Symptoms of Ear Infections in Adults

Symptoms of Ear Infections in Adults

It’s probably been years or even decades since you’ve experienced the agony of an ear infection. This is because babies and children are the typical victims. Their tiny Eustachian tubes (the canals that run from the middle ear to the throat) can easily block, resulting in a fluid backup. As this fluid sits, bacteria festers behind the eardrum. This is called a middle ear infection or otitis media.

But even though ear infections are common in children, adults aren’t exactly immune to them. Tobacco smoke, allergies, viruses, sinus infections, or overgrown adenoids can all cause your Eustachian tubes to swell and malfunction. The symptoms for an adult middle ear infection could be different from a child, so watch out for the following signs:

Ear Pain

Ear pain is the most common and indicative symptom of an ear infection. It can be sharp and sudden or dull and lingering. You may also have pressure and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Even though this symptom is typical, it is not universal. Keep in mind that some adults with ear infections never feel pain. They could, however, encounter one of the other symptoms mentioned below.

Ear Drainage

You could see slight drainage from your ear in the same way you get a runny nose from a cold. If yellow or green fluid suddenly drains from your ear, it’s possible that the eardrum has ruptured. This is serious and you will need to see an ear doctor as soon as possible if this happens.

Hearing Loss

It probably won’t be forever, but hearing loss is a possible symptom of middle ear infections. The blockage in your ear canal will likely cause some impaired hearing, which could come and go. Chronic or recurrent ear infections can cause lasting damage, resulting in more severe or even permanent hearing loss. You’ll need to visit an ENT specialist to find the right treatment for your ear condition.

Flu-like Symptoms

If a virus caused your ear infection, you may experience fever, nasal congestion, coughing, malaise, and appetite loss, or even gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. All of these symptoms could mask the fact that you have an ear infection so you may not even realize it’s there at all. 

Breathe Clear Institute Can Treat Adult Ear Infections

Even though plenty of ear infections heal on their own, they can be painful and scary. Whether you’re experiencing an acute case or a chronic ear infection, our ENT doctors and medical professionals are determined to get you better. Our services range from minor antibiotic treatments and myringotomies to more invasive eardrum and eustachian tube surgeries. 

At Breathe Clear Institute, we understand that not all patients (or ear infections) are the same. We take a holistic approach to medicine instead of one-size-fits-all. Expect to be treated as an individual. We will perform a thorough examination and run all necessary tests before devising the best treatment for your case. Schedule an appointment with Breathe Clear Institute and get some much-needed relief from your ear infection.

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Acid reflux management

Acid reflux

Much like heartburn, acid reflux is a painful burning sensation in your chest and throat. It is caused by stomach acid being pushed back up into the esophagus and can be very uncomfortable. The more scientific term for it is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

Ways to relieve and prevent it 

We all have our own tricks to quickly relieve acid reflux when it’s needed. Rather than play a guessing game, we want to provide you with a variety of ways to reduce and prevent your acid reflux from flaring up. Below is a list of lifestyle changes that can help reduce acid reflux over time. 

  • When eating, chew and swallow with intention  to digest your food at a slower rate; eat dinner earlier so gravity doesn’t interfere with digestion; eat smaller, low-fat, high-protein meals throughout the day (rather than three big meals a day)
  • Elevate your head while sleeping and sleep on your left side – this causes less pressure on your stomach to reduce the amount of acid reaching the esophagus 
  • Chewing gum with bicarbonate can neutralize acid and prevent reflux
  • Avoid carbonated beverages, limit coffee and alcohol intake, limit citrus juice – all are common triggers in acid reflux flare-ups
  • Limit high-fat foods and too many carbohydrates – undigested carbs can cause gas, bloating, and burping
  • Manage your weight to stay within a healthy range for your figure 
  • Check to your medications to see if acid reflux is a side effect and talk to your doctor and make changes accordingly
  • Quit smoking – it increase amount of acid secreted in the stomach and lessens the muscle strength that prevents reflux
  • Click here for a detailed list of food and beverages that should be avoided

Most of these tips will help your overall health and should be considered changes everyone can make to live better and longer. Like most health conditions, diet and exercise are important to monitor for optimal results. If you’re obses, talk to a doctor about creating a plan to safely lose substantial weight over a planned amount of time. 

Furthermore, wearing loose clothing, opting not to wear a tight belt, sleeping in a chair at a more elevated angle can improve acid reflux symptoms in the moment, but they are not cure-alls. 

Over-the-counter medicines are also available for purchase for quick relief from acid reflux. Some popular products and brands include Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta, Maalox, Alka-Seltzer, and Pepto-Bismol. Milk of magnesia, and aluminum hydroxide gel are alternatives to big brand name products. Your local pharmacy will have one or more of these for purchase, if you’re ever without them or in a bind. 

Treat your acid reflux – Schedule an appointment with Breathe Clear Institute 

If acid reflux is a problem in your everyday life and nothing seems to be working at home, it’s time to make an appointment with the team at the Breathe Clear Institute to further investigate what’s going on. In the meantime, keep watching your diet and continue any at-home remedies that have given relief. We will help you get your acid reflux under control.

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What Are the Causes of a Sore Throat?

What are the Causes of a Sore Throat?

It happens to the best of us — that painful, scratchy feeling you get at the back of your throat. It’s hard to swallow and talk. Perhaps it’s even challenging your ability to eat and sleep. Desperate for relief, you may find yourself sucking on throat lozenges or trying your hand at a home remedy. But what is causing it? And how can you know if your sore throat is something serious? Here are some likely causes for your throat irritation:

1. Viral Infections

The most common cause of a sore throat is a viral infection. In fact, viruses are to blame for about 90% of all reported sore throats. If you’re experiencing other symptoms, such as a fever or body aches, this is the biggest clue that a virus is the culprit. If the problem persists, you should probably see your doctor. They may diagnose you with one of the following viral infections:

  • The common cold
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Mono (mononucleosis)
  • Measles
  • Chickenpox 
  • Mumps
  • COVID-19 (coronavirus disease)
  • Croup 

2. Bacterial Infections

Bacteria could also be the agent of your throat discomfort. This is more typical in children and youth but adults aren’t immune to the possibility. A bacterial infection will usually be present in the tonsils or even the throat itself. The most common sore throat-causing bacteria are:

  • Strep throat
  • Tonsillitis
  • STIs (like gonorrhea and chlamydia)

3. Environmental Irritants

The very air you breathe could be irritating your throat. If the air is dry, your throat will be dry, causing that scratchy feeling we all know and don’t love. Other bothersome particles in the air may also be making their way into your throat. It could be from:

  • Pollution
  • Smoke (fire or tobacco)
  • Dust and dirt
  • Cleaning products
  • Other chemicals

4. Allergies

When allergens like pollen or mold trigger allergic reactions, it can cause sinus symptoms like congestion and a runny nose. The increase in mucus will cause postnasal drip. As mucus repetitively drips down the back of your throat, it will cause irritation and soreness. 

5. Tonsil Stones

Also called tonsilloliths, tonsil stones are deposits formed within the crevices of your tonsils. Debris from food, dead cells, saliva, and mucus can get trapped in tonsils pits and build up over time. This also attracts odorous bacteria and fungi. When tonsil stones become large or increase in number, they can cause a distinct sore throat.

6. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition where your stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. When the acid makes its way up your throat, it will subsequently cause pain, burning, and hoarseness. 

7. Throat Injury

Ever wake up with a sore throat after a fun-filled day at the theme park or a music festival? Overusing your vocal cords by screaming or singing can injure your throat and cause temporary or prolonged soreness. Food can also injure your throat if it’s too hot or gets stuck.

8. Tumors

Though uncommon, tumors of the throat, voice box, or tongue can also lead to sore throats. If a sore throat continues for an extended period, you should probably see an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor) and get a cancer screening. Your throat doctor may also check for other accompanying symptoms such as visible lumps, difficulty swallowing, or blood in the saliva.

Schedule an Appointment with Breathe Clear Institute 

Some sore throats are benign and go away on their own. But if you’re plagued by a persistent sore throat or are worried it could be serious, the medical professionals at Breathe Clear Institute can help. We take a holistic approach to health and will start by diagnosing the root cause of your discomfort to then customize a throat treatment plan for your specific needs. Schedule an appointment with an ENT from Breathe Clear institute and start feeling better today!

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Reasons It May Be Time to See an ENT Doctor

Signs You Need To Schedule an Appointment with an ENT

Experiencing discomfort in your ears, nose, or throat can indicate a more serious issue or condition, especially if it’s been for a long period of time. An ENT doctor specializes in the  management and treatment of conditions affecting the ear, nose, and throat and related structures in the head and neck. Learn about some of the possible signs for needing medical attention from an ENT. 

Painful Earaches

An earache is often a symptom of an ear infection, which is when a virus or bacteria causes inflammation of the inner, middle, or outer ear. Ear infections can be the result of colds, the flu, allergies, throat infections, or water in the ear after swimming. An ENT can determine whether you have an ear infection or there is another issue at hand. 

A Chronic Sinus Infection

Sinuses, when healthy, are empty chambers in the face and forehead. Unfortunately, sinuses are susceptible to inflammation and infection. When a person experiences inflammation and infection for three months or more, this means that he or she most likely has chronic sinusitis. Common symptoms associated with this include congestion, nasal discharge, facial pain and pressure in the sinus region, and loss or reduction in the sense of smell. If you have been suffering from similar symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with an ENT to figure out what is causing the infection and the best way to to treat it. 

Poor Sleep Quality

Having difficulty sleeping or feeling tired throughout the day? Has your partner mentioned that you snore or a pause in your breathing? If you are struggling with your sleep, there is a chance you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes an individual to stop breathing repeatedly when asleep. If left untreated, this disorder can be associated with serious health problems. Seeing an ENT is crucial to get to the root of your issue and treat it so you can improve your sleep quality. 

Frequent Tonsil Infections

If you experience frequent tonsil infections, it is best to see an ENT. Tonsil infections, also known as tonsillitis, can be caused by viruses or by bacteria such as strep. Tonsil stones can also trigger tonsil irritation and possibly infection. Symptoms of a tonsil infection include a sore throat and difficulty swallowing. While antibiotics can treat the occasional bacterial infection, if the infections become frequent or prolonged, an ENT may suggest a tonsillectomy to more definitively treat the problem. 

Allergic Reaction

While it’s true allergies cause symptoms like nasal congestion, watery or itchy eyes, and sneezing, they can also affect the throat, skin, ears, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. If you experience an allergic reaction, it is important to see an ENT specialist. The doctor may recommend a skin allergy test or a blood allergy test to determine what is triggering your allergies. 

Get the Relief You Need From Breathe Clear

Don’t let your symptoms get worse. Take control of your health and contact Breathe Clear Institute today. It is our goal to help alleviate your suffering through effective, minimally invasive treatment options that are tailored just for you. Get the relief you need and deserve from a team that is dedicated to giving you the best possible care.

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Diagnosing and Treating Allergies During the Fall Months

Don’t Let Allergies Ruin Your Season 

As we head deeper into fall, the temperature begins to cool down, the leaves fall to the ground, and the sun fades faster into the night sky. This time of year is allergy season. You have an allergy when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, also known as an allergen. Allergies affect almost 50 million Americans each year. Age does not discriminate against them, and they can even develop throughout your lifetime. Sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes: the list of symptoms goes on. To alleviate the symptoms you are suffering from, it’s important to properly diagnose them. Besides the standard over-the-counter medication, there are different treatment options for relieving allergy symptoms including allergy testing, allergy shots, and allergy drops. 

Fall Allergies

Plants emit pollen at different times throughout the year, but some allergens that can trigger your symptoms during the fall are ragweed pollen, mold, and dust mites. One of the most common triggers for allergies is ragweed, which can pollinate into October. Even if it’s not close to where you live, ragweed can still travel hundreds of miles, causing reactions you thought you could avoid. In addition to ragweed, there are leaves that fall to the ground, collecting mold as moisture hits them. This mold can then be tracked into your home. Dust mites find their way into air filters and heaters, allowing for a reaction to occur within the comfort of your own home.

Symptoms 

The most common symptoms of allergies include sneezing, an itchy, runny, stuffy nose and watery or itchy eyes. These can bring great discomfort to those who experience them, which is why finding an effective treatment is important. 

Treatment Options

Before deciding on the most effective treatment for your allergy symptoms, it is important to conduct a detailed assessment, noting all potential triggers. From there, tests may be recommended by specialists to discover more triggers and choose the best treatment plan. Allergy testing gives insights to what triggers a patient’s symptoms. The allergies are indicated by bumps on the skin and patients may feel some itchiness as a result. While some people choose to relieve their allergies with over-the-counter treatments and medications, people who wish to cure their allergies for good can opt for in-office treatments including allergy shots and allergy drops. 

Allergy Shots 

Allergy shots help to increase resistance to allergens, reducing symptoms. Doses are increased with each visit over a six month period. Patients are able to administer the shots on their own thereafter.

Allergy Drops

Allergy drops are customized to treat the allergens that affect you. The first dose is administered in-office, but can be done wherever after your initial visit. The drops are placed under the tongue and work to reduce your immune system’s overreaction to allergens. 

Find the Right Allergy Treatment With Breathe Clear Institute 

Don’t let your allergies bring you down this fall. If your symptoms are affecting your quality of life, it’s time to get the relief you deserve. Take our allergy quiz and schedule an appointment with the specialists at Breathe Clear Institute. We will diagnose your symptoms and choose the best treatment option for you.

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Fluid In The Ear Vs. An Ear Infection: Know The Difference

Is It Really An Ear Infection?

Your ears aren’t something you think about on a regular basis, but you use them every day. When they cause you pain or discomfort, you notice them on a whole new level. Ear infections are common in children and adults get them on occasion. However, ear infections aren’t the only issues that arise within the ears. There can also be fluid in the ears, which is sometimes called swimmer’s ear, which can cause discomfort in a number of ways.

Fluid In The Ears

If you or your child has ear pain after swimming, there may be fluid in the ears, which some people refer to as swimmer’s ear. This is an irritation of the skin that lines the canal within the ear or the narrow tube at the bottom that attaches to the eardrum. When water from the shower, swimming pool, or a body of water gets trapped in the ears, the lining becomes swollen and wet, which can cause bacteria to grow.

Symptoms

If you have fluid in your ears, you might see clear liquid leaking from your ears. Your ear can feel itchy, plugged, or full at times. The pain in your ear will increase when you move your ear up and down or when you push the tissue on the front of your ear. The outer ear could also swell and look red.

Treatment Options

Swimmer’s ear can usually be treated at home with pain medication and over-the-counter ear drops to keep the canal dry. Symptoms usually improve in three days, but if the pain persists, visit with an ENT doctor.

Prevention Tips

The best way to avoid pain is to prevent swimmer’s ear from occurring. After showering or swimming, tilt your head to one side to let the water run out and let the ear dry off. You can also set a hair dryer on low and hold it at arm’s length away to dry that area. Don’t use cotton swabs to clean your ears out, as it can pack ear wax further into the ear and trap water along with it.

Ear Infections

Ear infections occur when the middle ear cavity swells because the Eustachian tube is blocked causing fluid to build up and bacteria to grow. Ear infections are often caused by the common cold and they are most noticeable after the cold has settled in for a few days.

Symptoms

Ear infections will cause decreased hearing, ear drainage, and possibly loss of balance. The ears will be painful and there may be discomfort in and around the ear. It can be hard to sleep and a fever may also be present.

Treatment Options

Treatments for ear infections often include pain medication, cold pack application, or antibiotics. Your ENT doctor will need to see you to prescribe the correct medication according to the severity of your infection.

Prevention Tips

You can’t prevent every ear infection, but avoiding people who have colds, avoiding cigarette smoke and keeping your allergies under control will helpl.

 

Understanding Ear Infections And Fluid In The Ears

Since you aren’t an expert, it can be hard to tell the difference between an ear infection versus fluid in the ears. When in doubt, visit an ENT doctor who can diagnose the problem with ease and put you on the right path to healing.

Do You Have A Sinus Infection?

A Sinus Infection Or A Cold?

While it’s never good to self-diagnose, when you come down with something, you may want to know what you have and how to treat it. Do you have a simple cold that will go away in a few days or is it something more serious? Your cold could start out simple, then move into the sinuses and become infected. It’s good to recognize the symptoms so you know when to get help and when to wait and let it heal on its own.

What Is Sinusitis?

A sinus infection occurs when the nasal cavities become infected, inflamed, and swollen. It is usually caused by a virus that persists and settles into the sinuses even after your other respiratory symptoms pass. Bacteria and fungus can also cause an infection in the sinuses, as well as other conditions like allergies, which can also contribute to your pain and symptoms in that area.

Types Of Sinus Infections

Acute sinusitis lasts for a short time—less than four weeks. These infections are usually part of a cold or another illness that settles into the sinuses and becomes infected. Chronic sinus infections, however, last for twelve weeks or longer or may occur over and over again. Many of the symptoms of a sinus infection are similar, even if you don’t know if it’s acute or chronic. See your doctor to find out if you have an infection, but in the meantime, watch for these signs.

-Sinus Pain

The most common symptom of a sinus infection is pain in the sinuses. There are sinuses behind your nose, as well as above and below your eyes. Any of these areas can hurt when they are infected. The swelling in those areas can cause a dull ache or pressure. You might also feel pain in the forehead, jaws, and teeth or between your eyes. Some also have a headache as a symptom.

-Nasal Discharge

When you have a sinus infection, you will probably blow your nose often and the nasal discharge will be green, yellow, or cloudy. The discharge comes from the infection and drains into the nasal passage. You might also have a sore throat as the discharge can bypass your nose and drain down your throat.

-Nasal Congestion

Inflamed sinuses can also prevent you from breathing through your nose. The swelling occurs in the sinuses, as well as the nasal passages. You may not be able to taste or smell and your voice might sound like you are stuffed up.

When To See A Doctor For a Sinus Infection

If you have one or more of the symptoms of a sinus infection and you also have a fever or other pain, you will want to see a doctor. The professionals at Breathe Clear Institute want to help you clear up any infections as quickly as possible so you can go on with your everyday life in a comfortable, healthy manner. If you have infections often, let’s get to the bottom of the situation and work out a solution.

Do You Need A Tonsillectomy?

You Might Need A Tonsillectomy If…

A tonsillectomy is one of the most common surgeries performed on children, but there are also adults that could benefit from the procedure. Despite your age, having your tonsils removed can prevent recurring sore throats or tonsillitis. How do you know if a tonsillectomy is the right treatment for you? Of course, you will want to discuss the matter with your doctor, but there are several signs that can help you recognize if this might be the right option for you.

You Have Chronic Tonsillitis Pain

Tonsillitis occurs when your tonsils are inflamed and infected. If you get tonsillitis often, you will usually have a fever along with a sore throat that makes it painful to swallow. The fever will also make you feel weak. Tonsillitis is often treated with antibiotics, but if you get it often, it can be a chronic condition that is better treated with a tonsillectomy. If you have five or more infections in one year, you have a chronic condition that needs to be evaluated to see if removing your tonsils is the best option.

You Have Antibiotic Issues

If the infections do not respond to antibiotics, or if you are allergic to the antibiotics that are generally used for inflamed tonsils, then removing them might be the best option for you. You won’t have to worry about further inflammation or medication issues in the future.

You Have Enlarged Tonsil Problems

If your tonsils are enlarged, you could have trouble swallowing and you could also have sleep apnea, where you stop breathing when you sleep. The tonsils can be removed to help treat the condition and take the obstruction out of your throat. Tonsillectomy will more likely cure sleep apnea completely in children than in adults, but it is a good start even for adults.

There Are Abnormal Growths In The Area

Tonsil cancer is on the rise today and if you have a growth on your tonsils, you might need a tonsillectomy to rule out cancer as the cause. If there is a mass on the tonsils or chronic pain on one side that leads to asymmetry or trouble swallowing, a tonsillectomy is a good choice. If there is any cause for concern, the tonsils would be removed instead of doing a biopsy.

See Your Doctor For Advice On A Tonsillectomy

Sore throats are not uncommon, so it can be hard to know when you need to see the ENT doctors at Breathe Clear Institute about a possible tonsillectomy. If you have pain on just one side of the throat and it is hard to swallow, fevers, as well as recurring sore throats, you will want to come into the Breathe Clear Institute. Also, watch for swollen lymph nodes and a white or yellow coating on the tonsils. When in doubt, come see us and we’ll do a thorough examination and provide recommendations for you.

Tips for Caring For Someone With Vertigo

Being An Effective Vertigo Caregiver

If someone you know and love suffers from vertigo, you can understand how miserable it is. Just imagine how you feel when you spin in circles for a long time and then get dizzy. Those who suffer from vertigo can have episodes that occur suddenly. They might be dizzy, have nausea, get headaches, or just feel an overall sense of fatigue. It can affect their quality of life and their ability to do daily tasks, amongst other things.

While vertigo can be difficult to live with, there are several recommended tips you can use to provide some relief to a loved one. Use these tips to help care for someone struggling with vertigo issues.

Tip 1: Lend A Hand

The first tip is to lend a hand when it is appropriate to do so. If vertigo prevents your loved one from completing certain tasks, step in and finish them for them. They might need some help cleaning or they might need you to do the dishes after a meal. They might even need you to cook, depending on when the dizzy spells occur. Stay close by when it starts and let them know you are there for whatever they need. While they rest, you can take care of what needs to get done. Help them get somewhere stable so they are in a safe place while you work on the other tasks.

Tip 2: Keep Medication Close

Vertigo can come on without a moment’s notice, so it is important to have pertinent medication nearby at all times. If you are out and about running errands with your loved one, make sure the medication is with you so that you can help them cope with the symptoms right away. They shouldn’t’ have to wait until you get home to take medication. It is best to have immediate relief from the worst of the symptoms.

Tip 3: Stay Up To Date With Health Providers

Visit the doctor with your loved one and ensure the medical condition causing the vertigo is well attended. See the doctor regularly and address the vertigo as a concern with them. You are likely to receive helpful tips, medication updates, and other important information that will broaden your ability to help your loved one.

Tip 4: Be Available

The biggest thing you can do for your loved one is to simply be available to help with their needs, whatever those might be. They have no control over their symptoms and when they might start, so you need to be available when they need assistance. Being present will ultimately go a long way.

Treat The Vertigo The Right Way

If you need help with treating vertigo, visit with the trusted experts at Breathe Clear Institute. We’re here to get to the bottom of the issue and assist loved ones who may be struggling with this condition. Give us a call today and let’s set up a consultation to go over the details with you.

What Causes Eustachian Tube Blockage?

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction And Blockage

Eustachian tube problems are often associated with ear infections. In fact, if you don’t have trouble with ear infections, you may never even heard of the Eustachian Tube. However, if you do have ear infections, you will be familiar with the phrase. The Eustachian Tube can be blocked for a variety of reasons. This tube ventilates the middle ear space and ensures that the pressure remains normal in the area. It also drains secretions that are in the middle ear space. You can understand why a blockage to that tube would be an issue to the function of the ear. When the function is blocked, sounds are muffled, and the ear feels full.

Causes Of Eustachian Tube Blockage

The most common cause of a blockage is the common cold or an upper respiratory infection. Sinus infections and allergies can also cause the tissue in the lining of the tube to swell. Stuffy noses lead to stuffy ears. Children see these blockages more often because their tubes are more narrow and horizontal. Some adults have smaller Eustachian tubes and that can lead to more blockage issues. Smoking is also associated with damaging the Eustachian tube in the back of the nose area, which can cause more blockage.

Signs That There Is An Eustachian Tube Blockage

If your Eustachian Tube is dysfunctional or blocked, you will feel like your ears are full, though it may be intermittent. You might also have a popping in your ears, like when you are on a plane. You could also feel like sounds are muffled and you could hear a ringing in your ears at times. You may even get off balance when your ears are blocked in this manner.

The Use Of Home Remedies

Not all blockages are in need of treatment. There are some simple things you can do at home to clear the tube in order to allow yourself to heal. The simple act of swallowing helps the muscles in the back of the throat open up the Eustachian Tube, for example. You can do things that promote swallowing like chewing gum, eating, or drinking. Yawning is also effective because it activates even stronger muscles. If you feel like you are blocked in that area, it is not a good idea to fly because that can make things worse. At times, you may also need medical treatment for your symptoms.

What Are The Medical Treatments?

Those with a Eustachian Tube blockage can take nasal spray or decongestants to help things clear up until the infections subside. Acid reflux control can also help lessen the irritation to the back of the nose where this tube opens up. In severe situations, a pressure equalization tube (PET) can be surgically placed in the eardrum to replace the function of the Eustachian Tube. That will equalize the pressure in the middle ear. Young children who have frequent ear infections due to a poor Eustachian Tube function often have this done in order to prevent further infections.

Fluid In The Ear Vs. An Ear Infection: Know The Difference

Different Diagnosis, Different Treatment

Earaches can be miserable and you may want to run to the pharmacy to find a medication to give you relief; however, the ear has different parts that, when infected, can cause pain.  It is important to know which part of the ear is the source of the problem in order to get the correct treatment.

What Are Symptoms Of Having Fluid In Your Ear?

One potential source of ear problems is the middle ear.  This is the small chamber behind the eardrum where the hearing bones are located.  If fluid gets trapped in the middle ear, you may experience a variety of symptoms. At mthe inimum, you will feel a clogged sensation or even reduced hearing.  Pressure and pain may also result. Sometimes your ears will pop and this may be brought on by yawning or opening your jaw widely. This may bring some relief but it is often temporary.   Descending in an airplane or diving will typically worsen your symptoms.

What Causes The Fluid?

Anyone can get fluid trapped behind their eardrum, but it occurs more often in children because of their anatomy. Children’s ear pressure regulating tubes, formally called eustachian tubes, are shorter and flatter than those in adults. The result is that they tend not to function as well. Eustachian tube dysfunction is often associated with allergies, congestion from a cold, enlarged adenoid, cigarette smoke, and oral abnormalities like a cleft palate.

What Are Symptoms Of Having An Actual Ear Infection?

Ear infections are usually painful. The pain might be sharp or dull and continuous. The ear could also feel full and you could have muffled hearing. You may also have drainage from your ear, feel nauseous, and have a fever. Ringing in your ear is another possible symptoms.

What Causes An Ear Infection?

Ear infections happen when one or both of the eustachian tubes is swollen or blocked, causing fluid to build up in the middle ear. When that fluid becomes infected, you have an ear infection. Blockage of the eustachian tubes can occur for a variety of reasons including allergies, a common cold, sinus infection, smoking or smoke exposure, excess mucous, changes in air pressure, and infected or enlarged adenoids.

What Is The Difference In Treatments?

If you have fluid in the ear, treatment often includes pain relievers or even a round of antibiotics.  Certain nasal sprays can also be helpful since the eustachian tubes actually drain into the back of the nose. If the fluid continues despite medical treatment, you may need tubes placed in your ears and at times your adenoids may need to be removed if they are contributing to the problem.

How Have The Treatments Of Ear Infections Improved Over Time?

Technology and advancements have improved the treatment of ear infections. Today, many over-the-counter medications are available to help alleviate pain. Fast pain relief is often the focus of treatment, especially with children. There are also advanced minimally invasive procedures such as eustachian tube dilation that can prevent chronic ear infections from occurring to relieve pain and other issues.

Can People Prevent Ear Infections And Fluid In The Ear?

While there is no way to prevent all ear infections, there are certain things you can do to minimize your risk of getting one. Avoid smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke. Wash your hands frequently to prevent infections from spreading.  Identify and treat underlying allergy or sinus problems aggressively.

The Real Reasons You’re Snoring And How To Stop It

What Is Snoring?

Snoring is the sound of tissue at the back of the throat vibrating when airflow becomes obstructed during sleep. The sound is sometimes soft, but it can also be loud and annoying. Snoring can be one of the factors involved in sleep deprivation.

What Age Do People Usually Start Snoring?

There is no set age for snoring to begin. Even children can snore regularly; however, snoring generally gets worse with age. This is because as we age there is a change in muscle tone. In addition, there can be an increase in weight and nasal congestion.  Hormonal changes can also play a role. Some people never snore, some snore on occasion, and then there are those who snore every night.

What Are The Most Common Reasons For Snoring?

Snoring happens airflow is restricted and the tissue at the back of the throat vibrates. Risk factors for snoring include obesity and a thick neck.  Being a man is also a risk factor. Crowding at the back of the throat due to a large or obstructive tongue, large tonsils or other anatomical factors are also associated with an increased risk of snoring. Some people may snore only on their back when the tongue can drop to the back of your mouth, obstructing airflow.

What Can People Do For Immediate Relief?

While not all snoring can be easily remedied, there are many options that take care of the issue. First, try changing your sleeping position by lying on your side. A body pillow can help you maintain that position. Second, it might help to avoid alcohol, smoking, and other drugs. It is also important to lose weight. In addition, try to keep your nasal passages open by rinsing your nose out with a salt water rinse before bed. If these easy remedies do not work, you will want to consult with an ENT specialist for further help.

How Does Snoring Affect Sleep Patterns?

Snoring can certainly disrupt a good night of sleep. The sound of snoring can wake you up, even if it is you doing the snoring. You may not be aware you are snoring or that it is waking you, but it can cause fragmented sleep and disrupt the natural progression of sleep. Snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea. Around half of those who regularly snore have sleep apnea, which means they stop breathing for 10 seconds or more at a time.

What Are The Most Commonly Recommended Treatments For Snoring?

Most doctors will prescribe lifestyle modification as the first line of defense against snoring. That means perhaps losing weight, sleep position training, allergy treatments, and other remedies. If your snoring interrupts your sleep, we encourage you to seek help through a consultation with the Breathe Clear Institute. We can help provide the best type of treatment depending on the cause of your snoring. Sleep is a highly important part of your overall daily health. Once you have the relief you need, you’ll sleep better and feel better.

Aera Balloon For Eustachian Tube Problems

Eustachian Tube: What Is It?

The Eustachian tube is a small passageway that connects the back of the nose to the middle ear.  It keeps air pressure and fluid from building up inside of the ear. Another very important function of the Eustachian tube is to drain mucus from the middle ear, helping prevent middle ear infections.

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction Symptoms

If the Eustachian tube is impaired or abnormal, it is referred to as Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. Symptoms of this disorder include the feeling that your ears are plugged or full. Sounds might seem muffled or quieter and you may feel a popping or clicking sensation in your ear. When children are experiencing problems with their Eustachian tube, they will often develop fluid trapped behind the eardrum which can result in temporary hearing loss or even an infection of the middle ear. Adults are less likely to have an ear infection; however, they commonly experience symptoms when the Eustachian tube is stressed such as when descending in an airplane, diving or even when driving up or down a large hill or mountain.

What Causes Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

The Eustachian tube opens at the back of the nose and so it can easily become inflamed when the internal lining of the nose is swollen. Suffering from a cold, the flu, allergies, or a sinus infection can all be culprits. In children, the Eustachian tubes are shorter and less angled than in adults so it’s easier for bacteria to reach the middle ear and become trapped there. Smokers are at an increased risk as well because toxins decrease our cells’ natural ability to clear mucus.

How It’s Diagnosed

The best option is to see a specialist like Dr. Davis to get an accurate diagnosis of Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. He will fully examine your ear canals and eardrums, along with your nasal passages and the back of your nose and throat. A simple test called a tympanogram may be performed as well. After that, he can determine what the best course of action will be.

Eustachian Tube Dilation

One of the treatment options that gets to the root of Eustachian tube problems is called Eustachian tube balloon dilation. The ultimate goal of this procedure is to relieve or decrease the feeling of fullness, pressure, and clogging that is synonymous with Eustachian Tube Dysfunction.

Balloon Dilation can be performed in our office. Dr. Davis uses a small endoscope to help guide the balloon through the nose to the back of the nasal cavity and then into the eustachian tube. Once it’s in the right place he will gently inflate the balloon which will dilate the eustachian tube. After that, he will deflate and remove the balloon. Both ears can be treated during the same visit.  While this is typically an office-based treatment, if the nasal passages are narrow then dilation might need to be done under sedation in a nearby operating room. Eustachian tube balloon dilation can provide relief to symptoms quickly, and there is no downtime after the procedure. We are happy to answer any other questions you might have over the phone or in person.

Treating A Deviated Septum

Causes And Solutions For Your Deviated Septum

Your nasal septum is the wall inside your nose that divides the nasal cavity in half. It’s made up of bone and cartilage and runs through the midline of your nasal cavity so each side is of equal size. If you have a deviated septum, that means your nasal septum is off-center. According to some ear, nose, and throat specialists, the nasal septum is off center at least a little in a large majority of the population. You might be born that way or you may have had a nose injury.

How To Detect A Deviated Septum

If you have trouble breathing through your nose, you may have a deviated septum. The most common symptom that we see of a deviated septum is nasal obstruction, specifically when one side of the nose is more obstructed than the other. Other signs of a deviated septum include having frequent sinus infections, nosebleeds, facial pain, headache, or postnasal drip. Do you suffer from snoring? A deviated septum may be a contributing factor.

How Are You Diagnosed?

Your ENT (or ear, nose, and throat specialist) can review your history and perform a physical exam. Be clear about your symptoms and detail any nose related issues you’ve had in the past years. Once you decide your symptoms are severe enough to see a doctor, they will examine the nasal mucosa of each nostril with an endoscrope, which is a lighted camera, to get a full view of tissues, structures, and septum within the nose.

Deviated Septum Treatments

An off-center nasal septum is common and you may not require treatment at all if it doesn’t bother you; however, if your doctor says your deviated septum is causing chronic issues such as difficulty breathing, sinus infections, nosebleeds, facial pain or even headaches, you may want treatment to resolve these issues. The first step is medical therapy, such as nasal sprays, which can help with breathing better through the nose. If you cannot control the symptoms that way, you might require a surgical procedure called septoplasty.

Ask About Septoplasty

Septoplasty includes a small incision in the nasal septum so it can be straightened. The surgeon can remove extra cartilage and bone in the area that might have forced the septum to be off-center in the first place. Once it is straight, you will have splints put in each nostril to keep the septum aligned. The splits stay in approximately one week and help the healing process. The surgery typically takes about 60 minutes and is done through your nostrils. Dr. Davis uses an endoscopically assisted approach and he does not use packing. There is also no change to the look of the nose externally. Most patients require a week to recover and a full month to heal completely.

Look Into Options

Before you decide on one option or another, see the professionals at the Breathe Clear Institute and have your deviated septum examined by the people who know noses best. We want to find the right solution for your symptoms.

Ways To Prevent A Sinus Infection

Don’t Get Stuck With A Sinus Infection

Anyone who has ever had a sinus infection knows they can be miserable. More than 37 million Americans experience sinusitis symptoms every year, so the chances are good you are familiar with this experience. The symptoms can include facial pain and pressure, congestion as well as thick colorful nasal discharge. Because of things like pollutants and resistance to antibiotics, reports of people being diagnosed with a sinus infection are becoming more common. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of having to suffer through a sinus infection.

Make A Habit Of Washing Your Hands

This is one of the easiest ways to avoid sinus infections, along with many other common ailments like colds and the flu. Wash your hands regularly or use a hand sanitizer. Remember that viruses can live on doorknobs and other surfaces long after the infected hand has touched them.

Stay Current With Your Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot every year is obviously recommended to prevent contracting the flu, but it can also help prevent a sinus infection. The flu, or any virus that infects the nose, can lead to inflammation of the nasal lining which can, in turn, block the sinus drainage pathways leading to a sinus infection.

Don’t Overload On Antibiotics

If you have a bacterial infection antibiotics will usually help, but if you have a viral infection they won’t. By taking too many antibiotics your body can build up resistance to the medication so it won’t be able to help you when you have a severe sinus infection. Remember the average person gets about two viral colds a year and that antibiotics do not kill viruses!

Keep Your Immune System Strong

This will help with your overall health as well as help minimize the risk of a sinus infection. A few ways you can build up a strong immune system are to reduce stress and eat a healthy diet. Stock up on fruits and vegetables and make sure you are eating plenty of them daily.

Stay Away From Allergens

An attack of hay fever can trigger a sinus infection.  If you have any of the symptoms of allergies, including sneezing, itchy or watery eyes or nose, itchy skin or asthma, we recommend an allergy test.  Once you know what triggers your allergies, you can either avoid the culprit or, if that is impossible, take medications to help prevent symptoms.  Immunotherapy, either through traditional shots or through daily drops under the tongue, can also help get rid of your allergies and thereby eliminate a common trigger of sinusitis.

The Prognosis Of A Sinus Infection

If you do end up with a sinus infection, it will be uncomfortable, but usually not too serious. As long as it is treated early and appropriately it will usually clear up without any complications; however, the infection can drag on, especially when there are uncontrolled allergies or when there is a structural abnormality like nasal polyps. If you are experiencing symptoms of a sinus infection, make an appointment with us at the Breathe Clear Institute and we can recommend the best treatment option for you.