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Sinus Infection? When Should You See a Doctor?

A sinus infection is a very common condition, affecting about 3 million Americans every year. 

What causes a sinus infection?

Sinusitis or a sinus infection can develop when the nasal cavities can become inflamed, swollen, or infected. 

Although it’s usually caused by a virus, bacteria and fungi may also lead to a sinus infection.

What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?

The most common symptoms of a sinus infection include nasal discharge, nasal congestion, sinus headaches, throat irritation, and cough.

In many cases, allergies, nasal polyps, and tooth infection can exacerbate the symptoms of a sinus infection.

When should you see a doctor?

Some cases of sinusitis can be resolved easily with some home remedies such as increasing hydration, getting enough sleep and taking decongestants. 

However, there are some cases of sinus infection that can’t be easily relieved with these interventions alone. A good example is a sinus infection caused by bacteria. 

If your sinusitis is due to a bacterial cause, you have to see a doctor to be prescribed with appropriate antibiotics.

You should also consider seeing an ENT specialist if your sinusitis symptoms persist over 2 weeks. 

Greater Knoxville ENT has specialists who can assess your condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment for you. You can request an appointment by calling us at (865) 244-4396.

 

 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/sinus-infection-symptoms

https://www.immediateclinic.com/blog/when-see-doctor-sinus-infection

 


National Audiology Awareness and National Protect Your Hearing Month. 

October is National Audiology Awareness and National Protect Your Hearing Month. 

Hearing loss is an increasing health concern in the country, but it’s one that’s highly preventable.

What causes hearing loss?

There are several factors that can lead to hearing loss in adults. This includes aging, otosclerosis (a type of middle ear disease), Meniere’s disease, ototoxic medications such as neomycin, head injury, and constant exposure to very loud noise.

How can you prevent hearing loss?

Contrary to popular belief, hearing loss is not an inevitable part of aging. 

There are some types of hearing loss that can be prevented through:

  • Minimizing exposure to loud noises

If you have to be in an event where exposure to loud noise is inevitable or if you’re constantly working with loud machines, getting ear protective devices as ear muffs can definitely help protect your hearing.

  • Avoiding or quitting smoking

Research shows that smokers are most likely to develop hearing loss than non-smokers.

  • Removing your earwax properly

When you have a buildup of earwax, it may cause you to have difficulty in hearing. But avoid using a cotton swab to clean your ears as you may end up pushing the wax further. 

A good cleaning method is using an at-home irrigation kit that will soften the wax and gently wash it out. If you have compacted ear wax, you may need to see a specialist to remove it.

  • Seeing a specialist if you have a family history of hearing loss

Early intervention can help in keeping hearing loss from progressing. If you have a family history of hearing loss or if you’re constantly exposed to loud noises and want to assess your hearing, it’s best to see a specialist.

Greater Knoxville ENT has a team of specialists who can help you. To request an appointment, you can call (865) 244-4396 or visit: https://www.greaterknoxent.com/contact/.

 

References:

https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Causes-of-Hearing-Loss-in-Adults/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/senior-health/how-to-prevent-hearing-loss.aspx

 


What’s the difference between a migraine and a headache?

The terms headache and migraine are often used interchangeably. And it’s pretty understandable. 

The pain from a migraine and tension from a headache are very similar. The discomfort may also be felt on either one or both sides of the head. 

But what’s the difference between the two?

Headache vs Migraine

Headache disorders cover a wide range of nervous system conditions that cause painful symptoms. These include headaches and migraines.

What’s a headache?

There are several types of headaches but medical experts classify them into two – primary and secondary. 

Primary headaches are independent conditions causing discomfort/pain in the head, face, or neck areas. 

Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are headaches that result from other medical conditions such as stress or medication overuse.

Tension headache is the most common type of headache. Over 40 percent of the population experience it.

As its name implies, tension headaches cause intense pressure around the head. It can be episodic (headaches that happen every 10-15 days of the month) or chronic (headaches that occur more often).

What’s a migraine?

A migraine is a type of primary headache that causes severe pain and other symptoms. 

People suffering from migraines may experience recurring symptoms, which doctors call episodes.

A migraine episode may occur in four distinct phases, although not everyone may experience all four:

Premonitory 

This phase is characterized by sensitivity to light, sound, or smell, food cravings, unexplained mood changes, and frequent yawning.

Aura

The aura pertains to any sensory disturbance occurring before or during a migraine attack. This phase can affect a person’s vision, speech, or touch.

Headache

Migraine headaches can be mild to severe. The pain can get worse with physical activity and exposure to certain lights, sound, and smell.

Postdrome

This phase occurs once the headache subsides. During the postdrome phase, people usually feel exhausted, confused, or unwell.

Is it a headache or a migraine?

If a headache worsens with activity or with exposure to certain light, smell, or sound, then it could be a migraine. 

Whether it’s tension headache or migraine, you should see a specialist if your headache is interfering with your ability to function or if it’s greatly affecting your quality of life.

Greater Knoxville ENT has specialists who can help you. To request an appointment, you may call us at (865) 244-4396.

 

References:

https://www.medicinenet.com/migraine_vs_headache_whats_the_difference/article.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health/migraine/migraine-vs-headache


Do you breathe through your mouth?

Are you snoring, have a dry mouth, and experience chronic fatigue? Then you may be breathing through your mouth. Some people don’t realize that they breathe through their mouths instead of their noses. 

What causes mouth breathing?

A person may be a mouth breather for several reasons.

Kids who breathe through their mouths may do it as a result of a habit, their bite being off, or may have abnormally large tonsils that can obstruct breathing. 

For adults, mouth breathing may happen due to their medication or damaged glands as a result of radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Why mouth breathing can be a problem?

An excessively dry mouth is one of the problems resulting from mouth breathing. Normally, the saliva continuously washes bacteria from the mouth. But when the mouth is too dry, it’s easier for the bacteria to take hold of the mouth and cause problems like cavities. 

Mouth breathing in children can also cause problems. Mouth breathing may cause the growth of the upper jaw (rather than the lower jaw), which can result in an overbite and gummy smile.

Breathing through the mouth can also cause sleeping difficulties. This is why chronic fatigue is common in those who are doing it.

What can be done about mouth breathing?

Just like anything else, it’s important to understand the underlying cause of mouth breathing before certain interventions could be recommended. 

If it’s due to abnormally large tonsils, then removing them might help. If it’s due to structural problems (e.g. child can’t close the flaps of his/her lips over front teeth), then orthodontic treatment may be sought.

If mouth breathing is a problem you’ve been struggling with for quite a while now, we can help. Greater Knoxville ENT has specialists who can help determine the cause of your mouth breathing. To request an appointment, you can call us at (865) 521-8050.

 

References:

https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/oral-health/mouth-breather/

https://www.healthline.com/health/mouth-breathing

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319487.php


How to treat strep throat in kids

Strep throat is common among school-age kids. Although a sore throat is a common symptom of the condition, not all cases of it are due to strep.  

What causes strep throat in kids?

Strep throat is caused by the streptococcus bacteria (hence the name). It is contagious and can be spread to others through droplets. 

When an infected child coughs, sneezes, or talks, the bacteria can be breathed in or caught by others through touching contaminated objects or surfaces.

What are the symptoms of strep throat?

A child with strep throat may manifest the following symptoms:

* Difficulty or pain in swallowing

* Bright red, swollen tonsils

* Fever

* Tender glands in the neck

* Irritability

* Sleeping more than the usual

* Tiny red spots at the back throat of the mouth

* Poor appetite

* A red rash on the body that feels like sandpaper

How is strep throat treated?

Once confirmed, a child with strep throat will be prescribed with antibiotics. This should be taken as instructed to avoid other problems.

Usually, after a day or two of antibiotic therapy, your child will start feeling better. 

Aside from antibiotics, there are other solutions that can help your kid to feel better. This includes acetaminophen for the fever and throat pain, plenty of fluids, and soft foods that are easy to swallow.

It isn’t easy seeing your kid suffer from strep throat. If you suspect your child has it, see a specialist immediately. Strep throat can cause complications when left untreated. 

Greater Knoxville ENT (GKENT) has a team of specialists who are well-experienced in assessing, diagnosing, and treating conditions of the ears, nose, and throat. Call us at (865) 244-4396 to request for an appointment. 

 

References:

https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/strep-throat.html

https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/strep-throat

 


Dr. Rosenbaum Discusses Sinuva

Greater Knoxville ENT’s Dr. Allan Rosenbaum discusses Sinuva, an FDA approved sinus implant created to reduce nasal congestion and nasal polyps.






How do you protect your hearing?

Our hearing is one of the most important senses we have. Once we damage it, it can be a challenge to bring it back to where it was before. 

It’s never too early to start protecting your hearing. Here are some ways on how you can do it:

 

  • Use ear protective devices when surrounded by loud noise
    Concerts, chainsaws, lawnmowers, and clubs create a different kind of noise. This kind of noise is never healthy and can be very damaging to the ears especially if they’re unprotected.

    About 15 percent of the American population have noise-induced hearing loss as a result of work or leisure environments. If you are constantly working in a noisy environment, it’s always best to wear earplugs or similar devices to protect your ears.
  • Turn down the volume
    Listening to loud music through earphones and headphones greatly increases your chance of suffering from noise-induced hearing loss.

    You don’t have to give up listening to music through headphones or earbuds. You just have to follow the 60/60 rule, which is 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes in a day.
  • Opt for a gentler way to clean your ears
    Ear wax is there for a purpose. It stops dust and other harmful particles from getting into your ear canal. Although it’s very common to use cotton swabs for removing the excess wax, it’s really not the best thing to use. It increases the risk of damaging sensitive organs like the eardrum.

    If you have excessive wax, it’s better to use a damp and clean cloth.
  • Keep moving
    Did you know that exercise doesn’t just benefit vital organs like the heart? It can also benefit other body parts such as the ears. Cardio exercises get the blood pumping to different parts including the ears. Good blood flow to the ears keeps them healthy and allows them to work at their maximum potential.
  • Take your medications as directed
    There are medicines that can have an impact on your sense of hearing. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen can contribute to hearing loss if abused.

 

If you have concerns regarding your hearing, it’s best to see a specialist. 

Our ENT and Audiology specialists at Greater Knoxville ENT can assess your hearing and recommend the next steps for you. You can call us at (865) 244-4396.

 

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/infographic/

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/top-10-tips-to-help-protect-your-hearing/

https://www.earq.com/blog/9-ways-to-protect-your-ears


What is vertigo and why does it make you feel dizzy?

Vertigo is a symptom rather than a condition in itself. It’s experiencing a sense of spinning dizziness. This can happen as a result of problems in the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway.

What causes vertigo?

There are several conditions that can cause vertigo. These include:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
    This is the most common cause of vertigo. It is characterized by experiencing a spinning motion for a few seconds to minutes. It is usually initiated by sudden head movements or moving the head in certain directions.
  • Labyrinthitis 

Also known as inflammation of the inner ear (the labyrinth), labyrinthitis can have a viral or bacterial cause. Its symptoms, including vertigo, may last for days until the inflammation subsides.

  • Acoustic neuroma
    This condition pertains to a type of tumor that affects the inner ear. Vertigo with one-sided ringing and hearing loss are some of its symptoms.
  • Meniere’s disease
    People suffering from Meniere’s disease often experience a sudden onset of vertigo and fluctuating hearing loss.

    The exact cause of Meniere’s disease is still unknown but medical experts believe it has something to do with allergies, viral infections, and head injury.
  • Multiple sclerosis
    Vertigo is usually a presenting symptom of multiple sclerosis, alongside the inability of the eyes to move past the midline toward the nose.

What’s the difference between dizziness and vertigo?

Although vertigo is similar to dizziness, it creates a slightly different kind of dizzying sensation. 

When you have vertigo, you may feel that the room is spinning or you’re off-balance. These sensations can be triggered even by simple movements like rolling over in bed and changing positions.

Dizziness, on the other hand, is a feeling that many patients describe as about to pass out. It’s also described as having sensations of floating or lightheadedness. 

How is vertigo treated?

Some cases of vertigo improve over time without treatment. However, there are those cases on which vertigo may persist for months or even years.

Treatment options for vertigo vary, depending on its underlying cause. 

Patients with BPPV may benefit from a series of simple head movements known as Epley maneuver. Vertigo patients may also benefit from medicines such as prochlorperazine and some antihistamine drugs. 

Vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT) can also help. It’s a series of exercises designed for people with dizziness and balance problems.

Vertigo can affect your quality of life. If you think you have one, it’s important to see a specialist to determine what causes it and to find out the best treatment option for you. 

Greater Knoxville ENT has specialists who can help you. To request an appointment, you can call us at (865) 244-4396.

 

References:

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/vertigo/article_em.htm

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/knowledge/160900/vertigo-causes-symptoms-treatments

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/ears-nose-and-throat/vertigo

http://www.aocphysicians.com/blog/vertigo-vs-dizziness


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