Summer


Camping with Allergies and Asthma

CampingThe perfect spot for camping is different for different people. It can be out in the wilderness, at a campground, in a RV, in a cabin, or at a fancy hotel. Okay, staying in a fancy hotel isn’t really considered camping, but for some of us, that’s as close as we’ll get. For others of us who enjoy roughing it, camping can be an ideal vacation, but it can also pose issues for allergy and asthma sufferers. So if you are packing up for an outdoor getaway, but are worried about symptoms flaring up, read on for the ways to make sure you and your campsite mates get the rest and relaxation you deserve.

First and foremost, it’s important to be aware of the allergens that you may encounter when staying in your open-air accommodations. Not surprisingly, they are the same triggers that you come across in your daily life:

If you’ll be traveling with children who suffer from allergy or asthma, remind them of the importance of being prepared on camping trips. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) has created an interactive game and key that will help identify what triggers to look for.

So what can you do to keep allergies at bay and stay a healthy and happy camper?

  1. Check your scripts. Make sure you won’t run out of your allergy medication while you are away. Your doctor may even be able to prescribe a higher dosage or suggest an additional treatment for the short period you will be highly exposed. Don’t forget to pack them.
  2. Check the pollen count for the place you’ll be setting up camp. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare when you’re packing.
  3. Buy a hypoallergenic tent with good flaps to keep the allergens out. You can also buy hypoallergenic sleeping bags.
  4. Create an allergy-free menu. Pinterest offers great recipes from gluten-free corn dogs to nut-free trail mix. And what fun is a campfire without s’mores?
  5. Have a in-case-of-emergency plan. It’s always smart to bring a first-aid kid when you travel, especially when you are camping. Also be sure that everyone on the trip is aware of the allergy issue and knows how to react accordingly, whether that be with an antihistamine, an EpiPen, and/or a call to 911. In the article “Camping with Food Allergies? Follow This Advice for Maximum Fun, Safety,” the author states the importance of researching cell phone reception and knowing where to find the closest emergency center just in case.

If you want to take a permanent vacation from your allergies, call CT Sinus Center at 860-BALLOON to make an appointment. When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about which allergy symptoms you are experiencing. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will pinpoint what is causing your suffering and develop the right treatment for your lifestyle. With our four conveniently-located locations, traveling to an office won’t be much of a hike.

Make scary (allergy) stories something you tell over the fire, not something you experience.

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


Don’t Let Mold Ruin Your Summer

MoldWhen asked about how they are feeling in the hot weather, people will often say, “It’s not the heat that bothers me, it’s the humidity.” This is because high humidity inhibits a person’s ability to sweat, consequently keeping the body from doing that thing that cools it down. But for mold allergy suffers, there are additional concerns that arise during hot, humid weather because those conditions create a breeding ground for mold spores, especially in the home.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), there are “roughly 1,000 species of mold in the United States — many of which aren’t visible to the naked eye.” WebMD also states that an estimated 5% of Americans suffer from mold allergies.

How do you know if you have a mold allergy? Here is a list of symptoms from the ACAAI, which as you can see, are very similar to those of pollen allergies:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Irritated eyes
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy throat
  • Inducing or worsening asthma

Now while you can’t do much about humidity, you can take precautions against exposure to mold for yourself and your home. Mayo Clinic offers the following tips for keeping you and your family safe:

  • Stay indoors when the weather is especially damp or when the mold count is high.
  • Close windows at night because there are greater amounts of airborne mold spores during the cooler and damper part of the day.
  • Clean garbage cans and refrigerators often.
  • Wear a mask when cleaning moldy areas (bleach works well for cleaning mold) or if you are working outside in damp conditions.
  • Make sure that all bathrooms with showers or bathtubs are properly ventilated.
  • Don’t put carpet in rooms where mold can easily grow, such as bathrooms and basements.
  • Use a dehumidifier, but make sure to clean it regularly.
  • Turn on your air conditioning, especially one with a HEPA filter, and clean it regularly.
  • Have your furnace cleaned regularly.
  • Don’t leave paper items like books in damp places.

For an interactive tour of the areas of your home that can house mold, visit the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Mold House Tour.

If you think that you may be suffering from mold allergies, schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center to find out for sure. Our expert physicians will take the time to sit down with you and discuss your symptoms before using up-to-date diagnostic techniques to see what is causing your suffering. Once they have determined what it is, they will create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs. That plan may include antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroids, Montelukast or allergy shots. Or you may be eligible for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will provide permanent relief from your suffering:

  • 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

If you are ready to make your mold allergy old news, call us today at 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

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


5 Things to Know About Allergies at the Beach

BeachSummer is here and for many of us, that means packing up the car and heading to the beach. The trip is an especially nice break for seasonal allergy sufferers because due to the breeze coming off the water, and lack of trees and grasses, pollen counts at the shore are much lower than they are inland.

Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that there are no pesky allergy triggers lurking at the beach, and in this blog, we are going to look at some not-so-common irritants that you should be aware when you and your family hit the sand.

  1. Sun. We all know about the dangers of burning and melanoma, but did you know that people can also be allergic to the sun? We’re not talking about sunscreen, although that can trigger an allergic reaction as well; we mean the actual sun. Certain medical conditions and medications can make people extra sensitive to the sun, but others actually experience allergic reactions, even if exposed for a short time. These reactions are due to cholinergic or solar urticaria:
    • Cholinergic Urticaria, also known as heat rash, manifests as chronic hives caused by an increase in body heat. This temperature change can be due to many things, including warm weather and hot sun. For resources on the condition, visit CholinergicUrticaria.net.
    • Solar Urticaria occurs with direct exposure from the sun and manifests as a itching, redness and hives. Verywell.com explains, “[I]t appears that people with solar urticaria make allergic antibodies against various proteins found in their own skin. These proteins’ structure changes with sunlight, allowing the allergic reaction to occur.” If the reaction is severe enough, solar urticaria can lead to anaphylactic shock.
  2. Mold. This well-known allergen thrives in dampness and humidity, and these conditions are thriving in coastal and beach areas, both indoors and out.
  3. Dust mites. Where there is warmth and humidity, there are also dust mites. In fact, dust mites peak during the summer months both in coastal and inland areas (along with all the seasonal insects that can trigger allergic reactions).
  4. Water. H2O, itself, presents no danger to allergy sufferers, but we can’t say the same for some of the things in it.
    • According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people are not actually allergic to chlorine, but it does function as an irritant and can cause skin redness, itchiness, inflammation and hives. It can also cause respiratory symptoms in people with asthma and allergic rhinitis.
    • Mayo Clinic describes swimmer’s itch as “an allergic reaction to microscopic parasites that burrow into your skin. The parasites associated with swimmer’s itch normally live in waterfowl and some animals that live near the water.” The red or purple bumps are annoying, but harmless, and don’t last long. They can, however, take days to develop.
  5. BBQs. Of course you should always be sensitive to people’s food allergies, but you’ll also want to consider how you are cooking that food. Grill fires built with wood such as mesquite, oak, cedar and hickory contain allergens that may affect people with sensitive tree allergies. Verywell.com cautions, “[I]t is possible to be allergic to the smoke, and to any food barbecued with the smoke.”

Summertime should be all about living easy and taking advantage of the warm weather. With an understanding of the risks associated with the season, you will be able to make sure you and your family enjoy safe and healthy fun in the sun!

For information on all things sinusitis and allergy, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.