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Archive for January, 2013

Hearing Preservation Tips

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Hearing

Our ears are meant to last a lifetime. As we live longer it is critically important to take active steps early in life to protect your hearing.

1. Turn down the music in your car, MP3 player and on the T.V.
2. Bring a gift and a set of ear plugs when you attend celebrations such as weddings or large parties.
3. When exercising try to use head phones that go over the ear.
4. If you are working in a noisy environment, wear ear protection.
5. Avoid loud concerts if possible.

If you notice ringing in the ears or a change in your hearing you should schedule an appointment to undergo a full hearing evaluation at Dallas ENT Group. (972) 566-8300

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5 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE SINUSITIS

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Sinusitis in Texas (and the rest of the United States) is a common problem. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 29 million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis. Remarkably, that’s nearly 13 percent of the entire population.

We hear you asking, What is sinusitis? Quite simply, sinusitis is another name for a sinus infection.

Sinus infections are episodes when the nasal passages become swollen and inflamed. Some episodes of sinusitis are brief while chronic sinusitis lasts from 4 to 12 weeks or longer and often occurs more than 4 times in a single year.

There are a variety of causes of sinusitis, including viruses, bacterial infections, nasal polyps, respiratory tract infections and allergies. Fortunately, there are common signs and symptoms of sinusitis that may indicate you have the condition and should seek treatment.

Sinusitis Symptoms

It’s easy to confuse a common cold with sinusitis. Both can cause a runny and congested nose. However, with a sinus infection or sinusitis, it’s likely that two of the following symptoms are present.

1. Thick Yellow or Green Discharge

You’re familiar with the normal consistency and color of mucus. It’s generally light colored and fairly thin, slippery and viscous. When you have a sinus infection, the discharge from your nose becomes thicker and a darker yellow or green color is common.

2. Headache

A deep, dull, ongoing headache is one of the common signs of a sinusitis. You’ll feel the ache in your cheekbones, forehead and the bridge of your nose. One of the fastest ways to make a sinus headache worse is to move your head quickly from side to side. Ouch!

3. Difficulty Breathing Through Your Nose

Sinusitis can block the ability to breathe through your nose. If you’ve suddenly become a mouth breather and you can’t clear your nose well enough to breathe normally, you may have a sinus infection.

4. Tenderness and Swelling around Your Eyes, Nose, Cheeks and Forehead

A sinus infection often leaves your head feeling like a giant soccer ball that has been kicked around. It feels tender. It feels heavy. Lightly touching your cheeks, nose and forehead causes pain. You need relief and you need it soon.

5. Reduced Sense of Taste and Smell

When your nose is stuffed, it’s difficult to taste and smell the foods you normally love. If you’re wondering if you’re having difficulty tasting and smelling food, order your favorite pizza or cook a favorite dish, preferably one with some spice and aroma. If you can barely smell and taste the food, you may have a sinus infection.

Other less common symptoms include ear pain, nausea, bad breath, cough and sore throat.

Call Dallas ENT Group for Diagnosis and Treatment

If you recognize these sinusitis symptoms—and symptoms consistently last longer than 7 days and occur on a fairly regular basis—it’s time to contact an ear, nose and throat doctor in Dallas.

The ENT doctors at the Dallas ENT Group regularly and successfully treat patients with sinusitis. Our outcomes are excellent. Call 972-566-8300 today to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to eliminate the pain and hassle of sinusitis.

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Treating Ear Infections in Children

Friday, January 11th, 2013

“Not another ear infection!” you’ll often hear parents groan. Most children experience at least a couple ear infections during early childhood and for some kids they seems to pop up almost as frequently as the next mortgage or rent payment. Ear infections are very much an illness of early childhood and are most common in children from 3 months to 4 years old. Although ear infections can cause temporary pain and discomfort, you can rest assured that most children will outgrow them.

Why do some children get so many ear infections?

Ear infections usually result from an upper respiratory illness such as a simple cold. The cold causes swelling and mucus to accumulate in the sinuses, throat and the pair of narrow tubes (eustachian tubes) that connect the middle ear to the back of the throat, behind the nasal passages. When these tubes get blocked, fluid gets trapped in the middle ear and your child ends up with an ear infection.

Young children are particularly susceptible to ear infections as their eustachian tubes are shorter and aligned horizontally – not ideal for drainage. This means that the tubes are much more likely to get blocked, resulting in an ear infection.

As your child grows, his or her eustachian tubes will grow. The tubes lengthen and their alignment changes so that they are more efficient at draining fluid, making an ear infection less likely.

How can I tell if my two-year old son has an ear infection?

Your son will likely have had a cold, be a lot fussier than usual and cry a lot, especially when lying flat. Your son’s nighttime sleep may also be disrupted. Children often have fevers the first one to three days of a cold but if your son has a fever that lasts longer than a few days or that returns after it has initially broken, an ear infection is a definite possibility.

Just to dismiss an old wives’ tale – you may have heard that ear pulling is a sign of an ear infection. Not necessarily, he might be pulling on his ear for many other reasons.

Are antibiotics the recommended treatment for ear infections? I’m hearing a lot of different advice and am confused.

I can understand your confusion, especially with the media referencing different studies with conflicting conclusions. Your doctor will follow the advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics which forms their recommendations based on evidence from a compilation of studies from professionally recognized sources. Currently, the following evidence-based treatments are recommended:

Under 1 year of age: Antibiotics should be started immediately upon diagnosis.
From 1 to 2 years of age: For most children this age antibiotics are recommended, although your doctor may encourage you to wait 48 hours to see if the ear infection resolves by itself. Your doctor will usually provide you with a prescription for antibiotics that you can start using if symptoms don’t seem to be improving or are getting worse.
Over 2 years of age: Observant management for the next 48 hours is usually recommended as most ear infections get better by themselves. This type of treatment plan is particularly recommended for children who don’t have a fever and have no history of recurring ear infections. To ease the pain of an ear infection, which is definitely the worst part for your child, you can give him or her over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Motrin). Motrin is particularly effective for the discomforts of an ear infection as it provides longer pain relief (approximately six to eight hours) and also has anti-inflammatory properties (reducing the swelling in the sinuses and middle ear areas). If your child does not seem to be getting any better after 48 hours, is experiencing worsening pain and/or develops a new fever, contact your child’s doctor right away. Antibiotics are then usually recommended.

My daughter seems to get ear infections all the time. What are the treatment options?

If your daughter is getting more than three or four ear infections in a season (particularly if she is under two years old), your doctor may refer her to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) or otolaryngology specialist to discuss inserting tubes (typanostomy tubes) in her ears to help avoid repeat ear infections. Tubes can help:

Prevent ear infections because they let fluid drain out of the middle ear through the tube into the ear canal.
Prevent future fluid build up and a feeling of pressure and pain in the ears.
With possible hearing issues.

The ENT specialist inserts the tubes through a small surgical opening created in each eardrum. Although the surgery is usually done under general anesthesia it is a simple outpatient procedure that only takes between 10 and 20 minutes. Your daughter will most likely have little pain and recover quickly after the surgery.

The tubes typically stay in place and function well for six month to a year. Often they fall out by themselves. They can then be replaced if your daughter continues to get ear infections. However, by the time the tubes fall out your daughter might well have outgrown getting ear infections.

Is there anything I can do to prevent my baby son from getting ear infections?

Ear infections are very much part and parcel of being a little kid and if your son gets them often tubes can help. As ear infections are mostly due to a child’s anatomy (his eustachian tubes still need to lengthen and align correctly) there are neither home remedies nor medications that will stop him getting ear infections. Make sure you don’t smoke or that your son is not exposed to second-hand smoke as that can weaken his immunity. Breastfeeding can provide your son with additional antibodies to fight off infections but it is not a panacea and he might still be susceptible to ear infections depending on his anatomy.

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Dallas ENT Group now offers allergy skin testing for common Texas allergens as well as immunotherapy treatment for adults and children.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

What is Allergy Immunotherapy?
Allergy Immunotherapy is one of the most popular treatments for allergies. Also known as “allergy shots,” allergy immunotherapy is administered to a patient in a series of injections. The process works as follows: our allergy specialists administer small doses of an allergen (a substance to which a patient is allergic) in order to develop tolerance to allergies. The process is closely related to traditional vaccines. Ultimately, an allergy patient can be desensitized through immunotherapy to annoying allergens through the development of protective antibodies that reduce the patient’s response to allergens. Over time, the patient’s reaction to common allergens can be greatly reduced.

What Types of Allergies Can Be Treated With Immunotherapy?
A wide range of allergies can be treated with immunotherapy. Texas is commonly known as “the allergy capital of the world.” Common allergens in our part of the country that trigger the common symptoms of congestion, sneezing, and itching are typically plant-based pollens. Immunotherapy is generally regarded as a sound treatment for allergic reactions to pollen. In addition, immunotherapy can also treat allergic reactions to mold, dust mites, and animal dander.

What Is the Course of Treatment Like?
Immunotherapy injections began with a “build-up” phase and continue to a “maintenance” phase. In the build-up phase, small but gradually increasing doses of immunotherapy shots are administered between once and twice a week, until a “full” dose is reached. Once this point in treatment is reached, the maintenance phase begins. The dosage and frequency during the maintenance phase will differ for each patient (and why our expertise with customizing immunotherapy treatments is so invaluable). Generally, the maintenance phase will require injections every 2 to 4 weeks. The maintenance phase of treatment differs from patient to patient, but may last for a period of 3 to 5 years. The lasting effects of allergy immunotherapy can be seen 12 months or longer following the end of treatment.

Advantages of Allergy Immunotherapy
Allergy shots are widely regarded as a more effective treatment for allergies, and one that can actually decrease the progression of allergies. Medicines such as antihistamines simply cover the symptoms and can cause severe drowsiness. Your allergy immunotherapy treatment may even be covered by your existing insurance policy. If you have a question about your coverage simply call us or contact your insurance company.

Why Not Start Today?

You can start on your path to becoming allergy-free today. Just call Dallas ENT Group at (972) 566-8300 to set up your allergy testing appointment today!

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