Triggers


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.


The Different Type of Tissues

tissuesWhen allergies hit, tissues are essential, and in the heat of the moment, you usually reach for whatever is closest to you. However, if you’ve ever shopped for tissues (and most of us have), you may have been overwhelmed by how many kinds are available. Of course, having options is great, but which type is the best?

Like most things, it depends on what you’re looking for.

Tissues are identified by their strength, which is measured by how many layers it has. So tissue that is 1-, 2- or 3-ply has 1, 2 or 3 layers, respectively. As you would imagine, the more layers, the stronger, and more absorbent, the piece is. And if you’ve ever used a tissue, which we’re sure you have, then you know that you don’t want one that falls apart in your hands.

Some types of tissues have the following natural additives to help sooth your irritated nose:

  • Lotion: moisturizes the skin around your nose
  • Aloe vera: has antibacterial properties to help fight infection in your chaffed skin
  • Vitamin E: is an antioxidant that helps protect and heal skin
  • Menthol: cools and helps clear your nasal passages

Unfortunately, some types of tissues also contain surfactants and chemicals, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, chlorine, and isopropyl palmitate, that are used in the softening and bleaching processes. (If you’re interested in how tissues are made, watch this Science Channel segment “How It’s Made Tissues.”)  For some people, these elements can trigger contact dermatitis, and some brands use these more than others, so you should always check the ingredients on the tissue box.

However, if you are ready to leave the tissues behind, or at least those you use for allergy attacks, schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center to see how we can help. When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about when and where you mostly experience allergy symptoms. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will pinpoint what is causing your nasal issues 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 discomfort 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 cross facial tissues off your shopping list this allergy season.

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


Can I Be Allergic to My Allergy Medicine?

Allergy MedicineWhen allergy season hits, you’re likely to reach for some allergy medicine that will relieve your symptoms. Whether that be a prescription or an over-the-counter remedy, all of these treatments can not only make a serious dent in your budget, but they also come with the risk of side effects, including drug interactions. One of the greatest risks of allergy medicine is the possibility of an allergic reaction as severe as anaphylactic shock.

According the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI):

[I]f you have an allergy to a particular medication, your immune system identifies that drug as an invader or allergen. Your immune system may react to medications in several ways. One type of immune reaction is due to production of antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) specific to the drug. These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, triggering an immediate allergic reaction. This reaction causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin and usually occurs within minutes to a few hours of taking the drug.

The most common immune response to a drug is due to the expansion of T cells, a type of white blood cell that recognize the drug as foreign. These T cells orchestrate a delayed immune response that most often affects the skin, causing itchy rashes, and occurs days to weeks after exposure to the drug.

Most allergic reactions occur within hours to two weeks after taking the medication and most people react to medications to which they have been exposed in the past. This process is called “sensitization.” However, rashes may develop up to six weeks after starting certain types of medications.

While an allergic reaction to allergy medicine is rare, Drugs.com states that the following drugs have been know to trigger attacks in some people:

  • Pseudoephedrine (sympathomimetic) used in decongestants
  • Chlorpheniramine (an antihistamine) contains both active and inactive ingredients that can be triggers
  • Prednisone, (steroid) an anti-inflammatory or an immunosuppressant
  • Ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
  • Acetaminophen, analgesic and an antipyretic (used to prevent or relieve fever)

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, as any medication can cause a reaction in certain people. So if you don’t want to take the chance and are looking for a safer and more permanent way to put an end to your allergy symptoms, schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center today. When you come into one of our four conveniently-located offices, our expert staff will sit down with you to discuss your symptoms and medical history and perform a thorough exam in order to determine exactly what is triggering your reaction. Once the results are in, we we’ll develop a treatment plan that is right for you and your lifestyle. You may even be eligible for one of our in-house procedures that will help relieve sinus pressure and pain:

  • 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 us today at 860-BALLOON and say goodbye to your symptoms and the mounting allergies bills and risks.

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