Making Sense of Losing Senses

SensesFall is a favorite season for many, especially Connecticut folks, with our senses being stimulated with the classic pumpkin and cinnamon flavors that fill both the air and our stomachs. Sadly, there are some people who don’t have the benefit of smelling and tasting these sweet fall flavors. This loss of two senses can be caused by a number of things, including sinus conditions — none of which are ever any fun.

Allergies and Sinusitis

Whether it’s the fall leaves, the back to school (or work) dust and mold, or even hay fever, fall allergens can be anywhere. Allergies, themselves, can present cold-like symptoms, such as congestion. For more information on fall allergies, check out our previous blog post, “What’s Up with Fall Allergies.” Over time, allergies can turn into a serious case of sinusitis,. which also presents cold-like symptoms when your sinuses (the area around your nasal passages) become swollen, clogged and infected. For more information, see “Sinusitis: Acute vs. Chronic.”

In both conditions, the major pressure and inflammation around your nose and head can seriously affect your sense of smell and taste. But, how does it effect these senses? The olfactory nerves (which allow us to smell) can become blocked by that inflammation. You’ve probably noticed that even with a small cold, your sense of smell is lessened as result of a stuffy nose. When you experience long-term sinusitis or allergies, that sense of smell can be diminished for months, or even longer. The American Rhinologic Society explains: “[T]he chronic inflammation from [sinusitis] can also permanently affect smell by damaging the special cells and nerves of the smell pathway.” Since smell and taste going hand in hand, that means your sense of taste is gone as well.

Nasal Obstruction

The loss of taste and smell can be structural as well. Both nasal polyps and deviated septums can cause a blockage that blocks the “smell nerves,” lessening those senses.


There are a few different temporary methods for treating the loss of these senses. These include:

There are also a series of tests that can pinpoint the exact cause of your congestion, whether it be an allergy test or a sinus examination. Knowing your triggers will help you better prepare for your next reaction.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more permanent solution, let our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center help. We offer two cutting-edge, non-invasive procedures that are done in our office, in about an hour, that will open up the nasal passageways that are blocked and inflamed:

Once your nasal passages are cleared, your sense of smell will begin to come back, and so will your sense of taste, restoring your sense of happiness.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices. After all, the old adage goes: “All’s well that smells well.”

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

Are You Allergic to Fragrance?

FragranceHave you noticed that a certain fragrance can make you sneeze? Maybe it’s the perfume from the woman who shares your cube wall. Maybe it’s that little deodorizing tree hanging in your car. Or perhaps it’s the fancy soap you bought at the neighborhood artisan store.

You may be … or maybe not. The medical field hasn’t fully confirmed that fragrances are indeed allergens, or if they are merely irritants that cause a fragrance sensitivity. Either way, fragrances can cause a number of different symptoms, and if you’ve ever suffered because of a one, you know that it can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are repeatedly exposed to it.

According to Everyday Health, the symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • A tight feeling in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Worsening asthma symptoms
  • Runny and stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watering eyes
  • A skin allergy

These symptoms do sound a lot like the ones brought about by allergies, however, in order to be classified as an allergic reaction, the substance must trigger IgE antibody production. While this sounds like it should be easy to test, WebMD explains that it is difficult to isolate the actual culprit in the fragrance mix that is causing the reaction. Also, sometimes the reaction doesn’t involve antibodies, so the test wouldn’t yield results. The site also explains that according to experts, finding the cause often comes down to trial and error.

What do you do if you think you have a fragrance sensitivity?

The best thing to do, of course, is to avoid using that product. The problem is that fragrances are hard to avoid. WebMD tells us that “According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), some 5,000 different fragrances — and countless other fragrance combinations — are used in products today.” These products include, but are not limited to, soaps, lotions, cosmetics and cleaning products.

Unfortunately though, we don’t always have control over what we are exposed to, especially at work. If you know where it’s coming from, for example your office neighbor’s perfume, you can politely speak to the person about it. Or if the culprit is the office carpet cleaner, explain the head of maintenance and see if anything can be done to help you. Most places will accommodate your needs. Some states have gone as far as implementing legal action regarding fragrances in areas of employment.

Is it worth it to see an allergist for a fragrance sensitivity?

Absolutely. If you have a chance at finding relief for your symptoms, wouldn’t you want to? If you are experiencing reactions to fragrances, schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center to see how we can help. Our expert physicians will sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and your exposure to particular triggers. They will then perform a series of diagnostic tests to see if they can pinpoint the exact cause of your reaction. After they will thoroughly discuss your results and a create an individualized plan for relieving your symptoms.

Stop suffering. Call CT Sinus Center today at  860-BALLOON and see what we can do for you. With four offices conveniently located throughout Connecticut, the sweet smell of relief is just a short drive away.

For more information on sinus and allergy issues, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.