What are tonsils?
Your body has built-in defenses that help protect you against infections and harmful bacteria and germs, and your tonsils are your body’s first defense against infection. These two lymph nodes are found on the back of the throat. Unfortunately, even tonsils can fall prey to infection. When this happens, this is known as tonsillitis.
You may be surprised to find out that tonsillitis is contagious, so if a member of your family has this infection it can be spread easily through contact, so it’s important to practice good hygiene and to keep your distance.
What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?
Here are the most common signs and symptoms of tonsillitis:
- A severe sore throat
- Red, inflamed tonsils
- Yellow or white spots on the tonsils
- Painful swallowing
- Bad breath
- Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck
You should also turn to an ENT doctor if you or your child is dealing with chronic or recurring bouts of tonsillitis. In some cases, the tonsils may need to be removed if they are causing severe and persistent infections.
If you are dealing with symptoms of tonsillitis, it’s a good idea to turn to an otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on and to find out whether you may require medication. An ENT doctor is going to be the best specialist to turn to when dealing with conditions that impact your ear, nose, and throat.
What are the signs and symptoms of nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps are typically to blame for chronic inflammation and swelling of the nasal cavity. People with nasal polyps may not realize that they have them, but they may be more likely to deal with other problems such as chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis and other nasal issues are typically what bring people into our ENT practice in the first place. From there, we can run the appropriate diagnostic tests to see if you could be dealing with nasal polyps.
Other warning signs include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Decreased sense of smell
- Loss of smell or taste
- Referred pain in the upper teeth
- Facial pressure and pain
- Recurring nosebleeds
If you are dealing with nasal symptoms that last more than 10 days, then it’s a good idea to see your otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on. After all, these symptoms can also be caused by other respiratory conditions that may require treatment or special care, and it’s important to be able to determine what’s causing your symptoms so we know how to best treat them.
How are nasal polyps treated?
Medication is typically the first line of treatment for managing symptoms of nasal polyps. The most commonly prescribed medications include:
- Antileukotrienes to reduce inflammation
If you are battling symptoms of chronic sinusitis, you could actually be dealing with nasal polyps. Any sinus or nasal symptoms that last for weeks on end should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist.
Your environment, your lifestyle, and your habits can play a role in whether you may be more at risk for developing otomycosis. As you know, fungus is everywhere, and it can be easy to pick up a fungal infection in warm or tropical climates. This is why your ENT doctor also sees a rise in fungal ear infections during the summer months.
If you swim in water that is contaminated, you could also leave with a fungal infection. Those with chronic health problems, eczema, or a weak immune system are at a much higher risk for developing otomycosis. If you develop itchy, red skin of the ear, or you notice changes in hearing or fullness in the ears, you must see a qualified ENT doctor as soon as possible. After all, fungal infections will not usually go away on their own without treatment.
First, we will need to examine the inside of your ear using an otoscope. We may also need to swab the area to determine whether the infection is bacterial or fungal. This is important as this will determine which medication will be most effective. We will also ask you questions regarding your symptoms, when they started, and your medical history.
Once we have determined that the ear infection is fungal, we will clean out the ears and then prescribe an antifungal medication. This medication may be in the form of a pill, ointment, or eardrops. While eardrops and ointment are more common treatment options, your otolaryngologist might prescribe an oral antifungal if you have a more severe or unresponsive fungal infection.
You say “huh” a lot
Do you often need people to repeat themselves? Has the word “huh” suddenly become your word of the day, every day? Having people repeat themselves is often a sign of hearing loss. Instead of assuming that everyone around you has suddenly started mumbling, it might be time to have your hearing checked by an audiologist.
You don’t hear certain sounds
Surprised to know that there was someone at the door? Did your son, daughter, or grandchild have to tell you that the kitchen timer’s been going off? Certain sounds such as a doorbell, phone ringing, or timers are often more difficult to notice if you are dealing with hearing loss. If others hear sounds clearly that you don’t, it’s time to see your doctor.
You turn the volume up
Much to your family’s chagrin, you just can’t seem to hear the TV or the radio unless you turn the volume way up. You may even notice that other members of your family have no trouble hearing the TV when you do. Again, these are signs that you shouldn’t ignore. Additionally, having to turn the volume up on your headphones or the TV can also be dangerous to your hearing and lead to more severe hearing loss down the road.
You need to look at someone while they’re talking
Do you find that you need to be looking directly at someone to understand what they are saying? Do you have trouble understanding people who are talking to you but might be standing behind you? People with hearing loss often need to look at faces to understand what a person is saying. That’s because they are usually reading lips. If you find yourself staring at people’s lips while talking to them this could be a sign that your hearing isn’t what it used to be.
An ENT doctor is going to be key to detecting and treating your hearing loss, but it’s important to turn to a doctor as soon as possible. They can provide you with hearing aids and implants that can treat everything from mild to profound hearing loss. If you want to be part of the conversation again turn to an ENT doctor today for a hearing evaluation.
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