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04/Nov/2019

If you have not had your first ENT appointment, you may wonder what to expect when you walk into the appointment. ENT (Ear Nose & Throat) doctors take care of diseases and disorders of the ears, sinus, neck, and throat. ENTs address issues relating to sinus and breathing problems that can stem from allergies and sleeping disorders. After you go through your paperwork with the front office, you can expect your ENT to discuss your medical history, give you an examination and may offer to test you depending on what he or she finds at your initial consultation.

Medical History

It is essential to bring with you any information that will help your ENT understand your unique situation. Such as previous tests or other studies. It is also important to bring a list of medications you are taking so you can discuss the results of taking over the counter or any prescription medications.

Examinations

The ENT will want to examine your ears, your throat, and your neck. This is quick, painless, and a part of the initial appointment. During the examination, the doctor may have more questions for you. So if it helps, make a list of things you would like to know more about or discuss during your visit with your doctor.

Tests

If you have a recurring problem related to sinuses, ear infections, and throat infections, the doctor may want to run some tests to confirm or rule out any concerns. These tests can range, but typically these tests comprise an allergy test, hearing tests, CT scans, and nasal endoscopy.

  • Allergy tests take a little time and are scheduled.
  • Hearing tests are between twenty and thirty minutes.
  • CT scans may be performed elsewhere. Your doctor may not perform this at the office and may refer you, and it takes between 15 and 30 minutes. If your doctor orders a scan without contrast, you will eat and drink as usual. If you are getting a CT scan with contrast, then you cannot eat or drink three hours before the appointment.
  • Nasal Endoscopy is two minutes. Quick and painless but can be a little uncomfortable,  there is not a need to schedule this for a later time.

Treatment

Depending on when the tests are performed, you will discuss treatment options necessary, depending on your unique situation. Each person is unique and has different needs.

  • Prescription medications for allergies or infections
  • Allergy shots based on allergy test panel results
  • Nose sprays can be over the counter or prescription.
  • Home treatments

There are steps you can take at home to help ease any issues you are having. For example, you can buy a nettie pot for your sinuses if you have allergies.

If the pollen is high, you can put a little Aquaphor or Vaseline around your nose when you go outside and wash it off your face once you come in.

  • Wear a hat when you go out if you do not plan to wash your hair immediately after coming inside.
  • Leave all jackets or sweaters you wore in a place isolated from areas of the house you reside in more often.
  • If you have an ear infection and cannot wait, schedule an appointment immediately.

If you have an appointment scheduled with your ENT, make sure to arrive 15 minutes early to complete any paperwork and fill out your medical history. If you need to have tests administered, you will more than likely have to schedule those for a later time. If you are going in for an allergy panel test, they may ask you to reduce or limit any antihistamine 24 hours before your appointment.


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07/Oct/2019

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a frequent problem for individuals.  The dysfunction occurs in the Eustachian tubes that run from your ear to your throat when they become blocked with fluid. Their purpose is to make sure your ear does not back up with fluid or pressure and they are closed unless you are yawning, sneeze or swallow.

Causes

If you have recently suffered a cold, flu, or sinus infection, your Eustachian tube can build-up with fluid. If you have allergy problems, this can also increase the likelihood of a persistent or frequent build up in the ears. There are also other individuals who are more prone to having ETD.

  • Individuals who are obese are more prone. Obesity causes fatty deposits around the ears that creates the blockage.
  • Children are more prone.  Little ones have shorter and more straight Eustachian tubes which increase the likelihood of bacteria and fluid to get into the tube and become trapped.
  • If you smoke. Smoking damages the tiny hairs that sweep mucus away.

Symptoms

The symptoms of ETD can vary from person to person; however, here is a list of the signs to look for if you suspect you have ETD.

  • Ringing in one or both ears.
  • Sounds are muffled.
  • Clicking and popping in the ears.
  • Your ears feel full or plugged.
  • You are having trouble keeping your balance.

Treatment

ETD usually resolves on its own, especially if it results from the flu, a cold or sinus infection. Simple things such as yawning or chewing gum can help pop your ears and relieve the fluid. However, if you have allergies and it is constant, there are a few things you can do from home.

  • Invest in a neti-pot
  • Saline spray is an effective way to clean out the nasal area.
  • A nose spray can also reduce nasal inflammation and allow fluid to move more freely.
  • Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Sudafed or Claritin.

Prevention

The way you can reduce the build-up of fluid in your ears is through prevention.

  • Don’t smoke.
  • If you are overweight, speak to your doctor about a weight loss plan.
  • Use a nose-spray, especially before you go outside if you have allergies.

If you have a constant problem with fluid, speak with your doctor about a treatment plan such as prescription nose sprays or medication that will reduce inflammation. If you suspect your infant has a fluid build-up, feed your child or offer a pacifier to loosen up the fluid. If your baby is tugging at his or her ears, crying more than usual, or waking in the night fussy or crying, it may be an ear infection.

Schedule an Appointment.

If you have tried everything from home and you still have problems with your ears, make an appointment with your doctor to see if you have a fluid build-up or if it is caused by something else. If you have ringing in your ear from tinnitus, you may need to see an audiologist.  Remember prevention is best, but if you are still suffering from a build-up of fluid, there are treatment options your doctor can discuss with you.

 


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26/Jun/2019

Everyone has cleared their throat at one time or another. The reasons differ from person to person; frequent throat clearing can be a sign of an underlying health condition related to allergies.  Apart from allergy-related conditions, frequent throat clearing can show other health-related problems or a habit.

Sometimes you may clear your throat to get another person’s attention or because you felt a tickle in your throat.  Frequent throat clearing may not only indicate a health condition, but it can also damage your vocal cords depending on how much you do it.

Other Throat Conditions

Conditions such as Zenker’s Diverticulum, a person has an unusual pouch that stops food from passing from the esophagus to the stomach.  When this happens, it may cause excess mucus in the throat.   Chronic Motor Tic Disorder starts in children and has other associated symptoms from spasms such as facial grimacing, rapid eye blinking, groans, and grunts.  Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that also creates habits where grunting or throat clearing is a part of a habit or behavioral issue.

If you are not experiencing any conditions relating to neurological disorders, you may have acid reflux.  This can cause a person to clear their throat from a buildup of stomach acid coming up from the esophagus.

Medications can cause you to feel a tickle in your throat or as though something is stuck. Coughing or trying to clear your throat will not help.  Allergy medications such as Sudafed, for example, will dry your mouth out and will cause your throat to feel dry and scratchy.

  • Smoking or being around second-hand smoke can irritate your throat.
  • Environmental allergies like pollen and dust.
  • Food allergies can trigger your throat to tighten or tickle.
  • The side effect of medications can cause a dry mouth and throat.

 

Allergies

Most often, if allergies are something that you deal with, the frequent throat clearing causes excess drainage, at night while you have been laying down and mucus drains when you are sleeping.  If you suspect that your frequent throat clearing is because of any neurological related symptoms, please contact your doctor so you can receive proper testing.  However, if food or environmental allergies are your concern, it may be time to call your allergy or ear nose and throat doctor.

While you are waiting to get into your doctor for an appointment, there are things you can do to ease some symptoms.  Drink plenty of water if you are taking a medication that dries out your mouth.  Avoid smoking or being around anyone who is smoking.  Keep a journal of times when you eat when your throat restricts or you feel a tickle in your throat during or after you eat.  You can use this if you suspect food allergies for notes to provide to your doctor.  Avoid areas where your allergies flare or wear a mask when cleaning or mowing.

Frequent Throat Clearing


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