Posts for category: ENT Conditions
You May Be Able to Treat it Yourself
If you are dealing with acute sinusitis you may be able to manage your symptoms on your own with saline nasal sprays, over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants. If your sinus infection is due to allergies, you may be able to make simple lifestyle changes that can improve your allergies, which in turn can improve your infection. Other at-home sinusitis treatment options include,
- Drinking lots of water to flush out toxins
- Using a humidifier in your bedroom
- Applying warm compresses to the face
- Using a neti pot to flush out bacteria and germs from the sinuses
- Getting lots of rest
- Stocking up on vitamin C
- You aren’t sure if your symptoms are due to a sinus infection or something else
- Your symptoms are accompanied by a fever that lasts more than 3 days
- Your symptoms persist for more than 10 days
- Your symptoms are getting worse
- Your symptoms return
First and foremost, we need to determine what’s causing your infection and whether you’re dealing with an acute or chronic case. Acute cases may be treated with prescription-strength steroid and nasal sprays or oral allergy medications, while chronic sinusitis may require more intensive treatments. Chronic sinus infections may be caused by nasal polyps, a deviated septum or allergies, and it’s important to figure out the cause before we create a treatment plan. Chronic sinusitis is often treated with,
- Nasal, oral or injectable corticosteroids
- Medications used to shrink nasal polyps
- Immunotherapy (aka allergy shots)
- Balloon sinuplasty, a procedure that opens up blocked sinuses (an alternative to sinus surgery)
- Sinus surgery
Turn Down the Heat
Okay, so we know this isn’t going to be a popular tip for many people, but if you crank up the heat in your house this could be drying out your nose and leading to nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and other uncomfortable symptoms. If indoor heat is the culprit, we simply suggest turning down the temperature in the house and then wrapping up in more layers to compensate so you can still feel perfectly warm but without the dry, painful nose.
Apply Petroleum Jelly
This is another simple home remedy that most people have in their medicine cabinets already. Apply a very small amount of petroleum jelly to the inside of the nose to keep it moisturized. This shouldn’t be used regularly or for extended periods but can be helpful when you are dealing with a severely dry nose that needs immediate relief.
Use a Humidifier
A humidifier can certainly put moisture back into your home’s dry air, especially during the winter months when you have the heat running all day and night. Sleeping with a humidifier can improve the humidity and moisture in the room to give your poor dry nasal passages a bit of a soothing break.
Enjoy a Steam
Another way to open up nasal passages and soothe dry noses is by giving the nostrils a good old steam. You can do this by using your gym’s sauna room a few times a week or you can simply boil some water and place your face above the water to let the steam into the nostrils (cover your head with a towel to trap steam). A hot, steamy shower can also help.
Use Nasal Sprays
Over-the-counter saline nasal sprays can also be a great way to remove any dirt and germs that may be in the nasal passages while also keeping the nose wet. If you find yourself also battling congestion on top of a dry nose, saline nasal sprays can be a great option. Plus, unlike other types of nasal sprays, saline sprays can be used daily.
If you find yourself dealing with a severely dry nose that is cracking or leading to persistent nosebleeds, it may be a good time to consult with an ENT doctor who can provide you with more effective treatment options when home care just isn’t enough.
What are tonsil stones?
Tonsil stones are also known as tonsilloliths, and they are calcified clusters of bacteria and other debris that form on the tonsils. The tonsils have folds and nooks where bacteria and dead cells can get trapped. If this happens, the debris calcifies in these little nooks within the tonsils.
Who gets tonsil stones?
Those with chronic tonsil inflammation or infections like tonsillitis are more prone to getting tonsil stones; however, this condition can happen to anyone.
- Bad breath
- Sore throat
- Ear pain
- Problems swallowing
- White tonsils
- Swelling of the tonsils
Since the majority of patients who experience regular tonsil stones are those who have chronic tonsillitis, the only way to truly prevent tonsil stones from happening is to remove the tonsils altogether; however, a tonsillectomy is performed under general anesthesia and may cause a sore throat for a few days after the procedure.
How are tonsil stones treated?
Your treatment plan will depend primarily on the size of the tonsil stones and the symptoms you are experiencing; however, for many patients, treatment may not be necessary. This is particularly true for those who do not have any symptoms or discomfort. For those who need relief, gargling with warm salter water can ease the pain of tonsillitis and tonsil stones.
Antibiotics can also be prescribed to treat tonsilloliths. While antibiotics can be effective, they will not prevent tonsil stones from happening in the future. For patients with extremely large or painful tonsil stones, surgery may be necessary; however, this is a simple outpatient procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia.
If you have tonsil stones or you are dealing with recurring tonsillitis, it’s important that you turn to an ENT doctor to find out why you are dealing with these symptoms and how to best treat them.
What are the symptoms of head and neck cancer?
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer:
- Tender red or white patches in the mouth
- A painful lump in the neck or mouth
- Persistent or recurring sore throats
- Hoarseness or other vocal changes
- Trouble chewing or swallowing
- Frequent nosebleeds, often on one side
- Ear pain
- Jaw pain
- Blood in saliva
- Unexplained and sudden weight loss
What can an otolaryngologist do for me?
An ENT doctor has received specialized training to be able to provide valuable insight and to create custom treatment plans for patients dealing with head and neck cancer. Additionally, an otolaryngologist usually has advanced imaging tests right here in their office to diagnose or rule out cancer. They will collaborate with your current doctors to come up with the very best treatment options and care to remove benign or malignant tumors. For patients who are dealing with structural changes as a result of tumor or growth removal, an ENT doctor may also be able to provide face and neck reconstructive surgery.
We understand just how scary head and neck cancer can be. Our goal is to provide patients with the supportive, respectful, and understanding care and support they need from our whole team. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of head and neck cancer, it’s important that you turn to an ENT doctor right away for proper diagnostic testing to determine what’s causing your symptoms. The sooner you turn to an otolaryngologist the better.
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.
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.