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Posts for: December, 2021

By West Texas Ear, Nose, Throat and Sinus Institute
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 West Texas Ear, Nose, Throat and Sinus Institute
December 10, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Nosebleeds  
NosebleedsWith the dry winter weather approaching, it’s normal for people to experience more nosebleeds; however, it’s also important to recognize what is causing your nosebleeds so you can take the appropriate measures to prevent them. While most nosebleeds aren’t a cause for concern, sometimes they may require turning to an ENT doctor for more specialized care.

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.
 
Why do nosebleeds keep happening to me?

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.

By West Texas Ear, Nose, Throat and Sinus Institute
December 02, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Strep Throat  
Step ThroatAs the weather gets colder and we gear up for the winter months, we also start to see an uptick in illnesses. Everything from colds and flu to strep throat abound, and ENT doctors certainly start to see more patients. So, how do you know if you’re dealing with a simple sore throat or whether your sore throat might actually be strep? Since strep is the result of a bacterial infection, this problem will require medical treatment to get better.

What is the difference between strep and a sore throat?

Not all sore throats are strep but all strep certainly causes sore throats. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to spot the difference between a good ole sore throat and strep throat. A sore throat is often caused by a viral infection such as a cold, while strep throat is caused by a bacteria called streptococcus. A sore throat will also go away on its own but strep throat won’t.

What are the warning signs of strep?

While strep can happen to both children and adults, ENT doctors most often see it in children. If you have a simple sore throat you’re most likely to also have symptoms of a cold such as a cough, runny nose, or sneezing. A strep throat, on the other hand, can cause,
  • Inflamed, swollen, and red tonsils
  • White or red spots on the roof of the mouth or tonsils
  • A severe sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck
  • Fever (typically over 101 F)
  • Chills
The main difference between a sore throat and strep is that strep won’t produce a cough. If you or your child is experiencing these symptoms it’s time to visit an ear, nose, and throat doctor for treatment.

How is strep treated?

Since strep is caused by a bacterial infection the only course of action is to treat the problem with a round of antibiotics. Since strep throat can cause complications it’s important that you seek treatment for strep as soon as you notice symptoms. Once starting the antibiotics, you should also begin to feel better within 48 hours (but don’t stop taking your medication just because you feel better!). It’s also important to rest and stay hydrated during this time to help your body heal.

If you are experiencing symptoms of strep throat, it’s always best to play it safe and call your ENT doctor. We would be happy to listen to your symptoms over the phone to determine whether you need to come into the office for an evaluation.