Dizziness can result from a number of external factors, ranging from dehydration and hunger to severe anxiety and panic attacks. The false sensation of dizziness, which makes it feel like a person's surroundings are spinning when they are actually still, is known as vertigo. Because the inner ear helps to regulate balance, a problem or injury to the inner can interfere with the signals the brain receives regarding the body's location relative to its surroundings. This can cause a sense of extreme disorientation and dizziness, even when the person is standing completely still in the middle of an empty room. Problems with the ear are diagnosed and treated by an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).
Regular Dizziness or Vertigo? What You Need to Know
Everyone experiences a bout of dizziness from time to time, which is completely normal. Prolonged and frequent dizziness that is accompanied by other symptoms typically results from an underlying cause. An ENT can determine whether dizziness is caused by an injury or malfunction in the inner ear.
What Do the Ears Have to Do With Motion and Balance?
The human ear consists of three parts - the inner, middle and outer ear. The brain receives signals and input from the sensory system, which helps it to process information regarding a person's surroundings and fixed point in space in relation to gravity and motion. The inner ear contains sensors that work in conjunction with the eyes and sensory nerves to help the brain accurately process the signals and create a full picture detailing where we are at any given moment. A problem in the inner ear is like a short circuit that disturbs the brain's ability to accurately assess a person's surroundings, resulting in the feeling that the room or surrounding objects are spinning because the information the inner ear is sending the brain does not match with what the eyes and sensory nerves are processing.
What Causes Vertigo?
Infections and fluid buildup in the ear can cause vertigo and interfere with hearing. Migraine sufferers can also experience vertigo as part of their symptoms. The most common form of vertigo is caused by rapid head movements, like standing up too quickly from a seated position, or from trauma to the head. Contact an ENT specialist for persistent dizziness to determine whether treatment is necessary and to prevent complications like hearing impairment or loss.
An occasional sore throat from a bout with the flu, or an afternoon of enthusiastically cheering for a beloved team at a sporting event can happen to anyone. Small school-aged children, who are constantly exposed to germs and bacteria through their classmates, are more prone to suffer from chronic sore throats and inflammation of the tonsils (tonsillitis). Tonsillitis is a common childhood illness, and is generally rare in adulthood.
What Causes Tonsillitis?
Like colds and the flu, most cases of tonsillitis are caused by a viral infection. However, they can also be caused by bacteria. Viral and bacterial infections are treated differently, and therefore require diagnosis and treatment from an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Tonsillitis?
Sore throat/pain and difficulty eating and swallowing
Redness and swelling of the tonsils
Tender and swollen glands
White or yellow spots on the tongue or tonsils
Drooling (when swallowing becomes too painful)
Parents should schedule an appointment with an ENT specialist if pain and symptoms do not improve in 24 - 48 hours.
How is Tonsillitis Treated?
Treatment depends on the source of the infection. If caused by a viral infection, treatment may be similar to a cold or flu with over the counter pain and fever medication and rest. If the source is a bacterial infection, an ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Every case should be evaluated and treated by an ear, nose and throat specialist to make sure that the infection clears up properly.
Will my Child Need to Have the Tonsils Removed (Tonsillectomy)?
Tonsillectomies are generally used as a last resort in rare cases where the condition has become chronic and does not respond to medication and conservative treatment.
Is Tonsillitis Preventable?
The same measures that protect children from cold and flu can be used to help reduce their chances of catching viral tonsillitis from a friend or classmate at school or in day care. Covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing, frequently washing the hands and avoiding close contact with sick classmates can help. Keeping children home from school or day care until they are feeling better can help reduce the spread of germs.
Think you may have allergies? Dr. Joshua Goldberg and Dr. Jeffrey Cooper of Ear Nose Throat and Facial Plastic Surgery Specialists in Willow Grove, PA, discuss allergies and share information on allergy testing and treatment options.
What are allergies?
Allergies occur when your body's immune system overreacts to an allergen. Some allergens, such as pollen, are airborne and carried by the wind, while other allergens are ingested. Although allergens aren't really dangerous, your immune system classifies them as intruders and immediately leaps into action to protect you from harm. The antibodies your body releases to attack allergens trigger common allergy symptoms.
What types of allergens are most common?
Allergies can be caused by a variety of allergens, including pollen, grasses, fungi, pet dander, foods, dust, dust mites, cockroaches or foods. If you're allergic to these substances, you may develop any of these symptoms:
- Frequent sneezing
- Runny nose or congestion
- Red or itchy eyes
- Dark undereye circles
- A tight feeling in your chest
You may also develop an allergic reaction simply by touching an allergen. The allergy, called contact dermatitis, can occur if you are allergic to poison ivy, latex, nickel, bleach, products that contain fragrances or other substances. If you come in contact with one of these allergens, you may develop a red, itchy rash.
How are allergies treated?
If drugstore allergy medications aren't helpful, or if you suspect you have an allergy but aren't sure what allergen is causing the reaction, it's a good idea to undergo allergy testing. During the test, tiny amounts of various allergens will be injected under your skin. If the injected area reddens, it indicates that you have an allergy to the substance.
After the cause of your allergy is confirmed during allergy testing in our Willow Grove office, Dr. Goldberg and Dr. Cooper can recommend treatments that will help ease your symptoms, including prescription-strength decongestants and antihistamines, nasal sprays, eye drops, corticosteroid pills and creams and allergy shots.
Are you tired of living with congestion, headaches, and coughing? Allergy testing is the first step in helping you find relieve for your uncomfortable symptoms. Call Dr. Goldberg and Dr. Cooper of Ear Nose Throat and Facial Plastic Surgery Specialists in Willow Grove, PA, at (215) 659-8805 to schedule your appointment.
- Hear muffled speech or sounds
- Have a problem understanding individual words
- Need people to speak more loudly or slowly
- Have to turn up the television or radio
- Withdraw from social events or conversations
- Protect your ears by wearing earplugs or earmuffs if you are in a loud workplace
- Have your hearing tested by an audiologist or ENT specialist. Current recommendations are to have your hearing tested at least every 10 years through age 50, and every three years after age 50.
- Protect your ears from damaging loud noises in your daily activities and recreation, especially listening to rock concerts, shooting guns or riding in loud vehicles.
- Take breaks from continuous loud noises.
Dander is a common allergen made up of tiny flakes and particles of skin from common household pets like cats, dogs, birds and rodents. Dander is harmless to adults and children who do not suffer from allergies, however people who sneeze and become congested around certain animals might be allergic. Pet allergies can range from mild to severe, with treatment options ranging from over the counter antihistamines, to prescription medication from an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.
What You Need to Know About Dander and Pet Allergies
In addition to their skin, fur and feathers, animals like cats and dogs can also trigger allergic reactions in humans through proteins found in their saliva, urine and dried feces. So even the owner of a short haired or hairless cat may still experience an allergic reaction while cleaning out the cat litter or removing soiled newspaper from a dog's crate. Although many domestic animal breeds are marketed as non-allergenic alternatives, ENT specialists advise highly allergic adults or parents of children with allergies to exercise caution, given that allergens are not exclusive to fur and can still be found in the pet's saliva, regardless of their coat.
A few facts about dander and pet allergens according to the American Lung Association:
- Americans are more than twice as likely to report allergies to cats than to dogs
- Female cats produce more of the protein (Fel d I) associated with cat allergies in humans
- Pet allergens tend to remain airborne longer than dust mites and other sources, and can remain in the home for weeks and months at a time, even if the animal is removed
- Pet allergens travel easily through dust and on clothes, and can also be found in buildings and homes without pets
- Pet allergens can trigger asthma in people with the condition
Symptoms of pet allergies:
- Congestion and runny nose
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Rashes and skin irritation like eczema
- Difficulty breathing
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