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.
Does your throat hurt? Sore throats aren't just caused by viruses. Chicago, IL, ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest Ear Nose and Throat discusses a few things that can cause throat pain.
Allergies may irritate your throat, in addition to causing a runny nose and itchy eyes. Your sore throat may become worse if you also experience post-nasal drip.
Have you recently spent time around smoke or strong chemicals? These substances can irritate the lining of your throat.
Sleeping with your mouth open
Sleeping with your mouth open tends to dry your throat, which can cause pain. A dry or sore throat upon awakening can be a sign of sleep apnea, a condition that occurs due to multiple, short breathing pauses during the night.It's important to visit our Chicago office if you have throat pain in the morning, snore, constantly feel tired, or gasp for air or choke during the night.
Viral and bacterial infections
Colds, the flu and other viruses, such as chickenpox, may cause sore throats. Throat pain may also occur if you develop strep throat, an illness caused by a bacterial virus. Although sore throats caused by viruses should gradually get better on their own, you'll need antibiotics if you have a strep throat.
Furnaces tend to dry the air, which can cause throat irritation.
Throat injuries are sometimes responsible for throat pain. Injuries can happen due to a blow to your neck or may happen if you spent a long time yelling or singing.
Gastroesophageal reflux may be responsible for sore throats and cough. It may go undetected for long periods of time. This can usually be diagnosed treated with a few simple steps.
More serious causes
Although a sore throat is usually a minor symptom that soon goes away, sometimes a sore throat can be a sign of a serious condition or disease. Throat pain can occur if you have a disorder of the tonsils or a tumor in your throat or larynx.
Sore throats that last more than a week or are particularly severe should be evaluated by an ENT. Call Chicago, IL, ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest Ear Nose and Throat at (312) 988-7777 to schedule your appointment.
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
Cancers that are categorized as head and neck encompass the areas from the nasal passage and sinuses in the head, down to the opening of the esophagus at the base of the throat. Also known as squamous cell carcinomas, this type of cancer affects the mucous membranes lining the nose, mouth, and throat. Treatment for this form of cancer is managed by an otolaryngologist, or ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).
Types of Head and Neck Cancers
- Oral Cavity - lips, tongue, gums, cheek lining, floor of the mouth, and the hard palette (roof) of the mouth
- Pharynx (throat) - nasopharynx (behind the nose), oropharynx (area made up of the soft palette, back third of the tongue, and the tonsils), hypopharynx (bottom or the pharynx, which connects to the esophagus)
- Larynx - (voice box, vocal cords)
- Sinuses and nasal cavity
- Salivary glands
A: Many of the symptoms for oral and throat cancers are similar to benign conditions. ENT doctors advise patients to pay attention to unexplained symptoms that persist beyond a few weeks, do not respond to treatment or clear up and then return frequently. The most common set of symptoms include:
- Sores in the mouth, gums or tongue that do not heal
- Chronic sore throat
- Hoarseness or changes in the voice
- Swelling and bleeding from the throat or nose
- Difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing
- Chronic headaches or earaches
- Hearing impairment
- Chronic sinus infections that do not clear up with antibiotics
- Numbness and/or facial paralysis
A: While this type of cancer can technically affect anyone, it is more common in men over the age of 50.
Q: Are head and neck cancers preventable?
A: The most common cause of oral cancers is tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. Abstaining from tobacco use (cigarettes and nicotine products) and avoiding or drinking alcohol in moderation is highly recommended. Good oral hygiene with daily flossing and brushing and regular dental check-ups, as well as a healthy diet can also lower the risk. Head and neck cancers can be treated successfully when caught early. Reporting suspicious symptoms to an ENT specialist as soon as possible is important for early detection.
Q: What are the treatment options for head and neck cancers?
A: Treatment varies from patient to patient depending on the type of cancer, location, stage at time of diagnosis and the patient's overall health. Most cancers are typically treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and/or targeted drug therapy.
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