While swimmer’s ear may sound akin to having a lucky rabbit’s foot, the opposite is actually true. This painful condition, also known as acute otitis externa, causes infection and inflammation of the outer ear. As you may be able to guess from the name alone, this ear infection is often the result of too much water getting into the ears, whether you are an avid swimmer or you just drenched yourself in a hot shower for too long. Of course, there are other reasons why you may be prone to these infections.
Sure, this infection tends to be more common in children and teens, but if you happen to clean your ears regularly with cotton swabs, if you end up damaging or cutting the skin of the ear canal or if you’ve been diagnosed with eczema of the ear canal, then you too could be at risk for developing this type of ear infection.
Once the water is trapped inside the ear canal, it leaves the ear susceptible to bacteria and infection. If you have swimmer’s ear, you most likely know it because the inflammation causes pain. Since it is indeed an infection, it’s important that you turn to your otolaryngologist for proper medical attention. Not only will the treatment help eliminate your pain and discomfort but it will also stop the infection from spreading.
Besides pain, you may also notice that your ear feels as if there's fluid in it, which may also be drained. Since swimmer’s ear is an infection, you may also notice that the lymph nodes around the neck and ears are swollen. Some patients even report minor hearing loss. Of course, a young child can’t often describe their symptoms, but you may notice your little one tugging at their ear, unable to sleep, or more irritable and cranky. If you notice these symptoms then it’s time to take your child to the ENT doctor.
What can happen if swimmer’s ear isn’t treated properly? You may experience chronic or recurring infections. You may find that even if the condition clears up that your hearing loss has not fully returned. There may even be damage to the bones and cranial nerves.
When you come in to see your ENT specialist, they will most likely prescribe eardrops to treat the infection. They may also clean out the infected ear canal. These eardrops will serve to kill the bacteria and reduce pain and inflammation. Make sure to follow the instructions for your medication and continue to use it even once your symptoms have gone away, or according to what your physician has prescribed. This will ensure that all the bacteria are destroyed and that you won’t develop another infection.
Protect the health of your ears. If you think you may have swimmer’s ear, or if you are experiencing any kind of ear pain, it’s a good idea to play it safe and visit an ear, nose and throat specialist right away for care.
Are you dealing with frequent nosebleeds? Find out what might be to blame.
Experiencing a nosebleed can be rather startling when it happens to you, and usually it’s when you least expect it. Of course, a nosebleed every once in a while isn’t really something to worry about, but if you are dealing with frequent or regular nosebleeds then you may be wondering what’s going on. Here are some of the most common causes of nosebleeds:
- A sinus infection (both acute and chronic)
- Dry air
- Picking at your nose
- Common cold
- Nasal trauma
- Regular use of nasal sprays
- A deviated septum
- Chemical irritants
- Blood thinners
Less common causes of nosebleeds include pregnancy, nasal polyps and heavy alcohol use.
Is there a way to prevent nosebleeds?
If you find that your nosebleeds occur more often during dry, colder days, then it’s a good idea to apply a little bit of petroleum jelly inside your nose throughout the day. You may also choose to use over-the-counter saline nasal sprays, as well. If your home is a dry-air offender, consider getting a humidifier to help add some moisture back into your home environment.
When should I see an ENT doctor?
While most nosebleeds are nothing to worry about and will go away on their own, there are some instances where it’s important to seek medical care right away:
- If your nosebleeds are severe
- If it’s affecting your breathing
- If it’s occurring in children under 2 years old
- If the nosebleeds last longer than a half hour
- If a nosebleed occurs after an injury
- If there is a significant amount of blood
While it isn’t a cause for immediate concern, it’s also a good idea to talk to an ear, nose and throat specialist if you get regular nosebleeds. While they aren’t painful, getting nosebleeds on a rather frequent basis can be annoying, and it’s important that you figure out what’s causing them so you can reduce their frequency.
When these issues occur, don’t feel like you’re in the dark about what’s going on. A frequent nosebleed could just be telling you that something more is going on. Have an otolaryngologist you can turn to when these issues arise.
There are many ear, nose and throat problems that could benefit from surgery.
While surgery is often something that most people hope to avoid, there are some situations in which your otolaryngologist may advise you as to whether your next step in your treatment plan is actually to get surgery. While non-surgical treatment is almost always the answer, surgery can also finally provide those chronic and severe sufferers with the relief they’ve finally been hoping for.
When you are dealing with any ear, nose or throat problems it’s always best to turn to an otolaryngologist to treat your symptoms. Whether you are dealing with tonsil problems or sinus issues, they can help get these conditions under control. While many of these health problems won’t require surgery, they may be necessary if traditional methods aren’t providing you with relief. These conditions include:
- Hearing or balance problems
- Chronic or persistent ear infections
- Chronic sinusitis
- Thyroid problems
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Esophagus problems
By seeking care from a medical professional right away an otolaryngologist can easily determine the cause of your condition so that they can create a treatment plan that will finally provide you with the relief you’ve been looking for. In some cases, diagnostic imaging (e.g. X-rays, CT scan) may be necessary in order to make a definitive diagnosis.
In most instances, the treatment plan you receive in the beginning will provide you with a list of conservative, non-surgical options for tackling and managing your symptoms. While many people will find that these plans work perfectly for them, there are some whose conditions are so severe or long-term that the best option is surgery.
Fortunately, ear, nose and throat surgery has come a long way over the years and now otolaryngologists can offer:
- Both regular and endoscopic sinus surgery
- Surgery to correct breathing disorders
- Surgery to treat sleep disorders like sleep apnea
- Surgery to remove infected tonsils
- Surgery to correct congenital deformities
Whether you have questions about head and neck surgery or you are dealing with serious long-term sinusitis issues, it’s important that you have an ENT specialist that you can go to whenever you have questions, concerns or treatment needs.
If you have a hearing impairment, you may need a hearing aid. Hearing loss can have a big impact on your life, from your relationships to your work and emotional well-being. Dubuque ENT Head & Neck Surgery, which is located in Dubuque, IA, offers state-of-the-art treatments for ear, nose and throat problems. Here are signs you might need a hearing aid.
1. You have trouble hearing on the phone. Landline and mobile phones are equipped with volume control settings. Check the volume settings on your phones, and if you find yourself raising the volume up louder, you may have a hearing impairment.
2. You strain to hear conversations. If a typical day of conversing with family, friends, and co-workers leaves you feeling exhausted, you may have a hearing impairment. Constantly straining to follow conversations is tiring. Doing so can make you feel worn out and exhausted after even a normal day.
3. You have trouble hearing in noisy places. People with a hearing impairment often have problems masking out background sounds and focusing on speech. This is a very common patient complaint heard by otolaryngologists, and if it happens to you often, then it's time to see a Dubuque, IA, otolaryngologist for a hearing evaluation.
4. You miss phone calls or the doorbell. Do you often have missed calls? Are you friends, family members, or neighbors saying they've been outside your door for a long time? This is common with hearing loss.
5. You have muffled hearing. If your hearing is muffled, then you should know that something's wrong. When you have a hearing impairment, everything will sound quiet and distorted, perhaps like your ears are being covered.
6. You turn the tv up loud. If you are having trouble hearing background noises and raising the volume of your radio or tv up, as a result, chances are that you have a hearing impairment. You may not even realize that the volume is way too loud until one of your friends or family members points it out to you.
Hearing aids are a treatment choice for hearing loss. Hearing aids are battery-powered electronic devices designed to improve your hearing. If you have hearing loss, it's important to get help right away. Call Dubuque ENT Head & Neck Surgery at 563-588-0506 to schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation in Dubuque, IA. We will help you live the best life possible!
Could your headache and other chronic symptoms be connected to your workplace?
With the average Joes spending around 90,000 hours at work over the course of their lifetime, it’s time we seriously considered how our work impacts our health. While we may not think about it often, the building we work in day after day could actually be making us sick. Find out more about sick building syndrome and what an otolaryngologist can do to treat your symptoms.
What are the symptoms of sick building syndrome (SBS)?
Some of the signs that you may have SBS include:
- Extreme exhaustion
- Difficulty concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- An overall achy feeling
- Irritated eyes, nose or throat
- Skin rash or irritation
Some people with SBS experience all or most of these symptoms while others only report having one or two symptoms. The symptoms may come and go throughout the week. Someone who has SBS will often find that their symptoms get better or clear up while they are away from the building but manifest when they return to the building.
Who can develop SBS?
While anyone can be susceptible, those who work in modern office buildings with air conditioning and windows that can’t be opened are more likely to develop this condition. Even though SBS tends to be more common in those working in office buildings, it can still occur in other settings such as schools, museums or libraries.
What can put someone at risk for SBS?
While the direct cause of SBS is still unknown, there are many risk factors that could potentially lead to SBS:
- Constant changes in temperature throughout the day
- Chemical irritants
- Environmental pollutants or allergens
- An unclean working environment
- Low humidity
- Lack of ventilation
- Poor lighting
If your office could be making you sick it’s a good time to talk to both an ENT specialist and your employer about ways to improve your work conditions to reduce your symptoms of SBS.
If you are concerned that the symptoms you are experiencing could be the result of the building in which you work, then it’s time to seek medical care right away. An ENT doctor will be able to help you determine from where your symptoms might be stemming to get you on a treatment course that works for you.
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