While swimmer’s ear may sound akin to having a lucky rabbit’s foot, the opposite is actually true. This painful condition, also known as acute otitis externa, causes infection and inflammation of the outer ear. As you may be able to guess from the name alone, this ear infection is often the result of too much water getting into the ears, whether you are an avid swimmer or you just drenched yourself in a hot shower for too long. Of course, there are other reasons why you may be prone to these infections.
Sure, this infection tends to be more common in children and teens, but if you happen to clean your ears regularly with cotton swabs, if you end up damaging or cutting the skin of the ear canal or if you’ve been diagnosed with eczema of the ear canal, then you too could be at risk for developing this type of ear infection.
Once the water is trapped inside the ear canal, it leaves the ear susceptible to bacteria and infection. If you have swimmer’s ear, you most likely know it because the inflammation causes pain. Since it is indeed an infection, it’s important that you turn to your otolaryngologist for proper medical attention. Not only will the treatment help eliminate your pain and discomfort but it will also stop the infection from spreading.
Besides pain, you may also notice that your ear feels as if there's fluid in it, which may also be drained. Since swimmer’s ear is an infection, you may also notice that the lymph nodes around the neck and ears are swollen. Some patients even report minor hearing loss. Of course, a young child can’t often describe their symptoms, but you may notice your little one tugging at their ear, unable to sleep, or more irritable and cranky. If you notice these symptoms then it’s time to take your child to the ENT doctor.
What can happen if swimmer’s ear isn’t treated properly? You may experience chronic or recurring infections. You may find that even if the condition clears up that your hearing loss has not fully returned. There may even be damage to the bones and cranial nerves.
When you come in to see your ENT specialist, they will most likely prescribe eardrops to treat the infection. They may also clean out the infected ear canal. These eardrops will serve to kill the bacteria and reduce pain and inflammation. Make sure to follow the instructions for your medication and continue to use it even once your symptoms have gone away, or according to what your physician has prescribed. This will ensure that all the bacteria are destroyed and that you won’t develop another infection.
Protect the health of your ears. If you think you may have swimmer’s ear, or if you are experiencing any kind of ear pain, it’s a good idea to play it safe and visit an ear, nose and throat specialist right away for care.
Have coughing spells become a normal part of your day? Living with constant coughing can leave you feeling tired and dizzy. Determining the cause is an important step that will help your ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor find a treatment that will stop your chronic coughing.
What causes chronic coughing?
Chronic coughing can be caused by a variety of factors and illnesses, including:
- Illnesses and Infections: Coughing is common if you have the flu, a cold, bronchitis, pneumonia or other infections. It can continue to occur for weeks after you first become sick, even though you've begun to feel better.
- Postnasal Drip: Postnasal drip occurs when mucus from your nose drips down into your throat. The mucus irritates the lining of the throat, causing you a chronic cough.
- Smoking: Chronic coughing is common in smokers. It can also be a problem if you don't smoke, but are frequently exposed to cigarettes or cigar smoke.
- COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) causes chronic inflammation in your bronchial tubes, which triggers coughing.
- Asthma: Coughing is common when your asthma isn't under control. Exposure to strong odors, chemicals, cold air or other triggers can cause coughing.
- ACE Inhibitors: These drugs treat heart failure and lower blood pressure. Some people develop chronic coughs when taking them.
- GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when acids from your stomach flow back into your esophagus and throat, resulting in irritation that triggers coughing.
- Exposure to Pollution and Chemicals: If you live in a polluted area or work with chemicals, toxins or irritants, you may be more likely to develop a chronic cough.
- Lung Cancer: Although most cases of chronic coughing aren't due to cancer, tumors can cause coughing.
When should you see an ENT?
If your cough doesn't get better after two or three weeks, it's a good idea to call your ear, nose and throat doctor. Other symptoms that warrant a call include:
- Fever higher than 100F
- Coughing up blood or yellow or green phlegm
- Difficulty breathing
- Night sweats
- Extreme fatigue
Chronic coughing can put your health at risk. If you or your family members experience frequent bouts of coughing, make an appointment with your ENT.
You may have allergies that show up in the spring when plants are flowering and grass is growing. You’ve grown used to the itchy, allergies watery eyes and sneezing. But now, you have allergies in winter too, when you’re indoors because of bad weather. Your ENT specialists want you to know that allergies aren’t just seasonal. They can affect you all year long.
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is common during the spring and summer months and is caused by an allergic response to tree or grass pollen and various other flowering plants. But allergies aren’t confined to just spring and summer. When you are indoors during the fall and winter, you can experience allergies to pet dander, dust mites, mold and many other indoor irritants. You can also be allergic to certain foods and not even realize it.
Your first step in dealing with allergies is to learn what you are allergic to. Your ENT doctors can test you for food allergies and a variety of both indoor and outdoor allergens. Once you’ve found out what you are allergic to, your doctors may prescribe:
Allergy shots—typically given once a week with either a single injection or multiple injections depending on how many things you are allergic to.
Sublingual drop therapy—a convenient option for people on the go, or those who don’t want injections; your doctors mix up a custom treatment solution which you can take at home and use daily, as a drop under your tongue.
There are also some remedies you can try at home to get relief from allergy symptoms, such as:
- Irrigating your nasal passages with a saline solution
- Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants
- Using allergy-proof pillowcases and linens
- Using allergy or HEPA filters in your house, especially in the bedroom
- Vacuuming your carpets regularly
- Keeping your pets off of furniture and out of your bedroom
If you have irritating allergies, you already know they can affect your life. They can keep you from doing the things you like, and worst of all, they may not be just seasonal. But now there’s help just a phone call away from your ENT specialists. Call today and get some relief from your allergies!
While a nose job may seem purely cosmetic it actually offers health benefits, as well.
When we hear the words “nose job” we automatically think about the cosmetic enhancement that many people want to improve the shape and overall appearance of their nose; however, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to a rhinoplasty. In fact, this procedure isn’t always cosmetic. Sometimes people need a rhinoplasty to improve their health. Find out when a rhinoplasty may be a necessity rather than just a cosmetic treatment.
Medical Reasons for a Rhinoplasty
One condition that may warrant getting a rhinoplasty is a birth defect known as a cleft lip or cleft palate. This congenital problem can make it challenging for children to eat or get the nutrients they require to grow up big and strong. Because of this, a rhinoplasty is often recommended by an otolaryngologist to correct the defect.
Of course, there are a multitude of conditions and injuries that may require rhinoplasty treatment. If someone has chronic nasal inflammation due to allergies and has severe breathing issues then a rhinoplasty may be the right procedure to improve their breathing.
Injuries or trauma to the nose (e.g. a broken nose) may also necessitate a rhinoplasty to correct the deformation.
Of course, no matter whether this procedure is cosmetic or medically necessary, there are two ways to perform this procedure: an open and a closed rhinoplasty. An open rhinoplasty is when the ENT doctor cuts into the septum to restructure the nose. When an incision is made into the nostrils and performed here this procedure is known as a closed rhinoplasty.
Whether you get an open or closed rhinoplasty will depend on several factors including the goals behind your treatment, any injuries or conditions you want to treat, and the thickness of the skin that we will be working on.
If you want to find out more about whether a rhinoplasty may alleviate your breathing problems then it’s time to talk to an ENT expert who can examine your nose and determine whether you are an ideal candidate.
Treating a Deviated Septum
Do you have a deviated septum? A deviated septum is a disorder in which the nasal septum -- the cartilage and bone that separate the right and left nostrils -- is off center or crooked. A deviated septum may be present at birth, may become crooked during fetal development, or may be caused by an injury. Having a deviated septum may cause problems such as nosebleeds or breathing difficulties. If you have a deviated septum, your ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) can help. Read on to find out how a deviated septum is treated.
1. Decongestants. If your deviated septum isn't severe, your symptoms may respond to treatment with medications. If you have a deviated septum, your doctor may prescribe decongestants. Decongestants are available as a nasal spray or pill. Decongestants are drugs that reduce nasal tissue inflammation, helping to keep the airways on both sides of the nose open. Medicine only treats the swollen mucus membranes and won't correct a deviated septum.
2. Antihistamines. Antihistamines may be prescribed to relieve symptoms of nasal obstruction by reducing swelling of the nasal membranes. Antihistamines are medicines that that help prevent allergy symptoms, including congestion and runny nose. They can also help nonallergic conditions such as those occurring with a cold. Follow the instructions on the package label or prescription carefully when taking an antihistamine.
3. Nasal Steroid Sprays. Nasal steroid sprays have anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce inflammation in the tissue that lines sinuses and nasal passages, making breathing easier. Your doctor may recommend using a steroid spray once daily. It usually takes from one to three weeks for nasal steroid sprays to reach their maximal effect. It is important to follow your healthcare provider's directions when using them.
4. Surgical Repair. If drug therapies don't work for you, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct your deviated septum (septoplasty). Your doctor may suggest septoplasty to repair your deviated septum. During the procedure, your nasal septum is straightened and repositioned in the center of your nose. The procedure typically takes 1 to 2 hours and uses local or general anesthetic.The level of improvement you can expect with surgery depends on the severity of your deviation.
5. Rhinoplasty. In some cases, rhinoplasty, commonly known as a nose job, is a plastic surgery procedure that is performed to treat a deviated septum. Rhinoplasty involves modifying the cartilage and bone of your nose to change its size or shape or both. Rhinoplasty can be performed using local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Sometimes, the procedure performed at the same time as septoplasty.
Treat yourself to a better life. If you have a deviated septum, find a qualified ENT doctor in your local area and schedule a consultation. ENT doctors have received the proper training and education needed to treat a deviated septum. Treating your deviated septum can help you achieve a better quality of life!
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