Category: Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies attack at certain times of the year, commonly Spring or Fall. Learn about the signs and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms at the CT Sinus Center blog.


Having Sinus Issues in Waterbury? — CT Sinus Center

sinus issues

Many people think that sinus issues really only happen in the spring and summer when flowers are blooming and pollen is everywhere. So when their sinus suffering ramps up in the colder seasons, they have no idea what’s going on. This can make that freezing, snowy Waterbury winter really miserable.

The sad truth is: Sinus issues are a year-round problem, which means so are 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

What causes sinus symptoms in the winter?

Sinusitis occurs when the area around nasal passages, or sinuses, becomes swollen. The inflammation can result from a number of things: a common cold, winter allergies, dry nasal passages. All of these conditions lead to an increase of mucus that, when paired with the body’s inability to drain because of inflammation, can lead to sinus problems, including infection.

How can I end my winter sinus issues?

You can take steps to keeping your sinus suffering at bay including:

  • Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air
  • Using a saline nose spray to keep your nasal passages moisturized
  • Changing air filters regularly in humidifiers and air purifiers
  • Keeping your home free of dust and mold
  • Staying hydrated

The good news is that these remedies do help. The bad news is that it is only to an extent and temporarily. If you are looking for a more permanent solution to your suffering CT Sinus Center can help you.

We offer a non-invasive, in-office procedure called balloon sinus dilation that can end your sinus suffering forever. The great news is that if you are experiencing the following chronic symptoms, you may be an ideal candidate for the procedure:

  • Chronic sinus headaches
  • Regular facial and sinus pain
  • Repeat sinus infections that don’t seem to respond to medication
  • Regular dizziness and disorientation as a result of sinus pressure

Waterbury residents: Stop suffering! Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center, located at 60 Westwood Avenue, Suite 104, Waterbury. Permanent relief is just minutes away from your front door.

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


Allergy Congestion: Brain Fog

Brain FogEveryone knows what it’s like to be congested; whether it’s from a bad cold, sickness or allergies. Either way, it does not feel great. What else doesn’t feel great? Brain Fog. For a while now, many people have been trying to explain this phenomenon that causes them to view everything so blurry while they’re suffering from their untreated allergies or illnesses. While many thought it was an unexplainable myth, it turns out there’s more evidence to prove it true. “It’s in your head but it’s not in your head” is how Mind Body Green (MBG) it. Let’s take a further look at the effects Brain Fog has on your everyday life.

What is Brain Fog and how do allergies cause it?

Brain Fog occurs when the brain becomes fatigued and as a result, you become confused — “fuzzy” — and have decreased focus and mental activity. In this blog, let’s focus on how allergies contribute to the condition. Here are some common symptoms those with Brain Fog experience:

  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Forgetfulness and trouble remembering information
  • Trouble sleeping through the night

It’s extremely important to pay attention to the symptoms and see if any pertain to you. Brain Fog is not something that can be tested for or that will show up in any X-ray or scan, so it will be up to you to determine whether or not you are experiencing it. The awareness isn’t as difficult as it sounds — no one knows your body better than you do.

How is Brain Fog treated?

For a while now, doctors have been debating what the causes of Brain Fog are, how to treat it, and if it’s even a real thing. The answers are becoming clearer now.

Research has shown that children who have not treated their allergies are performing worse in school compared to those who have treated their allergies. Why? These untreated allergies can lead to lack of sleep and therefore, lead to increased fatigue and lack of concentration in class. These results can be applied to adults as well. Another factor is in our cytokines, molecules that regulate the immune system, that help fight infections in our bodies and affect how we think, function, and perform. These cytokines are released when inflammation occurs and cause the fuzziness and fog our brains feel.

So, if you think untreated allergies are no big deal, think again. And if you are not sure if you actually have allergies, there are non-invasive allergy tests that will tell you for sure. After all, no one wants to see the world through a big fuzz.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices and find out how we can help you permanently come out of the fog.

For additional information on sinus-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.

Common Types of Ticks Found in the US

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 additional information on sinus-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

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

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.

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


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.

Accommodations for Food Allergies

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.


Are Natural Remedies Effective for Allergies?

Natural remediesThere are a ton of different pharmaceuticals, prescription and over-the-counter, on the market for treating seasonal allergies. However, many people are looking for a natural path in preventing and lessening allergy symptoms. This search can be for a number of reasons, including cost and side effects. But for those of us who have grown up with drugstore treatments, we may find ourselves asking: Do natural remedies really work?

According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP):

From a naturopathic viewpoint, allergies are often associated with weak adrenal, immune, and digestive functions. Natural treatments are used to support and improve those functions and to alleviate hay fever symptoms. For seasonal allergies, beginning natural treatments 1–2 months before the season starts can help reduce the severity of symptoms. Good health can help ease allergy symptoms, and good health starts with nutrition.

But what would medical doctors and allergists say?

WebMD quotes Mary Hardy, MD, director of integrative medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles: “Using nature-based products can be a very useful way to handle mild allergies and a useful adjunct for more significant allergies, and there are many types of treatments you can safely try.” In fact, in a section called “Natural Allergy Remedies,” WebMD examines each of the following natural allergy treatments, their use and their effectiveness:

We’ve also examined a few natural remedies in our own blogs:

The general consensus seems to be that some of the natural remedies listed above do help some people some of the time. People also recommend vitamins for allergy symptoms, but there have yet to be any conclusive scientific results regarding their specific impact on sinus issues. In addition, doctors caution that some supplements may trigger allergic reactions themselves, so you should always research and consult your doctor before using them.

That said, we do know the risks for the most common types of allergy medications, and those aren’t ideal either:

  • Antihistamines: dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, restlessness or moodiness, blurred vision, confusion, possible risks with long-term use, and negative interactions with specific medications.
  • Decongestants: dizziness, anxiety, nausea, headaches, increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, nosebleeds, throat irritation and increased tolerance.

On top of all of these risks and costs, both allergy medication and natural remedies are only temporary solutions. So if you are looking for a more permanent end to your allergy suffering, 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 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 start breathing freely, like nature intended.

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


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.

Allergens You Might Run into While Camping

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.

How to Alleviate Outdoor Allergies

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.


The Comings and Goings of Allergies

AllergiesAllergies are one of the great wonders of the world, as in: We wonder where they come from, when they are going to develop and if we are going to grow out of them. One thing we do know is what an allergy is. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) explains:

If you have an allergy, your immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless substance as an invader. This substance is called an allergen. The immune system overreacts to the allergen by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies travel to cells that release histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.

The actual way people react to these allergens can vary depending on the person. In fact, the allergies can vary within the person. For example, the intensity and presentation of your allergies can be different from season to season, although it’s difficult to tell if this is due to environmental or biological factors. In addition, you may react differently from allergens. For example, you may react to one type of pollen, but not another, or even one dog and not another.

Why is There So Much Variation?

Again, why this happens no one knows. To add to the mystery, in the article “Outgrowing Allergies” on the Everyday Health website, Clifford W. Bassett, MD, a clinical instructor in the division of infectious diseases and immunology at the New York University School of Medicine tells us: “In general, as kids get older they can grow out of allergies. But there’s a whole world where, for millions of people, that’s not the case. Some people even grow into allergies.”

Research has shown that most children will not grow out of seasonal allergies, however, food allergies are a different story. “Outgrowing Allergies” explains:

Until recently, most allergists thought that children with milk allergies would outgrow them by age 3 or 4. But a recent study by doctors at Johns Hopkins University showed that the majority of kids won’t outgrow milk allergies until much later, possibly as late as age 16.

Allergies to soy, eggs, and wheat will often be outgrown by the time the child is a teenager. However, if children are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts such as walnuts, pecans, and almonds, there is a good chance — about 80 percent for peanuts and 90 percent for tree nuts — that they will remain allergic as adults.

Some research has suggested that this coming and going of allergies occurs because every seven years, the cells in your body replace themselves, basically giving you a brand new system that reacts differently to allergens. However, this is only partly true. Your cells do die and replace themselves, but each type of cell has its own lifespan and with trillions of cells in your body doing their own thing, there is no set schedule.

What if New Allergies Suddenly Appear?

So if you find yourself suddenly suffering from allergies or are waiting for that seven-year mark when they disappear forever, it’s time to be proactive. Whether it’s food, pets, or nature causing your symptoms, the expert staff at CT Sinus Center can help end them forever.

Call 860-BALLOON today and schedule your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices for allergy testing and an individualized treatment plan that will make you wonder why you haven’t visited our office sooner..

For more information on allergies and sinusitis, visit the CT Sinus website and blog.


What’s Causing Your Spring Allergies?

19727500 - adorable little girl laughing in a meadow - happy girl

Spring allergies: We all know that they exist and what their symptoms are, but do we all know exactly what causes them? In previous blogs, we’ve talked about pollen, mold and dust, whereas in this blog, we are going to get more specific about which types of pollen could be causing your discomfort. Because when it comes to allergy triggers, it’s not always true that “a rose is a rose is a rose.”

What are the common spring allergy triggers?

In general, the three types of pollen are tree, grass and weed — all of which are difficult to escape because these natural elements are everywhere. What’s worse is that pollen can travel for long distances, so even if there aren’t any of these specific plants near you, you can still be affected.

WebMD presents the following lists of spring allergy triggers:

Trees:

Alder Ash
Aspen Beech
Box elder Cedar
Cottonwood Cypress
Elm Hickory
Juniper Maple
Mulberry Oak
Olive Palm
Pine Poplar
Sycamore Willow

Grasses and weeds:

Bermuda
Fescue
Johnson
June
Orchard
Perennial rye
Redtop
Saltgrass
Sweet vernal
Timothy

How to Combat Spring Allergies

In our blog: “Don’t Let Allergies Keep You Prisoner in Your Own Home,” we share the following tips from the ACAAI on dealing with your seasonal allergy symptoms:

  • Monitor pollen and mold counts.
  • Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car.
  • Stay inside midday and during the afternoon, when pollen counts are highest.
  • Take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.
  • Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing other chores outdoors.

Of course you can also stock up on allergy medications and spring clean every weekend. Or, you can make an appointment with one of our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center and put a permanent end to your allergy suffering. When you come in, we’ll sit down and discuss your symptoms before we start a series of diagnostic procedures to figure out exactly what is triggering your allergies. Once we get answers, we’ll develop a treatment plan that is right for your specific 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

Stop letting nature get in the way of your enjoyment of well, nature. Call us today at 860-BALLOON, and get that spring back in your step. With four conveniently-located offices, help is just around the corner.

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


Allergies: The Hidden Risks of Festivals

Allergies: The Hidden Risks of FestivalsThe time has come to celebrate music (of any genre), food, flowers, fashion, time periods or anything else you are passionate about: It’s festival season. However, before you pack your bag and head out for the festivities, there are a few things to keep in mind if you suffer from allergies.

Common Allergy Triggers Found at Festivals

Nature

Most festivals are held in the great outdoors. This means that as a festival-goers, you can expect to be surrounded not only by an abundance of new friends, but also countless (and familiar) allergy triggers, such as pollen,  mold and even sun and heat. Since you will be outdoors much of the time, your exposure to these triggers will be prolonged, so be sure to take the proper precautions (whether that means taking medication, applying bug repellant, wearing sunscreen  and/or limiting outside time as much as possible).

Food

What fun is a festival without delicious food! However, whether you are purchasing your meals from a food truck or a concession stand, it’s very difficult to know what ingredients are being used. This is especially true because the food at festivals tends to be as creative as the participants surrounding it, which can be very dangerous if you have any food allergies or intolerances. If this is an issue, make sure to ask vendors for the list of ingredients in what you want to order; they are probably asked this all the time and will not hesitate to tell you. Remember that a  festival is not the time to become an adventurous eater because if you do, you may spend the rest of the festival indisposed, and no one wants that. You may even be able to bring your own food if the festival allows, which can be life- and money-saving.

Body Decorating

This may be a strange thing to see on a list talking about allergies, but it’s here because it’s not something people of think about. Over the years, face painting and fake tattoos have become a staple of the festival scene, for children and adults, but they have also been known to cause a  reaction, most often on the skin.  Another popular festival adornment that can cause a reaction is henna. Heather from Henna by Heather explains:

The number one thing to watch out for is people using what they may call “black henna” that actually isn’t henna at all, but is instead paraphenylenediamine aka PPD for short. It is a highly concentrated industrial dye that is also used in many commercial hair dyes. It is not intended to be used on skin, and can give serious chemical burns and leave scars.

Real, natural henna, on the other hand, typically only contains natural ingredients. My professional mix includes the leaves of the henna plant, lemon juice, and cajeput essential oil. We keep a list of all the ingredients prominently posted in our booth and are always happy to answer questions.

Professionals will be able to quickly and easily list the ingredients in their mix, which should all be plant-based and all natural. If in doubt, ask for a tiny test spot. If that spot is light orange the first day, chances are that it is indeed natural henna. If it’s dark brown or, worse, black, right away, steer clear.

With all these things in mind, you can kick off the 2017 festival season right and celebrate without too much allergy suffering until it’s time for fall festival season to begin.  If you want to be proactive, make an appointment at CT Sinus Center by calling 860-BALLOON for a diagnosis of what’s causing your symptoms and a permanent solution to end them.

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