What are the signs of Swimmer’s ear?
Since this infection impacts the outer ear canal, you’re more likely to experience,
- Itchy skin, particularly inside the ear
- Redness and swelling
- Pain or pressure that gets worse when tugging on or pulling on the ear
- Drainage from the ear
What Causes Swimmer’s ear?
Despite the name, you don’t have to be a swimmer to be at risk for developing this common ear infection. In fact, risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing Swimmer’s ear include,
- Living in warm, humid climates
- Excess ear wax or ear wax buildup
- Sustaining an injury to the ear canal
- Dry skin within the ear canal
How is Swimmer’s ear treated?
Since Swimmer’s ear is due to bacteria, you’ll need to see a doctor for treatment. This type of ear infection will not go away on its own. Your ENT doctor can prescribe antibiotic ear drops that you’ll need to use daily for up to 10 days. You may also be prescribed pain medication or steroid ear drops to reduce swelling. It’s important to follow the instructions for each of these medications to ensure that the infection doesn’t return.
If you or your child is dealing with an ear infection that is causing significant pain, swelling, or changes in your hearing, it may be prudent to see an ENT doctor right away to find out the best course of action. After all, some ear infections will require antibiotics. Schedule your evaluation with an ear, nose, and throat doctor today.
Vertigo and dizziness are different
Vertigo makes you feel as if you are moving even though you are standing still. The room around you may spin. You may feel nauseous, or you may even vomit if the vertigo is severe. Dizziness, on the other hand, occurs when you simply feel off-balance or lightheaded. Vertigo truly makes you feel as if you are spinning.
Vertigo is typically the result of a health problem
Vertigo is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition that impacts the function of the inner ear. How do we know that? Within our inner ears lie our vestibular system, which helps us stay oriented and balanced. Every day, an ENT doctor diagnoses and treats a variety of conditions and diseases that impact the vestibular system and cause vertigo. Some of the most common causes of vertigo include,
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
- Meniere’s disease
- Vestibular neuritis
- Head injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
There are many ways to treat vertigo
It’s important for an ENT doctor to first determine the cause of your vertigo before prescribing any medications or treatments. We need to treat the underlying cause effectively to get rid of your vertigo. Some of how we may treat your vertigo include,
- Medications: Antibiotics or steroids are prescribed to treat infections or inflammation, while other medications may help alleviate nausea and vomiting caused by the vertigo
- Vestibular rehabilitation: If you deal with chronic or recurring bouts of vertigo your ENT may recommend vestibular rehab to help retrain the vestibular system to be able to better recognize the spatial orientation
- Canalith repositioning maneuvers: This technique is most often used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and uses certain head movements to reposition calcium deposits within the canal of the inner ear
While getting your ears pierced by a trained medical professional can greatly lessen the risk of infections and complications, sometimes issues still occur after a piercing. Common problems caused by ear piercings include:
- Allergy to certain metals: If you have an allergy to certain types of jewelry or your skin is particularly sensitive to metals, talk with your doctor about getting jewelry made from materials such as stainless steel or titanium, which are less likely to cause a reaction.
- Infections: We know that it’s fun to fiddle and play with your piercing, but it’s important to leave it alone while it heals and to practice proper aftercare to prevent infection. If you continue to mess with the piercing before the skin heals, bacteria from your hands can lead to irritation or infection. If you develop redness, swelling, pain, or pus, these are all signs of an infection.
- Scarring: Certain individuals are prone to scarring, particularly keloid scars (excessive buildup of scar tissue). Keloids scars can be unsightly and uncomfortable but can be treated with laser therapy, steroid injections, or surgery
Certain individuals may want to talk with their ENT doctor before getting their ears pierced, as there may be an increase in complications. Let your doctor know beforehand if you,
- Are pregnant
- Have diabetes
- Have an autoimmune disorder
- Have a blood clotting disorder (e.g., hemophilia)
What are the signs of postnasal drip?
Along with extra mucus draining from the nose into the back of your throat, other signs of postnasal drip include:
- Persistent cough, often worse at night
- A need to constantly clear your throat
- Scratchy or sore throat
- Painful ear infections
- Sinus infections
- Bad breath
- Nausea (due to mucus going into the stomach)
So, what is triggering all that unwanted and excess mucus that’s now draining down your throat? There are a few possible reasons such as:
- A cold or flu
- Dry, cold air
- Changes in weather
- Deviated septum (a common malformation in the nasal wall that separates the two cavities)
- Certain medications (e.g., blood pressure medication; birth control)
- Chemicals and environmental irritants (e.g., perfumes; smoke)
At-home care and over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines may alleviate your postnasal drip, especially if it is caused by allergies. Saline nasal sprays and neti pots can also provide moisture to the nasal passages. Sleep with your head slightly propped up and make sure that you are staying hydrated throughout the day.
If you’re dealing with recurring postnasal drip, postnasal drip that lasts more than 10 days, or postnasal drip that’s accompanied by fever or green discharge (signs of a bacterial infection), you must turn to an ENT doctor for the appropriate medication and treatment. If a bacterial infection is present, your ENT will prescribe a round of antibiotics. Structural issues such as a deviated septum can only be corrected through surgery.
If other conditions such as acid reflux could be to blame, a doctor can run the right diagnostic tests to determine the cause and to provide you with a custom treatment plan to get your postnasal drip in check.
Common Causes of Nosebleeds
If you get a nosebleed every once in a while, this typically isn’t a cause for concern. Nosebleeds are usually caused by,
- Injury to the nasal membrane
- Picking at your nose
- Cold air
- Dry, heated air
- Repeated use of nasal sprays
- Taking aspirin often
- Blowing your nose regularly
- Respiratory infections (e.g., colds and flu; sinusitis)
- An allergic reaction
- Chemical irritants
Causes of Frequent Nosebleeds
If you’re dealing with persistent nosebleeds, here’s what could be going on,
- You may have ruptured blood vessels in the lining of the nose
- You could have a polyp or growth in the sinuses or nasal cavity
- You could have a health problem that affects blood clotting
- You could have an inherited condition known as Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, which results in abnormal blood vessels in the nose
An ENT doctor can help you address all of your ear, nose, and throat problems. If you’re plagued with nosebleeds, we can find out what’s causing your symptoms and how to treat them. Call your ENT doctor today to schedule an appointment.
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