Do you feel tired most of the time? An allergy may be to blame. Although sneezing and watery eyes are among the most well-known allergy symptoms, they're by no means the only indication that you may have an allergy. Understanding common symptoms and causes can help you determine if your problems are be caused by allergies.
What causes allergies?
Your body perceives allergens as dangerous substances, even if they're as seemingly harmless as pollen or dust. Your immune system leaps into protective mode and releases antibodies designed to protect you from the effects of the allergen. Unfortunately, the release of the antibodies triggers sneezing and other allergy symptoms.
In many cases, people assume that their symptoms can't be caused by allergies because they've never been allergic to anything in the past. Allergies can develop at any point in your life and tend to occur only after repeated exposure to an allergen.
Allergies are often triggered by:
- Fungal Spores
- Dust or Dust Mites
- Animal Dander
- Animal Dander
- Certain Foods
What are common symptoms of allergies?
If you have allergies, you may notice one or more of these symptoms:
- Runny Nose
- Red, Itchy or Watery Eyes
- Chest Tightness
- Dark Circles Under Your Eyes
How Can I Tell If It's Allergies?
If you've never had allergies before, it's easy to confuse allergy symptoms with cold symptoms. Unlike allergies, colds clear up in about 10 days. If your symptoms linger and don't improve, you may actually be suffering from allergies. Pay attention to when symptoms occur. Are they worse after you've spent the day outdoors or during the spring or fall? You may have seasonal allergies. If you're allergic to dust and mold, you may experience more intense symptoms during the winter when you spend more time indoors.
Dark circles under your eyes may not be caused by lack of sleep, but by allergies. Exposure to allergens can cause the blood vessels under your eyes to swell, which makes the area look darker than usual. Keeping a journal of your symptoms and when they appear can help you determine if you have allergies.
It's not always easy to tell if your symptoms are caused by allergies. A visit to your ear, nose and throat doctor can help you narrow down the cause of your symptoms and obtain appropriate treatment if you do happen to have allergies.
Breathing problems can quickly turn into a scary situation. However, your ear, nose and throat specialist can help you get to the bottom of your breathing problems to help you find relief and avoid further complications. Diagnosis and treatment of these issues depend on pinpointing the underlying cause of the problems and developing an effective treatment plan.
Do I have a breathing problem?
Breathing issues can stem from various sources which often cause similar symptoms. You may have a breathing problem if you experience one or more of the following:
- labored breathing
- shortness of breath
- discomfort while breathing
- flaring nostrils
- gray/pale complexion
If you think you have a breathing difficulty, you should see your ear, nose and throat doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis. If your breathing difficulty shows up alongside a fever, severe coughing, difficulty laying down or waking up at night unable to breathe, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Common Causes of Breathing Problems
Your breathing problems may originate from one or more of the following conditions:
- Allergies: Allergies occur due to your body’s misinterpretation of outside elements like pet dander, pollen, mold or grass as an attack. Symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, coughing and itchy, watery eyes.
- Deviated septum: A deviated septum can be present from birth or present itself due to an injury. A deviated septum occurs when the wall of tissue between your nostrils becomes severely off-center and causes issues like blockages or congestion.
- Lung disease: Asthma is a common cause of breathing issues and attacks often occur due to a trigger like an allergic reaction to dust, mold or pollen. Other lung diseases like pulmonary edema, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, plural effusion or tuberculosis can also trigger breathing problems.
- Sinusitis: Sinusitis occurs when the lining of the nasal passages becomes inflamed. While sinusitis usually occurs due to a viral infection which shows improvement in a week or two, it can also become chronic, lasting over 12 weeks. Chronic sinusitis often requires sinus surgery to clear the blockage and allow the sinuses to drain.
How can my ear, nose and throat doctor help?
Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor will use different treatments. You will have a physical examination with your ear, nose, and throat doctor. This time allows your doctor to spot abnormalities with your body, take images using x-rays or MRIs, and begin any necessary testing. Your doctor will work with you to determine the cause of your breathing problems and find the best course of treatment for you.
Discover the reasons why your voice is hoarse and what an ENT doctor can do about it.
While some people may find a raspy voice attractive, a hoarse voice may be rather startling if it’s suddenly appeared out of nowhere. There are many reasons why you may be experiencing hoarseness. Find out the common causes and when you may want to see an ENT doctor for treatment.
There are many reasons why you may be dealing with a hoarse voice. Common causes include,
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Vocal cord polyps or cysts
- Thyroid problems
- Vocal cord trauma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cancer of the throat
But to find out what is really behind your raspy voice you will want to visit an otolaryngologist who will be able to ask you questions about your hoarseness and also perform a physical exam. Sometimes we will use a small, lighted scope that will be able to examine the vocal cords for any issues. If you have been dealing with hoarseness for about 2 to 3 weeks then it’s really important that you seek medical attention, as there could be a serious reason behind your condition.
Treating Your Hoarseness
The treatment plan that you are given will depend on the cause of your symptoms. Some acute infections such as laryngitis will clear up over time on its own, so more conservative at-home measures like using a humidifier can help manage symptoms until the illness goes away.
To prevent further damage or injury to your vocal cords we also recommend resting the voice as much as possible. If you are a smoker we highly advise that you consider quitting.
If allergies or GERD is the reason for your hoarseness they can both be managed with certain medications. Surgery is usually only necessary if there are polyps, cysts, trauma to the vocal cords or the presence of cancer.
If your hoarseness is severe or is concerning you this is more than enough reason to visit an ENT professional who can tell you what’s going on. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call.
Hearing loss is a serious condition that affects millions of Americans. Don’t be next!
From going to loud concerts to walking by a construction site, there are many instances in which our ears can take some pretty nasty abuse; however, over time these sounds can take a serious toll on our hearing. And if you work in a rather loud environment, it’s vitally important that you take the necessary precautions you need to protect your hearing for the future. Find out how to protect your ears and whether your workplace warrants protection.
Assess Your Workplace’s Noise Levels
Ask yourself these questions to determine whether you work in a loud environment:
- Do you leave work with ringing in your ears?
- Do you experience temporary hearing loss after leaving your workplace?
- Do you have to shout at coworkers who are close by just to be heard?
If you’ve agreed with most or all of these questions, you are most likely working in an environment in which your ears need protection.
Protecting Your Ears on the Job
Here are some ways to protect your precious hearing from a loud workplace:
- Talk to your ENT doctor about earplugs or muffs that you can wear to protect your hearing. Not all ear protection is created equally, so you’ll want to find ones that are strong and durable enough to provide the ultimate protection.
- Get annual evaluations from your otolaryngologist to make sure that your hearing isn’t being impacted by your workplace. Through these evaluations we can check the health of your ears and provide you with tips for how to better protect your ears.
- Try and operate any noisy machinery on shifts where there are fewer people working.
- Limit an employee’s exposure to certain loud noises and offer noise-free areas that workers can go to get relief.
- Make sure that machinery and equipment is well oiled and maintained. Make sure there is a sound barrier such as a wall that can be used to separate workers from the machinery whenever possible.
- Opt for using low-noise machinery.
- It’s important that if your hearing is being affected that you work with your employer to make sure some of these options are implemented so that you can protect your hearing while on the job.
Hearing is so very important and any ear, nose and throat doctor will agree. If you want to be able to hear crystal clear for many years to come it’s important that you implement specific measures now. Protect your ears and they will serve you well in the future!
Could your child's sore throat be a symptom of tonsillitis? The pediatric ear, nose and throat doctors at Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy in Maitland and Orlando, FL, share a few common signs and symptoms of tonsillitis in children.
Your child may complain of throat pain if his or her tonsils are inflamed.
A change in the appearance of tonsils
Inflamed tonsils look red and swollen and may be covered with a yellow or white film or spots. If your child is cooperative, you can view his or her tonsils if you shine a small flashlight at the back of the throat. When you examine your child's tonsils, you may also notice that his or her breath is unusually bad.
Difficulty swallowing or breathing
Swollen tonsils can make swallowing difficult and also interfere with your child's ability to breathe. If you notice that your son or daughter has difficulty swallowing, call our Maitland and Orlando office as soon as possible. Drooling can be a symptom of swallowing troubles in children too young to talk. If your child has trouble breathing or extreme difficulty swallowing, go to the emergency room immediately.
Swollen lymph nodes
Lymph nodes help the body fight infection. If your child has tonsillitis, the lymph nodes in his or her neck may become noticeably swollen and tender.
A new voice
Has your child's voice changed suddenly? Tonsillitis may be the cause of a hoarse, muffled or scratchy voice.
A fever can often accompany tonsillitis. If your child complains that his or her throat hurts and he or she has a fever, tonsillitis may be the cause.
Some children with tonsillitis may be just as energetic as ever, but many don't feel well when their tonsils are inflamed. Your child may complain of a stomachache, stiff neck or headache and may be uninterested in playing or eating. Babies and toddlers may be fussier than normal and may refuse feedings.
When should I make an appointment with the ENT?
Call us if your child's sore throat doesn't improve after a day or two, he or she has high fever, eating is difficult, or your son or daughter seems particularly lethargic or unwell.
Are you worried that your child may have tonsillitis? Call the pediatric ENTs at Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy in Maitland and Orlando, FL, at (407) 253-1000 to make an appointment.
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