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By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
January 12, 2022
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Nasal Sprays  
Nasal SpraysEvery day, we breathe in ­­­between 100,000 and 1 million microorganisms, say scientists. While most won’t affect healthy individuals, many can cause respiratory infections. If you are dealing with nasal congestion and trouble breathing through your nose you may be wondering whether a nasal spray is right for you. Is it safe to use daily and what can it do for you? Learn more about nasal sprays and when you should turn to an ENT doctor to treat your nasal symptoms.

What are the types of nasal sprays?

Not all nasal sprays work the same way and it’s important to figure out which one is going to provide you with the most effective relief. There are:

Saline nasal sprays

If the air around you is cold and dry, which is common in winter, you may be dealing with irritated nasal tissue. If this is the case, a saline nasal spray can help rinse away mucus and drain the sinuses of bacteria and germs, which can reduce inflammation. If you find that your nose is more sensitive to over-the-counter saline nasal sprays, look for ones without preservatives.

If you regularly deal with thick, nasal congestion, saline nasal sprays can help to loosen and thin out mucus. It can also be used daily without rebound nasal congestion or harm to the nasal tissue. Of course, if you are concerned about any over-the-counter nasal sprays or medications you’re using, don’t hesitate to talk to your otolaryngologist.

Decongestant nasal sprays

While saline nasal sprays can be used regularly without issues, decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for more than three days. If used more often, you’re likely to deal with more congestion once you stop taking it than when you first started the medication. It’s important to use these sprays exactly as directed. If you abuse the product, as many people do, you may find yourself dealing with chronic nasal congestion, which may require a steroid spray to treat the problem.

So, when is it safe to use a decongestant nasal spray? If you are at the very beginning stages of a sinus infection or cold, a decongestant nasal spray can provide relief in the first couple of days. If you find that your nasal problems persist, then it’s a good idea to tell your ear, nose, and throat doctor.

If nasal sprays aren’t providing you with relief, or you find yourself using them daily, it’s important that you turn to an ENT doctor who can provide you with a more long-term and effective nasal spray or treatment that can help you breathe better and tackle your symptoms.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
December 22, 2021
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Sinus Rinses  
Sinus RinsesSinus rinses or nasal irrigations seem to be all the rage. Perhaps you know someone who swears by their nasal irrigation system. It is nice that there is a simple, at-home way to clean out your sinuses. It’s amazing how healing a saltwater rinse can be, especially for clearing away dirt, bacteria, and other debris that could cause nasal irritation and other issues. If you’re curious about sinus rinses, here’s what you should know.

Make Sure You Use Sterile Water Every Time

Most people simply fill up their Neti pot or nasal irrigation system with tap water. This is a big no-no. It’s very important that you use distilled or sterilized water to kill off any amoeba or bacteria in the water that could cause serious and even fatal infections if they enter the sinuses. It’s important that you stick to this rule every time you use your sinus rinse.

You Can Make Your Own Solution

Most commercial nasal irrigation systems come with their own packets of nasal solution. While it’s a good idea to use these, if you decide that you want to make your own it’s important that you get the measurements right so you don’t damage the nasal tissue (after all, this tissue is very delicate). The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has provided this homemade nasal rinse “recipe”:
  • 1 part baking soda
  • 3 parts no-iodide, preservative-free salt
Mix these together and then dissolve into 1 cup of distilled or sterilized water. You may need to dilute the mixture with more water if it burns.

Keep Your Neti Pot Clean

Since nasal irrigation systems hold water, it makes it a hospitable environment for mold and mildew to grow. The best way to prevent this from happening is to rinse out your neti pot with hot water and soap after each use. If you use your neti pot regularly, you’ll want to play it safe and get a new one every few months.

You Can Use it Daily

If you are experiencing nasal congestion or postnasal drip due to a cold or allergies then you may wish to use your sinus rinse every day. If this is your first time using it, it’s recommended that you try it only once daily and then work your way up to three times per day to see if that helps alleviate your symptoms.

If you are dealing with several or persistent nasal symptoms and issues that aren’t being relieved through sinus rinses and regular at-home care then it may be time to turn to an ENT doctor.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
December 10, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Nosebleeds  
NosebleedsWith the dry winter weather approaching, it’s normal for people to experience more nosebleeds; however, it’s also important to recognize what is causing your nosebleeds so you can take the appropriate measures to prevent them. While most nosebleeds aren’t a cause for concern, sometimes they may require turning to an ENT doctor for more specialized care.

Why do nosebleeds happen?

The two most common reasons for nosebleeds are picking at the skin, which leads to injury of the soft tissue in the nose and drying out of nasal tissue, which causes the tissue to crack and bleed. While these issues are unpleasant they are not typically something to worry about. Particularly dry environments can often dry out the nasal cavity and lead to nosebleeds, so you may notice them more often during the winter months.
 
Why do nosebleeds keep happening to me?

What if you are dealing with nosebleeds four or more times a week? If this is what you’re currently experiencing, then you’re dealing with recurring or chronic nosebleeds. This is typically a symptom of an underlying problem that warrants seeing an ENT doctor for an evaluation.

There are several reasons you may be dealing with chronic or persistent nosebleeds and it’s your otolaryngologist’s job to figure out what’s causing them. Through a physical examination of the nose and sinuses, your doctor may be able to figure out what’s going on. In some instances, imaging tests may be necessary to rule out or diagnose a condition or problem. Allergies are a common cause of recurring nosebleeds.

Nasal polyps or tumors in the sinuses can also cause nosebleeds. If you have a blood clotting disorder or you’re on blood thinners this is information that you will need to include in your medical history so that your doctor can determine the best way to reduce your risk for nosebleeds.

Don’t let recurring or severe nosebleeds impact your daily routine. An ENT doctor will be able to figure out what’s causing your nosebleeds and what you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
December 01, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Strep Throat  
Step ThroatAs the weather gets colder and we gear up for the winter months, we also start to see an uptick in illnesses. Everything from colds and flu to strep throat abound, and ENT doctors certainly start to see more patients. So, how do you know if you’re dealing with a simple sore throat or whether your sore throat might actually be strep? Since strep is the result of a bacterial infection, this problem will require medical treatment to get better.

What is the difference between strep and a sore throat?

Not all sore throats are strep but all strep certainly causes sore throats. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to spot the difference between a good ole sore throat and strep throat. A sore throat is often caused by a viral infection such as a cold, while strep throat is caused by a bacteria called streptococcus. A sore throat will also go away on its own but strep throat won’t.

What are the warning signs of strep?

While strep can happen to both children and adults, ENT doctors most often see it in children. If you have a simple sore throat you’re most likely to also have symptoms of a cold such as a cough, runny nose, or sneezing. A strep throat, on the other hand, can cause,
  • Inflamed, swollen, and red tonsils
  • White or red spots on the roof of the mouth or tonsils
  • A severe sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck
  • Fever (typically over 101 F)
  • Chills
The main difference between a sore throat and strep is that strep won’t produce a cough. If you or your child is experiencing these symptoms it’s time to visit an ear, nose, and throat doctor for treatment.

How is strep treated?

Since strep is caused by a bacterial infection the only course of action is to treat the problem with a round of antibiotics. Since strep throat can cause complications it’s important that you seek treatment for strep as soon as you notice symptoms. Once starting the antibiotics, you should also begin to feel better within 48 hours (but don’t stop taking your medication just because you feel better!). It’s also important to rest and stay hydrated during this time to help your body heal.

If you are experiencing symptoms of strep throat, it’s always best to play it safe and call your ENT doctor. We would be happy to listen to your symptoms over the phone to determine whether you need to come into the office for an evaluation.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
November 09, 2021
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Tonsillectomy  
Recovering From Your TonsillectomyBefore you or your child undergoes a tonsillectomy, you want to make sure you are prepared for the recovery process. We completely understand! Nothing is more important than knowing what to expect before, during, and after any type of procedure so there are no surprises. While your ENT doctor will provide you with detailed instructions regarding the recovery process, you may have questions or concerns about what to expect once you come home.

The Recovery Process

It typically takes about two weeks for both children and adults to make a full recovery after a tonsillectomy. You may feel tired and easily fatigued for the first few days after surgery. Other symptoms such as ear and throat pain are common and can last up to two weeks. If you find that your symptoms are getting worse or aren’t improving after 4-5 days, you should speak with your ENT doctor.

Get Pain Under Control

Pain management is an important topic for our patients undergoing a tonsillectomy, as the pain that proceeds from this surgery can be pretty intense in the very beginning. Your ENT doctor will provide you with a strong pain reliever to help ease discomfort during the first few days. You may switch to ibuprofen if your pain is starting to lessen; however, it’s important to avoid aspirin for at least two weeks after your tonsillectomy.
 
Stay Hydrated

It is very important that you stay hydrated and drink a lot of fluids. A good rule of thumb is to consume one cup of water an hour. If your urine is pale in color, this is a sign that you are drinking enough water. While you can eat what you want after your surgery, you may not feel very hungry at first. Don’t worry, your appetite will return after a couple of days.

Your Diet Post-Tonsillectomy

Most people worry about what they can and can’t eat post-surgery but the answer is, anything you want. You can’t hurt your throat by eating certain foods; however, you may want to ease back into your diet by starting with soft foods such as yogurt, rice, mashed potatoes, and ice pops.

Give Yourself Time to Rest

Most people will feel too fatigued to go about their normal activities. Most children will return to school within a week and resume full activities within two weeks. Most adults can return to work within 10 days after a tonsillectomy. You will want to rest as much as possible and avoid most activities for at least the first 48 hours after your surgery.

If you have any concerns about your upcoming tonsillectomy, or you have questions about your at-home instructions after you return home, know that your ENT doctor is always here to provide you with the answers, care, and support you need. Don’t hesitate to call with any questions or concerns you might have while you heal from your tonsillectomy.




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