutates from season to season, and in order to be protected, you need the most up-to-date formula.

It is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months gets a flu shot, especially children, people over 50 and people with certain chronic health conditions. There are, however, a few scenarios in which people should not be vaccinated or should take precautions when doing so. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides detailed information on who should or should not get the flu shot.

If you are still unsure about whether or not you should get the vaccine this year, check out these statistics also provided by the CDC:

  • A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010–2012.
  • Another study published in the summer of 2016 showed that people 50 years and older who got a flu vaccine reduced their risk of getting hospitalized from flu by 57%.
  • Flu vaccination also has been shown to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes (79%) and chronic lung disease (52%).
  • Vaccination helps protect women during pregnancy and their babies for up to 6 months after they are born. One study showed that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women was 92%
    effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu.

Have you made your decision?

Everyone here at CT Sinus Center hopes you make it through the flu season happy and healthy. And for all of your allergy and sinus needs, call us at 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

(For more information on allergy– and sinus-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.