Is Today The Day You Do Something About Your Sinus Issues?
- Nasal congestion and discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Sore throat
- Facial pressure and swelling
- Loss of smell and taste
- Bad breath
What Exactly Is a Sinus Infection?Understanding what a sinus infection actually is can help with your treatment. A sinus infection is caused by an infection, usually brought on by a cold or allergies. It can also be caused by:
- Nasal polyps
- Deviated septum
- Trauma to the face
- Hay fever
- Complications from an immune system disorder
- Nasal endoscopy
- CT scans
- Allergy tests
- Saline nasal sprays and corticosteroids are useful for rinsing your nasal passages and relieving inflammation.
- Decongestants are a good short-term solution, but extended use can actually worsen the condition.
- Antibiotics are usually prescribed for bacterial infections.
- Antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, saline washes and oral steroids all provide long-term relief.
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots) and surgery are a more permanent solution for those suffering from chronic sinusitis.
Are You Allergic to Work?
Symptoms of an Environmental AllergyCommon symptoms of an allergy to your environment include:
Jobs to AvoidThe following types of work should be avoided if you suffer from seasonal and environmental allergies. Landscaper. Working outside puts you in direct contact with molds and tree, grass and weed pollens. These are especially prevalent when working as a landscaper. Spa workers. Those who work in this type of environment are exposed to fumes and sprays that can trigger an allergy attack. Perfumes, hairsprays, soaps and chemicals used in this type of work can also affect those who are sensitive to smells. Housekeeping. Cleaning puts you at a high risk for exposure to indoor allergens such as dust and mold. Housekeepers can also be tasked with cleaning rooms where pets have been, which can add additional allergens. Construction work. Working in building and demolition puts you in direct contact with many types of dust and irritants.
Allergens in the OfficeNow, back to the problems at your office job. While it may seem obvious that working outside will put you in contact with allergens, working inside a building can be just as bad. An office building is a breeding ground for mold, dust and irritants. The toxins secreted by the mold cause allergic reactions. Symptoms of a mold allergy are headaches, feelings of nausea and asthma complications. The most common type of office mold is stachybotrys; it is a black, sticky, slimy fungus. This mold is often found around water pipes, in the walls around plumbing or near a leaking room since it requires water to grow. Dust mites are usually found in warm, humid environments such as carpeting or upholstered furniture. The most common symptoms of a dust mite allergy are:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Red, itchy or watery eyes
What is tinnitus?Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a ringing in the ear when there is no noise actually present. It is technically a symptom of an underlying condition, rather than a disorder on its own. Hearing a ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing at various pitches can all be signs of tinnitus. These sounds can either be heard all the time or may come and go. While most people only hear them in one ear, it is possible to have tinnitus in both ears. Additional symptoms include:
- Sleep problems
- Memory problems
What types of Tinnitus are there?There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective.
Subjectiveis the most common and involves tinnitus only you can hear.
Objectivetinnitus is much rarer and can be heard by your doctor during an examination.
What Causes Tinnitus?There are a number of conditions that list tinnitus as a possible symptom. The most common causes include:
- Noise exposure
- Foreign objects in the ears
Treatments for TinnitusBut for most, the exact cause will remain a mystery. For those individuals, their Portland audiologist will recommend one of the following treatment options:
White noise therapy. This popular treatment involves the use of white noise, which releases a distribution of random sound frequencies across the hearing spectrum. These sounds can help draw the brain’s attention away from the distracting background noise, allowing you to tune out the tinnitus.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. This newer approach combines counseling and education with sound therapy. You’ll learn about your tinnitus, different strategies for coping and how to use low-level sound generators. These generators produce soft tonal patterns that encourage the brain to shift its focus away from the sounds associated with tinnitus.
Hearing aids. Most people with tinnitus also have hearing loss, which means most already have a hearing aid. If you are one of these people, your Houston audiologist suggests simply turning up the volume. This can help mask distracting background noises.
Natural remedies. Some patients report positive results using gingko biloba, zinc or niacin, though clinical studies are inconclusive.
Even though tinnitus may not be curable, many report positive results through the use of one of the above treatment plans. Help us spread the word and raise global awareness of tinnitus by sharing this blog and using the hashtag #TinnitusWeek when talking about this event online.
For more information on tinnitus treatments, contact your Portland audiologist today.
Can You Lose Your Sense of Smell?
Anosmia can be partial or complete and, while rarely the symptom of a serious condition, can still cause a number of issues for the individual involved. Fortunately, the condition is often temporary, while in some cases – especially those involving the elderly – the loss of smell may be permanent.
What Causes a Loss of Smell?Anosmia occurs when the sinuses become swollen and inflamed. The most common causes include:
- Non-allergic rhinitis
What Are the Symptoms?Obviously, the telltale sign of anosmia is a loss of smell. Some also report a change in the way things smell.
If the condition persists for longer than a week or two, you should consult your Portland otolaryngologist.
Can a Loss of Smell Be Treated?The only way to treat anosmia is to first figure out what is causing it.
- If a cold or allergies are to blame, there is no treatment. Simply wait a few days and your sense of smell should return.
- If your loss of smell is caused by a polyp or other growth blocking your nasal passage, you may require surgery to treat the problem.
- For bacterial infections, antibiotics are prescribed.
- And finally, sometimes the loss of smell is simply related to age. In these cases, the condition cannot be reversed.
If you lose your sense of smell, it is important to take some precautions to protect your safety. This includes making sure your smoke detectors are all working properly and labeling all leftovers; since your sense of smell affects your ability to taste, it is important to take care to prevent ingesting spoiled food.
To learn more about the loss of smell, contact your Portland otolaryngologist today.
What is an Ear Infection?
What Causes an Ear Infection?The most common causes of an ear infection are bacteria and viruses, which are usually already in your body after a cold, sore throat or upper respiratory infection. Colds, flu and strep throat can also lead to an ear infection. Germs can spread to the middle ear and become trapped when the Eustachian tube (responsible for draining fluid) becomes swollen or blocked due to a cold or other illness. Kids have smaller tubes than adults; because of this and the fact that their immune systems are still developing, they are more likely to suffer from ear infections.
Common Symptoms of Ear InfectionsBesides the painful earache, those with an ear infection may also experience:
- Discharge from the ear
- Difficulty hearing
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
How Are Ear Infections Treated?Ear infections are usually treated with antibiotics, over-the-counter pain relievers and eardrops. For those who do not respond well to medications, surgically implanted ear tubes may be needed. They help provide ventilation and prevent fluid from accumulating in the middle ear. They remain in the ear between six months and two years; usually they will fall out of the ear on their own. If they don’t, a simple surgery is needed to remove them. To learn more about preventing or treating ear infections, contact your local Portland doctor.
EpiPens May Last Past Their Expiration Date
How can EpiPens continue to be effective?A new study from the University of California, San Diego found that expired auto-injectors can still be used in emergency situations. If you are one of the many people in Portland who suffers from a severe allergy, you know how frustrating it is to constantly throw away unused EpiPen, only to have to shell out the few hundred bucks to buy a new one. But it’s just something you have to do, as an auto-injector is the only thing that can save your life if you are having a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
What Causes an Allergic Reaction?According to your Portland ENT, an allergy is an exaggerated response from your immune system to a normally harmless substance. Your immune system is your body’s first line of defense against germs and bacteria; it plays a crucial role in maintaining your health and preventing infections. Your immune system is comprised of cells, proteins, tissues and organs. When a threat is detected, the immune system responds by attacking the substances that are invading the body. Proteins designed to protect against foreign invaders, known as antibodies, are produced during this attack. These antibodies trigger the release of a chemical called histamines, which is responsible for these telltale symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- Mucus Production
New Allergy Research Was NeededThe price of these life-saving auto-injectors has gone up 400 percent over the last 10 years. Because of this increase, researchers began looking into how long after the printed expiration date the injectors actually lasted. The study conducted by Dr. Lee Cantrell found that EpiPens Jrs. contained at least 90 percent of epinephrine 29 months after their expiration date and EpiPens contained 84 percent 50 months after. That’s more than four years past the printed expiration date. The results of this study helped to validate a practice many patients have already been doing – saving their expired EpiPens. While the study in no way suggests that people should stop purchasing new auto-injectors when their old ones expire, it does advocate for holding onto the older injectors. They can be used in an emergency situation when a current injector is not available. Simply put – in an emergency situation, an expired auto-injector is better than nothing at all. For more information on the use of auto-injectors, contact your Portland ENT.
Medication-Free Allergy Treatment?
Allergen AvoidanceAvoidance is just what is sounds like: it involves making sure you no longer come into contact with the allergens that cause your symptoms. For those of you suffering from hay fever (allergies to pollen, pet dander and mold), the below tips can help you reduce or eliminate allergens from your home.
Protect Your Home from Allergens
- Encase your mattress and pillows in dust mite-proof cases. Wash all your bedding in hot water at least once a week.
- Remove carpeting from your home and replace with easy to clean material such as hardwood or linoleum. If the wall-to-wall carpeting cannot be removed, vacuum and shampoo the carpet regularly.
- Use only washable window coverings, such as cotton or synthetic curtains.
- During pollen season, keep your windows closed.
- Get rid of clutter; this means removing any knickknacks that sit on tables collecting dust.
- Invest in a HEPA air filtration system to remove small allergen particles from the air.
- Keep potted plants out of the house—either plant them outside or give them away.
- Avoid using a wood-burning fireplace or stove; the smoke will worsen respiratory allergies.
- Wash the sink regularly and don’t let dishes pile up; this can create a breeding ground for mold.
- Wash or replace moldy shower curtains and bathmats.
- Keep your house at 68 F to 72 F. Dust mites and mold breed best in hot, humid conditions.
- Don’t allow smoking inside your home
- Find a new home for your pet. If you can’t do that, make sure to bathe them once a week and keep them out of your bedroom and off the furniture.
Halloween and Food Allergies
Food AllergiesFood allergies are quite common. Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18. That’s 1 in 13 children. While any food has the potential to cause an allergic reaction, there are eight foods that account for almost 90 percent of all food allergies:
- Tree Nuts
Allergen-Free HalloweenSo, what do you do about it? Your Portland allergist has a few suggestions.
- Let your child go out trick-or-treating with their friends with strict instructions not to eat any of the candy they get. Once home, simply trade their bag full of candy (you can either eat it yourself or donate it a charity of your choice with safe candy you already purchased. Candy can also be traded for a non-food item like a book or toy.
- Before your child goes out trick-or-treating, stop by the neighbors’ houses and give them some allergen-safe candy. Then, when you arrive with your child the friendly and understanding neighbor can give them candy they can actually eat!
The Teal Pumpkin ProjectFARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all kids. Last year, almost 18,000 households from all 50 states participated. The project is simple – participants purchase non-food treats and let everyone know their house is safe for those with food allergies by putting out a teal pumpkin on their doorstep. This helps promote inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions. The website has signs you can print out which explain the meaning of the teal pumpkin as well as guides on how to get started. There are plenty of options to make this the safest Halloween yet. For more information, contact your Portland allergist today.
The Importance of Hearing Aids
Improved General HealthThose who treat their hearing loss see an improvement in their balance and experience a decrease in:
- Feelings of Depression
Improved Emotional Well-BeingThose who treat their hearing loss are able to overcome their reliance on others because they can once again navigate the world on their own. This helps them regain their sense of control. Treating your hearing loss leads to reduced periods of social isolation as well as healthier and longer-lasting relationships. These patients have also been shown to have higher self-esteem and quality of life than those who don’t.
Improved Professional SuccessChoosing to not treat your hearing loss can make it harder for you to concentrate, especially when communicating with others. It can also lead to reduced job performance and less monetary compensation. The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) conducted a study that provides even more data about how much of a difference hearing aids can make. A total of 2,000 individuals with hearing loss were surveyed for this study. Of those:
- 82 percent indicated they would recommend hearing aids to their friends
- 70 percent reported an improved ability to communicate
- Four out of five people who use an aid to hear better are satisfied with their solution.
- Sense of Humor
- Mental Health
- Emotional Health
- Physical Health
- Sense of Safety
- Feelings about Self
- Sense of Independence
- Work Relationships