Should you turn to an otolaryngologist to treat your allergy symptoms?
Summertime can be glorious…for people who don’t have allergies; however, allergies can flare up this time of year, making that fun vacation or time outdoors miserable. If you find yourself hiding inside most of the year, this could signify that your allergies are uncontrolled and interfering with your life. Is it time to see an otolaryngologist for relief?
When Should I See An ENT Doctor?
If you find that your allergy symptoms are minor and controlled through over-the-counter remedies and home care, then you may not need to book an appointment with your ENT doctor immediately; however, you should turn to an ENT doctor if,
- You are dealing with chronic sinusitis or nasal congestion
- Your symptoms are severe
- Over-the-counter medications, lifestyle changes and home care aren’t enough
- Your symptoms last three months or more
- Your allergies are interfering with sleep, work or your quality of life
How Does an ENT Specialist Treat Allergies?
If you deal with seasonal or mild allergies, you may find them only a minor nuisance, and it might not be worth scheduling an appointment with a doctor; however, if you find yourself battling allergies for several months a year and they aren’t responding to at-home care these are signs that it might be time to sit down with an ENT doctor to discuss other treatment options.
How Does an ENT Treat Allergies?
If you aren’t sure what is causing your allergy symptoms, allergy testing will provide the best insight. Once allergy testing is performed, we’ll know exactly what you’re allergic to so we can map out a treatment plan. Treatment options range depending on the severity and type of allergies you’re dealing with. Allergy treatment plans often include,
- Lifestyle changes such as keeping windows and doors closed, using a HEPA air filter in the bedroom and other modifications to reduce your exposure to the allergen
- Oral medications such as antihistamines and decongestants
- Steroids or saline nasal sprays
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots) for more severe and unresponsive symptoms
If you are dealing with allergy symptoms that are driving you mad with itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion and fatigue, an ENT doctor may be the right specialist to turn to for relief.
Is it a sinus infection, allergies or a cold?
It isn’t always easy to tell a sinus infection apart from other respiratory illnesses. Still, it’s essential to recognize the signs and symptoms, so you know what medical professional to turn to. Especially if you are dealing with persistent or severe sinus problems, you must turn to an ENT doctor, who specializes in treating acute and chronic infections and issues that impact the nose and sinuses. Want to learn more about sinusitis? You’ve come to the right place.
What Is Sinusitis?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, sinus infections affect over 31 million Americans. Sinusitis causes swelling of the nasal passages, which can lead to difficulty breathing through the nose or even a complete nasal blockage (in more severe cases). Some people mistake their sinus infection for the common cold since many symptoms are the same.
What Are the Common Symptoms of a Sinus Infection?
Wondering if you could be dealing with sinusitis? Some of the warning signs include,
- Nasal congestion
- Green nasal discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Facial pain or fullness
- Referred pain in the upper teeth
What Causes Sinusitis?
In many cases, a bacterial infection is typically to blame. Of course, viruses and fungi can also cause sinus infections, particularly in those with compromised immune systems.
How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed?
Since distinguishing your symptoms from other conditions can be challenging, it’s always best to see one of our ENT doctors for a proper diagnosis. Treating your disease sooner can prevent health complications or symptoms from worsening.
How Is It Treated?
The cause of your sinusitis and whether you have an acute or chronic form will determine the type of treatment we recommend. In most cases, using an over-the-counter antihistamine or decongestant spray can reduce swelling within the sinuses to help improve drainage. Of course, these medications should only be used for a few days. If you aren’t finding relief after a few days, it’s time to talk to us.
For those with bacterial sinusitis, antibiotics are usually the best course of treatment. In some situations, a nasal steroid spray may be used to reduce swelling and inflammation of the tissue within the nasal passages.
If you are dealing with a sinus infection that isn’t going away or improving with rest and home care, you owe it to yourself to turn to an ENT doctor for treatment.
Could your snoring be a sign that you have this common sleep disorder?
Dragging yourself out of bed in the morning. Walking like a zombie to the coffee pot. Pounding coffee to try to clear the brain fog. Falling asleep at your desk. Feeling easily annoyed with everyone around you. Finding out from your partner that you were snoring loudly, again. If this sounds like you, it might be time to visit an ENT doctor for a sleep apnea evaluation.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes pauses in breathing throughout the night due to tissue collapsing in the back of the throat, which blocks airflow. This limited airflow and oxygen to the brain can lead to various health problems over time, some of which can be dangerous if sleep apnea is left untreated. The National Sleep Foundation reports that as many as 85 percent of people with sleep apnea don’t even know they have it.
What Are the Warning Signs?
You could have sleep apnea if you are dealing with,
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Gasping for breath or choking sounds
- Restless sleep
- Morning headaches
- Daytime fatigue despite getting enough sleep
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Brain fog
- Falling asleep at your desk or behind the wheel
- Needing a nap to get through the day
- Increased irritability
- Decreased sex drive
When Should I Turn to an Ent Doctor?
Most people seek an ENT doctor for an evaluation because their partner is complaining about their loud snoring, night after night. Of course, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s worth turning to an ENT specialist for a proper evaluation to determine if you could have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a sleep study, which you may be able to complete from the comfort of home. If you suspect sleep apnea in yourself or someone you love, it’s vital that you schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
CPAP therapy is still the standard way to treat obstructive sleep apnea, requiring the individual to wear a mask over their nose and mouth while sleeping. During the night, the mask pumps pressurized air into the airways to keep them open. CPAP much be worn every night.
Mild to moderate forms of obstructive sleep apnea may also be treated with a simple oral appliance to keep airways open while you sleep. This device may also benefit individuals who aren’t candidates for CPAP therapy.
While surgery can also be used to treat sleep apnea, before considering surgery, you may want to consider the newest sleep apnea treatment—a subdermal device that is placed directly under the skin and you turn on and control with a remote. You turn it on before going to bed, and the device will stimulate the muscles of the airways to keep them open.
If you suspect that you might have sleep apnea, you must turn to an ENT doctor who can perform the appropriate tests and provide you with an immediate diagnosis so you can get the treatment you need. You’ll be amazed at the relief you feel and how refreshed you can feel day in and day out when your sleep apnea is fully controlled.
Find out what to do if you or your child develops an ear infection
Some ear infections can be downright painful, while others can go unnoticed (but still cause complications in the long run). It’s essential to spot the symptoms of an ear infection and recognize the signs that it’s time to turn to an ENT doctor for treatment. Here’s what you should know about ear infections,
What Are the Different Kinds of Ear Infections?
The ear is made up of the middle, outer and inner ear. Ear infections can occur in another of these three parts, but middle ear infections (otitis media) are prevalent. While a virus causes most ear infections, ear infections can also result from bacteria or fungi. Most children will develop an ear infection by the age of three.
What Are the Classic Signs of an Ear Infection?
Could you be dealing with an ear infection? Here are the telltale signs,
- Ear pain (often intense and throbbing)
- Pressure or fullness in the ear
- Limited hearing or hearing loss
- Ringing or humming in the ear
- Drainage from the ear
- Loss of balance
If your child is too young to tell you that they have an ear infection, it’s essential that you’re able to spot the warning signs,
- Pulling or tugging at the ear
- Pus or drainage coming from their ear
- Redness or swelling
- Increased fussiness or clinginess
- Crying or irritability that gets worse when lying down
- Trouble sleeping
Recognize these signs? If so, it’s a good idea to call your ENT doctor.
When Should I Turn to an ENT Doctor?
When it comes to an ear infection, you may be able to take a wait-and-see approach; however, if your earache is severe, you may want to turn to a doctor who can ease your symptoms until the body fights the infection. Of course, you may want to turn to an ENT doctor if,
- You notice flaky skin along with the symptoms above (these can be signs of a bacterial infection)
- An itchy ear along with the symptoms above (itching is often a sign of fungal infection)
- You develop an ear infection after swimming, water sports or if you’re living in a tropical or subtropical climate (this puts you at risk for fungal ear infections)
- You notice changes in hearing or hearing loss
- You are dealing with severe pain
- Your symptoms don’t improve within three days
- You develop a fever over 100.4 F
- You or your child is dealing with recurring infections
How Is an Ear Infection Treated?
Antibiotics or antifungals will be prescribed to treat the infection if you are dealing with a bacterial or fungal infection. These types of infections will not clear up on their own. The body will fight ear infections caused by viruses; however, we can still provide you with ways to ease pain and manage symptoms until the infection goes away.
If you’re dealing with a severe earache or your child is dealing with multiple ear infections a year, it’s time to turn to an ENT doctor that can provide you with the specialized, custom treatment you need.
How can you distinguish between a regular and a sinus-induced headache?
Sinus problems can be a real nuisance. While a stuffy nose, congestion and facial pressure may be part of the package, you may not realize that sinus problems could also be responsible for your headaches. If you are dealing with persistent or regular headaches, and you are also dealing with sinus issues, your headaches could be due to your sinuses. If this is the case, an ENT doctor can help you treat this common problem.
What causes a sinus headache?
When the nasal passages become congested, a sinus headache can start brewing. You may notice that you develop more sinus headaches during times of the year when your allergies flare up, or you may find that your headaches accompany a sinus infection. Along with allergies, other problems that could trigger a sinus headache include,
- Nasal polyps
- Deviated septum
- Viral infections
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infection (rare)
What are the signs of a sinus headache?
Along with inflamed sinuses, symptoms of a sinus headache are different from that of a tension headache. Signs of a sinus headache include,
- Nasal congestion
- Stuffy nose or runny nose
- Lack of smell
- Facial pressure often in the forehead
- Facial pain that gets worse when leaning over
- Yellow nasal discharge
How a sinus headache is treated will differ from migraines, so it’s essential to spot the differences. If you develop a severe headache accompanied by dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, vomiting or auras, these are telltale signs that you’re dealing with a migraine and not a sinus headache.
How is a sinus headache treated?
While most sinus infections will resolve without treatment, an ENT doctor will be able to provide you with lifestyle changes, medication options and other remedies that could ease your headache and other symptoms until the infection resolves itself. Some ways to treat sinus headaches include,
- Home remedies such as Neti Pot, saline irrigation, steam and a warm compress
- Over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and pain medications
- Prescription medications include antihistamines, decongestants and nasal steroids
- Alternative treatment options such as essential oils, homeopathy, acupuncture and herbs
If headaches have become the norm, you may be surprised to discover that your sinuses are to blame. Of course, to get your headaches under control, you should also get your sinus problems under control. For that, you’ll want to turn to an otolaryngologist.
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