Is Nasal Irrigation Safe? Few Hygiene Tips…

Is nasal irrigation safe?

Amebic meningoencephalitis – In simple language, it is referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba.” This microscopic organism is found in lakes, rivers and hot springs. People are infected when contaminated water enters the nose. But what does that have to do with nasal irrigation and sinus infection treatment? In rare cases, using contaminated tap water for nasal irrigation for sinus infection treatment –such as using a neti pot – can lead to infection.

Fortunately, this amebic disease is incredibly rare, but it has a terrifying fatality rate. The CDC states that out of 145 Americans who were infected from 1961 to 2018, only four survived.

But what lessons can we learn from this, and how does it affect, and how you should irrigate your sinuses?

Are you certain that the water you’re utilizing for your nasal irrigations is clean enough? The insignificant tap water filter doesn’t work. The suggestions from the CDC are to boil water for min one minute and then let it cool. Other suggestions are is to utilize microfiltered water, distilled water or sterile water.

Some Hygiene Tips
As mentioned earlier, keeping your irrigation system clean is vital for success and safety. If you don’t, you’ll create a hotbed of bacteria in your sinuses, which of course, will only make the situation worse.
We will provide the important information you need to help you maintain your nasal irrigation system.
Remember to:
Clean your equipment every day with soap and water.
Every week, sterilize your equipment using Betadine or a solution of 100 parts water to one part bleach. Remember that the device has to air dry—and do so completely —before you should use it again.
Replace the system every three months to help avoid bacterial contamination.
Clean the rinse bottle by microwaving the system for 30-60 seconds. This has proven to be very effective.

Here are a few interesting facts medical studies have uncovered.
Nasal irrigation doesn’t penetrate the sinuses as well in patients who have not undergone surgery.
The nose-to-ceiling position is the best one for rinsing the sphenoid sinuses. These are the sinuses that are located behind the nose and between the eyes.
Squeeze bottles seem to be more effective to irrigate the maxillary, frontal and sphenoid sinuses.
There is no additional benefit to heating the nasal solution before delivering it.

The benefits of nasal irrigation far outweigh the risks. Just remember to be sure your device is properly maintained and the water that you use is properly sterilized. If you use a device like a neti pot, be sure it is adequately cleaned after each use.

Treating Sleep Apnea In Children

You don’t usually think of sleep apnea as a problem for children. Most people associate sleep apnea with overweight adults. However, children can suffer from sleep apnea and ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors can help.

Sleep Apnea In Children
Sleep apnea is not something to kid around with. During sleep apnea, breathing stops for at least 10 seconds at a time. This means your child’s blood is not properly oxygenated. Even when their body is at rest, your child is still growing and developing. Sleep apnea can interfere with growth, sleep and performance in school. Not only is learning impacted, but behavior can be affected as well.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea in children. It occurs when something blocks or “obstructs” the airway while sleeping.

Less common is central sleep apnea. This apnea can be the result of an injury to the brain. Signals are not properly sent from the brain. This form of sleep apnea isn’t very common in children.

Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea In Children
Certain conditions make your child more prone to sleep apnea. These include:

Family history of sleep apnea
Overweight
Cerebral palsy
Down syndrome
Defects in the mouth or throat
Large tongue
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea In Children
Some symptoms of sleep apnea are more obvious. These include:

Snoring or snorting
Heavy breathing while sleeping
Daytime sleepiness
Other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are not so obvious. These include trouble waking in the morning, behavior problems, bedwetting and attention problems.

If you suspect sleep apnea, make an appointment with your child’s ENT. If your child has not been seen by an ENT, ask your pediatrician for a referral. ENTs are specially trained to treat sleep apnea in adults and children.

ENT Treatments For Pediatric Sleep Apnea
The ENT will examine your child for possible causes of the obstruction. A sleep study may be ordered. If the ENT requests a sleep study, your child will spend the night in a special center where their breathing will be monitored while they sleep.

If your child is overweight, the ENT will recommend a diet and exercise program to help your child lose weight safely.

The most common reason for sleep apnea in children is an enlargement of the tonsils or adenoids. If the ENT determines that your child’s tonsils or adenoids are the cause of the obstruction surgical removal will be recommended.

Tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy can permanently correct pediatric sleep apnea. By removing the cause of the obstruction, the airways are open day and night. Studies show that 75 percent of children with sleep apnea will have a reduction of episodes within six months of surgery.

The ENT will perform the surgery in the hospital or at a surgical center. Recovery is usually within 10 to 14 days.

See The ENT For Pediatric Sleep Apnea
If you suspect your child has sleep apnea, contact the ENT right away. Some ENTs specialize in pediatric services, but all ENTs are qualified to treat children.

You can ask your pediatrician for a referral or speak with your insurance carrier.

The ENT is the best medical professional to treat your child’s sleep apnea. Both you and your child will sleep better in the hands of a skilled ENT.

See The ENT For Sinusitis

Many annoying respiratory conditions will go away without medical intervention. The old adage, treat a cold and it will last seven to 10 days; don’t treat a cold and it will last a week to a week and a half is true. But there are respiratory conditions where it makes to sense to seek treatment sooner than later. If you see the ENT, or ear, nose and throat doctor, when you first suspect you have sinusitis, the chances of treating the condition improve. Also, the ENT can treat sinusitis and help you prevent subsequent sinusitis episodes.

What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities. These cavities are air-filled spaces in the bones of the head and face. They are very important in the job of delivering filtered and humidified air to your lungs. They are lined with mucus producing membranes. When the lining of these cavities gets inflamed, it is usually from an infection. Commonly these infections will occur after a bout with one of the many cold viruses. Sinusitis is generally a secondary infection. That means it is the result of something else. That “something” may be:

Viral infection
Bacterial infection
Fungal infection
Uncontrolled allergies
Sinusitis may be sudden (comes on quickly and responds to treatment) or chronic (stubborn infection that takes weeks to resolve). Recurring sinusitis is also referred to as chronic sinusitis.

Symptoms Of Sinusitis
Sinusitis symptoms are similar to the symptoms from a cold. However, there will be pain in the sinus areas. This may be under the eyes, above the bridge of the nose, and even in the upper teeth. In addition you may have:

Fever of 101°F
Dulled sense of smell
Thick mucus that is yellow or green colored
Bad breath
Moist cough
A cold will go away on its own; but it may leave behind sinusitis If you have any of the above symptoms for more than 10 days, or if your cold symptoms suddenly get worse after seven days, you should consult an ENT. An ENT is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat your sinusitis. They can also identify underlying conditions and advise you in how to keep sinusitis from recurring and becoming chronic.

How ENTs Treat Sinusitis
First your ENT will take a medical history. Be sure to be prepared to let the ENT know when the symptoms started and the progression of symptoms. The ENT will then perform an examination. If your sinusitis is caused by nasal polyps, the nasal polyps will be treated as well. In addition to a physical and visual exam, tests just as a CT scan, MRI, X-ray or endoscopic exam may be necessary.

Medical Intervention. Depending on the type of sinusitis you have, you may be prescribed a course of antibiotics. If your infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics are ineffective and will not be prescribed. For chronic sinusitis, you may need to take several different courses of antibiotics. If your sinusitis is fungal, an antifungal medication may be prescribed. In addition, you may be prescribed nasal or oral corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. NSAIDs may be recommended to reduce pain.

Surgery. Surgery may be required if the infection has spread to the bones, if the infections do not respond to medical intervention, or if nasal polyps are involved.

Call The ENT
You can prevent problems with chronic sinusitis if you catch it early. This means if you feel a sinus headache coming on and it does not respond to home treatment such as the use of saline sprays and nasal irrigation, breathing warm moist air, or using warm moist compresses to the sinus areas, call the ENT. Your ENT can treat sinusitis and bring relief from the pain and symptoms of sinusitis.

How Do ENTs Treat Headaches?

Most people will suffer headaches from time to time and there is usually no reason to consult your doctor or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) professional. However, in cases where individuals experience regular pain, medical professionals can provide many different treatment solutions based on the cause of the problem. If you’re unsure about how an ENT might treat headaches and migraines; you’ve come to the right place today. Below are some methods and practices that could make a difference and provide you with some relief from the pain. If you visit an ENT specialist during the next few weeks, these are some of the treatments you can expect to receive.

Tension-Type Headaches
Many people who suffer tension-type headaches complain about a band of pain around the middle of their heads. In many instances, headaches of that nature tend to happen when you expose yourself to high levels of stress. They can also occur when you’ve had a lack of sleep, or you haven’t been eating correctly. Most ENTs will recommend dietary changes and painkillers like Aspirin for the best results. Other medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can also provide a mild level of relief. So, in most instances, you won’t have to worry about any painful treatments or anything that will require you to take time off work.

Migraines
Migraines often cause mild to severe pain that can occur time and time again. Many people who suffer migraines will feel sick and struggle to deal with any level of light. Those problems can last for a long time if you don’t take medication. Also, lots of people have to take time off work until they begin to recover. In most situations, ENTs will treat migraines using a range of different drugs. They can include:

Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen
Prescription medications like triptans
Preventive medicines like metoprolol tartrate
ENTs will also recommend that you spend time in a dark room and wait until your migraine is gone before engaging in exercise or other strenuous activities.

Chronic Daily Headaches
For some folks, headaches can occur every single day, and that can cause lots of pain and discomfort for the sufferer. If that happens to you, it’s essential that you record the frequency with which you notice the headaches before you visit an ENT. That way, you can provide the professionals with all the information they require to make an accurate assessment. Those who suffer headaches all the time will have to try an array of different treatment options until they find something that works for them. Presuming the headaches aren’t due to a medical condition, some ENTs will prescribe tricyclic antidepressants alongside all the other drugs mentioned in this article.

You should now have a conventional understanding of the types of treatment you can expect to undergo if you visit an ENT for your headache or migraine issues. Hopefully, this information should mean you don’t face any nasty surprises, and you feel comfortable talking to the professionals about your illness. Headaches and migraines can ruin your life if you don’t get some relief. So, don’t make the mistake of suffering in silence. Visit an ENT specialist today and take control of your chronic headaches.

How To Prepare For Snoring Surgery

Snoring is one of the most common conditions that ENT doctors treat every day. There are plenty of solutions out there, from medications to nasal strips, and everything in between. If all the other treatments don’t work, then surgery will be suggested as a final recommendation.

While this may sound scary, snoring surgery is nothing to worry about. It’s often carried out in-house at your ear, nose and throat doctors medical practice, and it can cure snoring forever. If this is something you’re considering – or perhaps have already agreed to – then you may be wondering how you prepare for it. Bearing that in mind, here’s some advice you should take on board:

Avoid Taking Medication In The Week Before Your Procedure
There are many types of snoring surgery out there, and some involve treatments where incisions are made. As a result, there’s a risk of bleeding occurring, and this risk is heightened when you take common pain medications like ibuprofen or aspirin. Both of these things will thin the blood, which increases the chances of bleeding occurring at a rapid rate when you’re in surgery. To avoid this, and keep the surgical risks as low as can be, don’t take medication for a week before your appointment. It’s always suggested you consult your ear, nose and throat doctor to see which medications you should avoid.

Drink Things That Soothe Your Throat
It’s a good idea to drink things that are proven to help ease your throat. This is because you want to avoid issues like coughing during the surgery. Keeping your throat nice and lubricated will prevent it from feeling itchy or tickly, which results in coughing. Plus, the pain after your surgery will be much worse if you go into it with an already sore throat. So, this can help you recover better too.

If You Smoke, Stop Smoking
Any smokers that are getting snoring surgery should stop smoking for a few days leading up to the treatment. Again, smoking leads to an increased chance of coughing during the surgery, which will ultimately lead to a higher risk of complications.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep Beforehand
It’s important that you’re well-rested and fresh before your surgery. This is yet another thing that will factor into you having a more peaceful recovery period after the procedure. Try your best to get more than eight hours sleep, so you’re fully refreshed and ready for the surgery.

Relax Before You Go Into Surgery
Finally, try and relax just before you’re due to have your surgery. Bring your family in with you so you can have a laugh and a joke to take your mind off of things. A lot of ear, nose and throat doctors recommended bringing a book to read while you wait, or something to listen to music on.

Your exact preparations will depend on the type of snoring surgery you’re having. However, these tips are good general pieces of advice to help you prepare for what lies ahead. Hopefully, this helps you feel less scared and gets you ready for your procedure.

Can Allergies Affect Your Ears?

Autumn is hay fever season. There’s also pollen, grass, pet dander and dust contributing to allergies. The most common symptoms are itchy and watery eyes and a stuffy nose. Can allergies affect your ears? Yes, in several ways.

Why Do You Have An Allergic Reaction?
When a foreign substance, such as pollen. causes hypersensitivity, your immune system responds by producing antibodies that release histamine. Histamines cause itching, mucus and sometimes swelling. Allergies can occur year-round, but for many people pollen and grass allergies are more likely to occur in the spring or fall.

How Are Your Ears Affected?
Our ears are made up of three parts – the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Allergic reactions can cause the outer ear to itch or swell. The middle ear contains the Eustachian tube, which acts as a drainage tube of sorts. When mucus clogs the middle ear it affects that drainage. Pressure builds, which can lead to discomfort, popping in the ears or an earache. Your middle ear may itch as well. The inner ear is filled with fluid, and if this fluid becomes infected, you may suffer dizziness, ringing in the ear or loss of balance.

Sometimes a stuffy nose and sinus pressure can radiate to the ears, causing pressure or earaches.

Some people experience a short-term hearing loss due to an allergic reaction. This is known as conductive hearing loss and usually is temporary and resolves itself when the allergies subside.

Young children commonly experience middle ear infections, which may be triggered by allergies. These infections are known as otitis media. If these occur often, a professional may recommend allergy tests.

Will Allergy Medicine Help?
Over-the-counter allergy medications can help take care of multiple symptoms, including any allergic reactions in the ear. Antihistamines and decongestants can reduce the feeling of fullness in the ear.

Other treatments that may help with allergic reactions in the ear include a warm compress, such as a washcloth placed on the ear or prescription eardrops. Pain medication also may help an earache.

If you have an infection, your health care provider can prescribe an antibiotic.

If pressure in the ear doesn’t go away or becomes painful, it’s important to see a hearing care provider right away.

What Is Meniere’s Disease?
This is an inner ear disorder that causes ringing in the ears, a feeling as if you’re spinning and hearing loss that becomes progressive and finally permanent. Some medical studies connect Meniere’s disease with seasonal allergies or food allergies. Allergy immunotherapy may help some patients.

Millions of people suffer from allergies, and allergies can affect the ears. Over-the-counter medications usually can help alleviate the symptoms. Sometimes an allergic reaction can lead to a short-term hearing loss, which clears when the allergies subside. If your ear health is suffering due to allergies or another reason, schedule an appointment with a hearing care provider as soon as possible to get to the bottom of it!

5 Things To Consider When Picking An ENT

Selecting any doctor is a very personal decision. Picking an otolaryngologist (ENT) is not any different than picking other health care professionals. You want a skilled professional who has the experience and expertise to treat your condition and the bedside manner that makes you comfortable. In addition to the obvious things like the types of insurance accepted; here are some other considerations.

The Age Of The Patient
The age of the patient is important. Pediatric otolaryngology is a defined specialty within the field of otolaryngology. If the patient is an infant or small child you will want to check to see if the ENT has been trained in pediatric otolaryngology. If the ENT may not have specialized in pediatrics but may have extensive experience treating children.

There is no defined field of geriatric otolaryngology, but if you are a senior citizen you want to know if the ENT has experience treating elderly patients. Some ear and hearing conditions are more common in older adults, and you want an ENT that keeps up-to-date on these issues.

Office Locations And Hours
No matter the age of the patient, no one wants to drive long distances to see the ENT. This is especially true if you live in areas with harsh weather. Many ENTs associate and this gives them the ability to maintain multiple offices in multiple locations. Also check office hours and after-hours availability. Do they have extended or weekend hours? Do their hours of availability suit your needs?

Areas Of Specialty
While all ENTs receive training in conditions of the ears, nose and throat, some ENTs further specialize. In addition to pediatric otolaryngology, they may specialize in seven other areas. These include:

Allergy
Facial Reconstructive Plastic Surgery
Head and Neck
Laryngology
Otology
Rhinology
If you have a problem with allergies, you may not want to pick and ENT that specialized in reconstructive surgery.

In addition, some ENTs have training as an audiologist or associate with audiologists.

Credentials And Experience
The internet is a wonderful thing. You can check the credentials and experience of doctors online using a variety of resources. The National Committee for Quality Assurance is a nonprofit organization that maintains a database of physicians that have met certain standards of care. Castle Connolly maintains a doctor disciplinary research feature that allows you to search medical disciplinary records in all 50 states.

Gender
You should consider if the gender of the ENT matters to you. Some people only feel comfortable with healthcare professionals that are the same gender, others prefer treatment by someone of the opposite gender and some people don’t care at all. The training that ENTs receive is not different based on gender. Gender consideration is more about how you feel than how the ENT was trained or performs treatment. Some conditions require frank discussions and you should consider how you feel discussing intimate details of your life and bodily functions with males or females.

In addition to these five considerations, make sure to check that the ENT you select accepts the insurance you have and the hospital or surgical center they utilize is in your network.

5 Benefits Of A Hearing Test

These days most of us lead pretty busy lives. That means some things get pushed to the back of the line. But when it comes to your health, it’s never a good idea to put things off. That’s especially true when it comes to getting your hearing checked. Now you may be thinking that this is one exam you can put off for a while, especially if you haven’t noticed any symptoms. But there are some very good reasons to get a check-up. Here are five benefits of a hearing test.

1. Better Family Relationships
Often, family members may notice a hearing loss earlier than the person with the issue. This can lead to arguments over the volume of TV and movies or who said what about something. Sometimes people can misinterpret your actions if it appears you’re ignoring them (rather than just not hearing them). Once you have the results of your hearing test, you can take action to fix any problems, including family fights.

2. Hearing The Little Things You Miss
A hearing test provides a roadmap of sorts to allow the audiologist to determine where any hearing loss has occurred and how best to program hearing aids to allow you to hear sounds in that range again. That means you’ll hear sounds you’ve been missing such as a ticking clock, rustling leaves, chirping birds or children’s laughter. It’s certainly one way to brighten up any day!

3. Removing The Uncertainty
If you’re considering getting a hearing exam, you probably suspect that you have some hearing loss. Living with uncertainty is stressful. Hearing tests are painless and take only about an hour of your time. Once you have the results, you can determine how best to move forward. For many people, there is relief in knowing that hearing aids will improve their quality of life.

4. Better Social Relationships
Socializing can be awkward when you’re not hearing portions of conversation due to background noise or if people believe you’re standoffish. There may also be that little issue of not hearing all the details of what the boss says at a meeting. Aren’t you tired of saying, “What?” or asking people to repeat themselves? Studies indicate that better hearing leads to better health as well.

5. Catching Other Health Issues
Sometimes hearing loss is a symptom. It may be caused by an infection or an earwax impaction or potentially serious health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or kidney disease. Hearing loss also is associated with depression, dementia and falls.

When you consider these five benefits of a hearing test, doesn’t it seem important enough to move it to the head of your to-do list? Audiologists have the education and training to determine the cause of any hearing loss and offer treatment options. They’re also there to consult and discuss any concerns you may have about your hearing loss and its impact on your daily routine. If it’s been years since your last hearing test, it’s probably time to see an audiologist.

4 FAQs About Sleep Apnea Surgery

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that prevents a patient from breathing properly when they sleep. Untreated sleep apnea often leads to repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, and this could happen hundreds of times throughout the night. This means that the body and the brain cannot get enough oxygen, causing some serious damage to one’s health.

Sleep apnea surgery is one of the most common treatments for patients with sleep apnea. In this article, we’ll be discussing a couple of the most common questions that people ask about sleep apnea surgery that an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor will perform.

Who Is At Risk Of Developing Sleep Apnea?
Many people believe that sleep apnea is something exclusive to those with weight problems such as obesity. When people are of a healthy weight, they often have enough anatomical space to prevent sleep apnea. As weight is gained, fat is deposited around the throat and this causes the airway to become blocked. This is why many people believe that sleep apnea is exclusive to obese people. However, the reality is that around a third of the world’s population has a deficiency in their craniofacial skeleton. This means that they can be of a healthy body weight yet still suffer from sleep apnea, hence why everyone can potentially develop it.

What Surgery Options Are Available?
Your ENT will likely recommend sleep apnea surgery to help you overcome the disorder. There is nasal surgery, which involves treating nasal obstructions. There’s UPPP, also known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, which involves removing excess tissue from the soft palate and pharynx. There’s also tracheostomy, which involves creating a passageway that allows air to enter the lungs directly from the trachea. There are several different methods, but these are some of the most common that your ENT will suggest.

Will My Sleep Apnea Be Cured In A Single Procedure?
This is sadly not true for most people. In most cases, you may be required to have two or three different surgical procedures to treat your sleep apnea. Only a small number of patients will have their sleep apnea cured in a single procedure. Your ENT will likely suggest the procedure that has the highest chance of success, but if this doesn’t work, then you will be suggested to have follow-up procedures to further reduce the chances of the disorder getting worse.

Can I Have Sleep Apnea Surgery Even With A High BMI?
Procedures are available for people of all sizes and weights. However, different methods (such as tracheostomy) are more likely to be successful for those with a higher BMI. Other methods will prove to be less effective, and it’s possible to consider weight reduction as a more effective means of treating sleep apnea. This is because weight is often the cause of sleep apnea disorders developing in the first place, and it’s believed that treating the root of the problem is the best method.

3 Ways ENTs Treat Vertigo

While many people think of vertigo as a condition, it is always a symptom of something else, usually in the inner ear. Vertigo is a very common symptom for people experiencing inner ear infections, vestibular migraines and a few other conditions.

Vertigo is often described as dizziness, but you may also experience sickness, the sensation that the world is tilting or that you are being pulled in one direction. If you experience vertigo for more than a day or you are having regular bouts that are affecting your daily life, you should go and see your ENT to get help alleviating the symptoms and to find out what the cause could be.

Treating The Symptoms
For many people experiencing vertigo and its related symptoms, the cause is a viral infection and the best course of action is to wait for the virus to go, just as you would with any other. This is because most viruses don’t last much longer than a few weeks, and once they are gone, the vertigo symptoms will also disappear. In the vast majority of cases, people who have vertigo will make a full recovery.

While you are waiting for the virus to burn itself out, you can take travel sickness pills to mitigate the vertigo symptoms. These work by suppressing information passed from the inner ear to the brain making you feel less sick and dizzy as a result. You may also wish to do some exercises to help relieve the symptoms and your ENT will be able to demonstrate them for you to do at home.

Treating The Underlying Condition
If your vertigo is caused by a migraine, your ENT will begin by suggesting ways to minimize the number of migraines you have and their severity. This treatment might include working out what your triggers are and avoiding them, exercises to relieve tension in your neck and preventative medication to reduce the number of attacks you have.

Your diet is also a factor and people with Meniere’s disease may be advised to reduce their salt intake as well as minimizing alcohol and caffeine. As blood flow to the inner ear is thought to be important, your ENT may also prescribe a medication to reduce the pressure in your inner ear.

Performing Surgery On The Inner Ear
In extreme cases where the severity of vertigo symptoms means that the patient is unable to live an ordinary life, an ENT may recommend that surgery is the last option. As surgery to the inner ear often results in partial or total hearing loss in that ear, patients who choose this option have usually tried all other means of treatment first.

There are always new lines of research for vertigo treatment and as researchers begin to understand more about vertigo and the underlying causes, more sophisticated methods of treatment are constantly in development. Ask your ENT for more information to help you make a fully informed decision about how to treat your own set of vertigo symptoms.