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Posts for: April, 2021

By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
April 21, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Swimmer's Ear  
Swimmer's EarIf you or your child loves to swim, then at some point you or they may develop Swimmer’s ear, an outer ear infection that can lead to itching, redness, and pain. Of course, it can be challenging to differentiate Swimmer’s ear from other types of ear infections. An ENT doctor can happily answer any questions you may have regarding Swimmer’s ear.

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
Symptoms associated with Swimmer’s ear are typically localized to the ear, as compared to middle ear infections, which may also lead to dizziness, nausea, or fever.

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
If you are someone who cleans out their ears with cotton swabs, you are also at great risk for Swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear occurs when bacteria get inside the ear canal; therefore, trauma, cuts, or injuries to the ear can increase the risk for a bacterial infection. Hearing aids and headphones can also increase your risk for Swimmer’s ear if you don’t clean and disinfect these items regularly.

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.

By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
April 08, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Dizziness   Vertigo  
Vertigo and DizzinessAs kids, most of us loved putting out our arms and spinning and spinning until we fell dizzy. Of course, experiencing a spinning world around us when we are planted firmly on earth or aren’t on an amusement park ride, can feel incredibly scary. Welcome to the world of those with vertigo. Vertigo is a condition that makes you feel off-balance, lightheaded, and perhaps a bit disoriented. If this is happening to you here’s what you should know.

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
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • Head injuries
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Colds
Vertigo may be acute and simply go away on its own, while other causes will require treatment from an ear, nose, and throat doctor. If your vertigo is severe, is persistent, or is accompanied by hearing loss or vision changes, you must see your doctor immediately.

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
If vertigo or dizziness is happening to you or a loved one, an ENT doctor may be the perfect doctor to turn to for answers and an evaluation. Don’t ignore your symptoms of lightheadedness and dizziness. An ENT professional can help.