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Posts for category: ENT Care

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
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.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
October 26, 2021
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Earwax   Earwax Removal  
Earwax RemovalEarwax can be more than a nuisance for some. Earwax, if left to build up in the ear, can cause painful and uncomfortable symptoms of excessive earwax.

Signs and symptoms of earwax buildup can include:
  • muffled hearing
  • sudden or partial loss of hearing
  • earaches
  • dizziness
  • itchy ears
  • tinnitus, which is ringing in the ear that won't go away
  • feeling fullness in the ear
To help prevent the onset of these symptoms, earwax removals can be done either at a doctor's office or at home. Over-the-counter treatments for earwax removal can be done safely if no infection is present, or if a doctor has cleared you to do so.

Can You Use a Q-tip to Remove Earwax?

It's important to know how to remove earwax safely. Most people believe the only over-the-counter treatment for earwax removal is using a q-tip inside the ear canal.

However, using a q-tip within the ear is not a good way to remove earwax and can lead to injury or infection.

In fact, according to the Journal of Pediatrics and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, between 1996 and 2010, there were over 263,000 children treated in the emergency room for cotton-tip applicator-related injuries.

Safest Methods for Removing Earwax at Home

If you're planning on removing earwax at home, purchasing an earwax removal kit from your local drug store can be a safe option.

Earwax removal kits have detailed instructions on how to use them, making it easy for adults to use on their children or on themselves. These kits already come equipped with a rubber bulb ear syringe and ear drops.

These kits work by softening the earwax within the ear canal by placing drops in your ear twice daily. Then, the bulb is used to irrigate out any remaining earwax.
It's important to use these products as directed, for instance, no more than twice daily for up to four times. It's also essential to check and see if the kit you're using has not been tampered with or previously opened.

Other Natural Methods

Natural oils, such as baby oil, olive oil, and mineral oil can also be used to soften earwax and in place of earwax kit drops. These oils are typically non-irritating to the ear. After placing a couple of drops in the affected ear, you can lie the ear facedown on a towel to catch all the draining earwax.

Other possible solutions that can help remove earwax include
  • saltwater
  • saline solution
  • hydrogen peroxide 
  • vinegar and rubbing alcohol mixture
It's important to note any foreign oils, mixtures, or solutions can cause infection, so get the OK from a doctor before using these over-the-counter earwax removal methods.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
September 20, 2021
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Ear Infections  
Preventing Ear InfectionsDo you deal with painful ear infections often? Does your child? We all know how painful an ear infection can be and we also know that as with any health problem, it is always easier (and better) to prevent it whenever possible. Didn’t realize there were things you could do to lessen the chances of developing an ear infection? Well, now you’re about to find out…

Practice Good Hygiene

Some ear infections occur as a result of a cold or flu, so it’s important that you protect yourself from viral infections to reduce your risk for an ear infection, too. This means practicing proper handwashing, avoiding those who are sick, and not touching your mouth or face.

Find Allergy Relief

Allergies can also cause some serious issues. If you find yourself getting ear infections around the wintertime this could be the result of allergies. To prevent swelling of the Eustachian tubes you should find an allergy nasal spray that can better control your symptoms and

Get the Flu Shot

As we mentioned above, getting the flu can also lead to an ear infection. So if you are someone who notoriously finds themselves battling an ear infection after the flu, the best way to protect yourself and those around you is to get the flu shot. The flu shot should be administered each year to those 6 months and older.

Avoid Cigarette Smoke

Smoking can also cause the Eustachian tubes of the ears to swell. This is why you should quit smoking if you currently smoke. It’s also particularly important for newborns and young children to avoid any environmental pollutants or smoky areas, as they are already particularly susceptible to ear infections and these environments can make it worse.

Breastfeed Your Newborn

Since children under 3 years old are particularly vulnerable to ear infections, one of the best ways to protect them is to breastfeed them. This is because breastmilk contains antibodies that can protect the baby from infections, including ear infections. It is recommended that women breastfeed their baby for at least the first six months, but can continue to breastfeed as long as they want.

If you are dealing with recurring or severe ear infections it’s always best to play it safe and to see a qualified ENT professional for an evaluation. Recurring ear infections can be a sign that something more is going on and warrants having it checked out.