Symptoms


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.

Treatments

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.


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.


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.

-or-

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.


Helping Kids Understand Allergies and Asthma

kidsKids who suffer from allergies and asthma may not fully understand what is going on with their bodies, and that can be scary. They might wonder why it is happening to them and not their friends. On the other hand, they might see that their friend is suffering and not understand why.

As a parent, you want to comfort you child and assuage all their fears. However, finding a way to explain things in terms they’ll understand, especially regarding medical issues, can be difficult. To help you, we’ve compiled a few resources that will help you educate your child on what allergies and asthma are, and how to live happily with them.

  • Just for Kids.” On the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology site, Mr. Nose-It-All invites your child and their friends to learn about allergy and asthma through fun activities such as puzzles, games and coloring. There are plenty of free activities on the site as well as some that you can purchase.
  • Learning About Allergies.” KidsHealth is a fantastic resource for teaching kids and teens about anything health-related. On their allergies page, they answer questions such as: “Why Does My Nose Run,” “Do Allergies Cause Asthma” and “Why Do Some Kids Get Allergies?” They also explain the difference between colds and allergies as well as related medial language (immunotherapy, allergist).
  • The Mysteries of Life:Tim and Moby.” Your kids may be familiar with BrainPop’s favorite boy and robot educational team, Tim and Moby, who star in educational videos about pretty much everything. In this free clip, they are talking about asthma. For a small monthly (or yearly) fee, you can access all of the movies and activities on BrainPop, including ones spotlighting allergies.
  • Resources for Kids.” The Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) offers a program for children called “Be a PAL: Protect A Life™” designed to teach children about food allergies as well as “how to be a good friend to kids with food allergies.” It also introduces a section in which kids can send food allergy questions to “Alexander, the Elephant Who Couldn’t Eat Peanuts” that may be published and answered on the site.

At CT Sinus Center we specialize in treating allergies in both the adult and pediatric populations, and have everything you need to keep your child happy and healthy when allergies hit. When you first come in, our expert team will talk to both you and your child about their medical history and symptoms. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will pinpoint what is causing the problem and develop the right treatment for your child and your entire family. Through all of this, we will be using simple language that will help your child understand what they are going through and make them feel at ease.

We know you hate to see your child suffering, and so do we. Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices to give your child the comfort and .peace of mind you both deserve.

And for all ear, nose and throat issues, visit our sister office Westwood Ear, Nose & Throat.

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.


Medical Allergies: Latex and Penicillin

LatexGoing to the doctor is supposed to make you feel better, but what happens when a trip to the office triggers an allergic reaction? Unfortunately, there are a number of medical supplies that  can do just that. In today’s blog, we are going to take a more in-depth look at two of those triggers: latex and penicillin.

Latex:

Natural latex is made from the sap of the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. When a person has an allergic reaction to latex, it is because of the proteins in the sap. Since this allergy has become so common, natural rubber latex is often replaced with synthetic rubber, especially in gloves. However, the synthetic latex is made up of chemicals, which can trigger a whole other set of allergies.

According to The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI): People who are at higher risk for developing a latex allergy include:

  • Health care workers and others who frequently wear latex gloves
  • People who have had multiple surgeries (for example, 10 or more), such as children with spina bifida
  • People who are often exposed to natural rubber latex, including rubber industry workers
  • People with other allergies, such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or allergy to certain foods

Symptoms include:

For more information and a helpful Latex Allergy Checklist, visit the American Latex Allergy Association site.

Penicillin:

The good news about this allergy is many people who think they have it actually don’t. Instead, they may be experiencing adverse reactions or side effects to the drug, which can be just as serious.

The symptoms of a penicillin allergy are just like those of a latex allergy with the addition of:

  • Fever
  • Itchy Eyes
  • Swelling of the lips,  tongue or face

Unfortunately, people with a penicillin allergy may unknowingly be allergic to other drugs as well. Mayo Clinic explains:

Penicillins belong to a class of antibacterial drugs called beta-lactams. Although the mechanisms of the drugs vary, generally they fight infections by attacking the walls of bacterial cells. In addition to penicillins, other beta-lactams more commonly associated with allergic reactions are a group called cephalosporins.

Penicillins include:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Ampicillin
  • Dicloxacillin
  • Oxacillin
  • Penicillin G
  • Penicillin V
  • Piperacillin
  • Ticarcillin

Cephalosporins include:

  • Cefaclor
  • Cefadroxil
  • Cefazolin
  • Cefdinir
  • Cefotetan
  • Cefprozil
  • Cefuroxime
  • Cephalexin

If you believe that you may be suffering from a latex or penicillin allergy, stop the guesswork and find out for sure. Our expert allergists at CT Sinus Center have the most up-to-date testing methods to determine whether or not you do have an allergy and exactly what it is. Once the diagnosis is in, we will work with you to develop a plan to keep you safe from any follow-up reactions.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices today and be assured that a trip to the doctor will only end in health. Also watch for our blog “Medical Allergies Part 2: Other Medications and Adhesives.”

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


Living with Lactose Intolerance

Lactose IntoleranceLast week in our blog “Am I Allergic to Milk?” we examined the difference between a milk allergy and lactose intolerance. In this blog, we are going to delve further into the latter. Here is what we said about intolerance:

Unlike an allergy, intolerance is a condition that does not involve the immune system and is caused from not having enough of the enzyme used to break down lactose. The discomfort felt from lactose intolerance will not necessarily happen every time the milk-based food or beverage is consumed. Depending on the level of lactose intolerance you have, you may be able to eat small amounts without a reaction, and even a severe reaction is usually not life-threatening.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Gas and bloating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

When you are looking at ingredient labels, remember that lactose often goes by other names such as whey and casein. Nutritionists call these “hidden lactose.” You can find a comprehensive list of hidden lactose products with descriptions on the “Milk Allergy Avoidance List” provided by Kids with Food Allergies.

Unfortunately, while there is no cure for lactose intolerance, there are many ways to live with and avoid the discomfort caused from the condition. The following tips from WebMD can help prevent the common symptoms listed above:

  • Limit the amount milk products in your diet and only have a little at a time with other non-lactose foods
  • Try lactose-free or reduced-lactose products
  • Avoid lactose altogether

If you have a reaction to lactose, it is best to see a doctor in order to pinpoint the exact protein or substance that is causing the issue, as well as to make sure it is an intolerance rather than an allergy. When seeing a specialist you can expect a diagnosis based on:

  • A detailed history of your symptoms
  • A physical exam
  • Elimination diets

In addition to the above diagnosis methods, you may even undergo the following procedures in order to receive more accurate results:

  • Hydrogen Breath Test: Undigested lactose produces high levels of hydrogen gas in your breath. Doctors can diagnose lactose intolerance by measuring this hydrogen after you drink a lactose-loaded beverage.
  • Stool Acidity TestUndigested lactose also increases the amount of acid in the stool. Doctors may use this test to diagnose lactose intolerance in young children.
  • Food Allergy TestingIf your doctor suspects a milk allergy, you may be sent to an allergist for skin testing or have a blood sample drawn for laboratory allergy testing.

Stop living with lactose intolerance. Make an appointment with our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center and put a permanent end to your suffering. When you come in, we’ll sit down and discuss your symptoms before we start a series of diagnostic procedures like those above to figure out whether or not lactose is responsible for your discomfort. Once we get answers, we’ll develop a treatment plan that is right for your specific lifestyle. Today there are so many lactose-free options out there, you won’t even miss it.

No use crying over milk, spilled or otherwise. Call us today at 860-BALLOON and make an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

To learn more about CT Sinus Center, allergies and sinusitis, visit our website and blogs.


Am I Allergic to Milk?

AllergicOften times after drinking a tall glass of milk or eating a bowl of ice cream our bodies experience physical reactions that cause us discomfort. We immediately jump to the conclusion that we are allergic to dairy and worry about what that may mean for our health.

In reality, we probably are not allergic to dairy, or specifically milk, and our health is not in jeopardy. Although we may not feel great, we are likely experiencing intolerance. Intolerance to milk and milk products may be uncomfortable, but they are likely not severe. Actual allergic reactions, on the other hand, can be life-threatening

As it is easy to confuse an allergy with intolerance, it is important to understand the inner workings that separate the two. It is also important to know that when looking at a food’s ingredients, “milk” and “dairy” are not necessarily the same thing.

Allergies caused from cow’s milk range from mild to moderate to severe. The reaction occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies the protein in milk as something harmful. Thus, causing a release of antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) to neutralize the allergy-causing food or substance.

Mayo Clinic lists the symptoms of a milk allergy as:

  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting
  • Signs and symptoms that may take more time to develop include:
  • Loose stools, which may contain blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy skin rash, often around the mouth
  • Colic, in babies

According to Mayo Clinic, milk allergies are amongst the most common of food allergies. They differ from person to person and usually occur a few minutes to a few hours after consumption. If you are allergic, you should avoid milk completely. Luckily, however, many kids outgrow a milk allergy.

Intolerance to milk, on the other hand, is a condition that does not involve the immune system and is caused from not having enough of the enzyme used to break down lactose. The discomfort felt from lactose intolerance will not necessarily happen every time the milk-based food or beverage is consumed. Depending on the level of lactose intolerance you have, you may be able to eat small amounts without a reaction, and even a severe reaction is usually not life-threatening.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Gas and bloating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

If you experience discomfort brought on by milk or other dairy products it is important that you see a doctor in order to find out if you have intolerance or an allergy so you can start feeling better. 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. 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.

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


7 More Strange and Unusual Allergies

unusual Pollen, dust, mold, pet dander and food. These are the things we usually talk about when discussing allergies. But our immune systems are complicated, and we never really know what might cause it to attack. Even the most unexpected and unusual things can be responsible for causing an allergic reaction. 

In “5 Unusual Things That Can Trigger Your Allergies” on our sister site Westwood Ear, Nose & Throat, we discussed the following strange allergy triggers:

  • Leather shoes
  • Water
  • Exercise
  • Nickel
  • Temperature

For this blog, we are going to look at seven more unusual things that can trigger allergy symptoms when you least expect it.

1. Soil. We know all about pollen allergies, but sometimes the soil is the root of the problem. Mold, mildew and fungus can all cause an allergic reaction, so if you find it growing on or around your plants, you’ll want to take care of it as soon as possible. For tips on how to identify and control it, visit the Farmer’s Almanac section on White Mold.

2. Raw produce. As a child, you may have tried to tell your parents that you were allergic to vegetables, and the truth is: You may be. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) explains:

Oral allergy syndrome, also known as pollen-food syndrome, is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables or some tree nuts. The immune system recognizes the pollen and similar proteins in the food and directs an allergic response to it.

The common triggers for this unusual allergen are:

  • Birch pollen: apple, almond, carrot, celery, cherry, hazelnut, kiwi, peach, pear, plum
  • Grass pollen: celery, melons, oranges, peaches, tomato
  • Ragweed pollen: banana, cucumber, melons, sunflower seeds, zucchini

That said, the ACAAI also explains that the onset occurs out of the blue after the person has eaten these foods without problem. In addition, cooking the food distorts the proteins, and usually doesn’t cause any problems at all. So will that be one serving or two?

3. Lanolin. This is a wax-like substance that is derived from sheep. You can find it in many beauty products, pharmaceutical preparations and industrial uses. In a few other blogs, we discussed how beauty products can trigger allergy symptoms, so this should come as no surprise. However, lanolin is also present in wool clothing and blankets as well, so it is possible for them to cause reactions, which is something to definitely be aware of.

4. Antiquing. Flea markets and antique shops are full of beauty, culture and history. They are also full of mold, dust and even pet dander that accumulates as the item sits on the sales floor (and wherever they were prior to that). Make sure that after you buy that perfect, unique piece you give it a thorough cleaning before you bring it in the house.

5. Chamomile tea. For centuries, people have used this herbal tea to soothe the stomach and the nerves. However, for some, especially those with a ragweed allergy, this natural remedy can trigger an unnatural reaction. The symptoms of the unusual chamomile allergy are similar to those of seasonal allergies, and if severe enough, can result in anaphylactic shock.

6. Red meat. Vegetarians may rejoice at this fact, but for us carnivores, this is not great news. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to any type of meat, and the reactions are not unlike those of other food allergies:

  • Hives or skin rash
  • Nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Stuffy/runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Asthma
  • Anaphylaxis

In recent years, scientists have discovered that being bitten by the Lone Star tick can cause a person to develop red meat allergies. The ACAAI explains that it is related to a carbohydrate called alpha-gal and can take several hours to present. This is just one more reason to check for ticks after you and/or your furry family members spend time outside.

7. Touch. Dermatographia, otherwise known as skin writing, is an allergic reaction that occurs when the skin is lightly scratched or rubbed. According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms appear about 30 minutes after the contact and disappear just as quickly. They include:

  • Raised red lines
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Hive-like welts
  • Itching

If you think you are suffering from allergies, either any of these unusual ones or the more common types, contact CT Sinus Center at 860-BALLOON and schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians. With our four conveniently-located locations, relief is right in your backyard.

To learn more about CT Sinus Center, allergies and sinusitis, visit our website and blogs.