You may have allergies that show up in the spring when plants are flowering and grass is growing. You’ve grown used to the itchy, allergies watery eyes and sneezing. But now, you have allergies in winter too, when you’re indoors because of bad weather. Your ENT specialists want you to know that allergies aren’t just seasonal. They can affect you all year long.
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is common during the spring and summer months and is caused by an allergic response to tree or grass pollen and various other flowering plants. But allergies aren’t confined to just spring and summer. When you are indoors during the fall and winter, you can experience allergies to pet dander, dust mites, mold and many other indoor irritants. You can also be allergic to certain foods and not even realize it.
Your first step in dealing with allergies is to learn what you are allergic to. Your ENT doctors can test you for food allergies and a variety of both indoor and outdoor allergens. Once you’ve found out what you are allergic to, your doctors may prescribe:
Allergy shots—typically given once a week with either a single injection or multiple injections depending on how many things you are allergic to.
Sublingual drop therapy—a convenient option for people on the go, or those who don’t want injections; your doctors mix up a custom treatment solution which you can take at home and use daily, as a drop under your tongue.
There are also some remedies you can try at home to get relief from allergy symptoms, such as:
- Irrigating your nasal passages with a saline solution
- Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants
- Using allergy-proof pillowcases and linens
- Using allergy or HEPA filters in your house, especially in the bedroom
- Vacuuming your carpets regularly
- Keeping your pets off of furniture and out of your bedroom
If you have irritating allergies, you already know they can affect your life. They can keep you from doing the things you like, and worst of all, they may not be just seasonal. But now there’s help just a phone call away from your ENT specialists. Call today and get some relief from your allergies!
Are you dealing with the effects of vocal polyps?
Most people don’t notice issues with their vocal cords until the problem has become rather serious. People who use their voice a lot, as well as those who need to shout or work within noisy environments may be prone to vocal issues. It’s important to know whether you might be dealing with a vocal cord disorder and when you should turn to our Chicago otolaryngologist Dr. Gordon Siegel at Midwest ENT for treatment.
Common Vocal Cord Disorders
The most common vocal problems include,
- Nodules: Nodules are hard, callus-like growths that develop on the vocal cords (often the result of irritation and vocal abuse). Teachers, singers and people who have to use their voice on a regular basis for work may be prone to developing vocal cord nodules.
- Polyps: These soft growths are also the result of vocal abuse or exposure to certain irritants such as cigarette smoke. Long-term smokers are at an increased risk of developing polyps.
- Laryngitis: This condition causes inflammation or an infection of the vocal cords. If the inflammation is severe enough you may temporarily lose your voice. Causes of laryngitis include vocal abuse, viral infections, heartburn or allergies.
- Ulcer: Vocal cord ulcers aren’t as common as the other conditions listed above; however, they can cause serious vocal cord erosion. Ulcers are more common in public speakers as well as those who have gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD).
Symptoms of Vocal Cord Disorders
As you might imagine, those dealing with vocal cord disorders often experience symptoms that impact the sound, quality and tone of their voice. One of the most common symptoms of a vocal cord disorder is hoarseness, which is present in most of the conditions above. If you are dealing with laryngitis caused by an infection then you may also experience a fever, fatigue or sore throat.
Those with ulcers, polyps and nodules may also notice that they have a low-pitched voice that tires easily. Ulcers may also cause throat pain. Our Chicago ENT doctor should evaluate your vocal cords if you’ve been dealing with,
- Hoarseness for more than two weeks
- You have trouble swallowing
- You feel like you have a lump in your throat
- You are experiencing unexpected throat pain
- You have lost your voice for more than a few days
Considering Vocal Cord Surgery
Surgery is usually not necessary unless the patient has not experienced any relief from their symptoms through nonsurgical treatment options. If you are still dealing with hoarseness and inflammation then our otolaryngologist may recommend surgery to remove the benign growth or scar tissue. There are several techniques that can improve these common vocal cord disorders.
About Midwest ENT
Midwest ENT in Chicago is a proud member of Northwestern Private Practice, a group of independent physicians that provide top medical care to patients living in Chicagoland. Our goal is to provide patients with a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible, often within a week.
If you want to discuss whether voice surgery is the most effective way to treat your vocal cysts, polyps or other issues then call our office today at (312) 988-777 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Siegel.
Treating a Deviated Septum
Do you have a deviated septum? A deviated septum is a disorder in which the nasal septum -- the cartilage and bone that separate the right and left nostrils -- is off center or crooked. A deviated septum may be present at birth, may become crooked during fetal development, or may be caused by an injury. Having a deviated septum may cause problems such as nosebleeds or breathing difficulties. If you have a deviated septum, your ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) can help. Read on to find out how a deviated septum is treated.
1. Decongestants. If your deviated septum isn't severe, your symptoms may respond to treatment with medications. If you have a deviated septum, your doctor may prescribe decongestants. Decongestants are available as a nasal spray or pill. Decongestants are drugs that reduce nasal tissue inflammation, helping to keep the airways on both sides of the nose open. Medicine only treats the swollen mucus membranes and won't correct a deviated septum.
2. Antihistamines. Antihistamines may be prescribed to relieve symptoms of nasal obstruction by reducing swelling of the nasal membranes. Antihistamines are medicines that that help prevent allergy symptoms, including congestion and runny nose. They can also help nonallergic conditions such as those occurring with a cold. Follow the instructions on the package label or prescription carefully when taking an antihistamine.
3. Nasal Steroid Sprays. Nasal steroid sprays have anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce inflammation in the tissue that lines sinuses and nasal passages, making breathing easier. Your doctor may recommend using a steroid spray once daily. It usually takes from one to three weeks for nasal steroid sprays to reach their maximal effect. It is important to follow your healthcare provider's directions when using them.
4. Surgical Repair. If drug therapies don't work for you, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct your deviated septum (septoplasty). Your doctor may suggest septoplasty to repair your deviated septum. During the procedure, your nasal septum is straightened and repositioned in the center of your nose. The procedure typically takes 1 to 2 hours and uses local or general anesthetic.The level of improvement you can expect with surgery depends on the severity of your deviation.
5. Rhinoplasty. In some cases, rhinoplasty, commonly known as a nose job, is a plastic surgery procedure that is performed to treat a deviated septum. Rhinoplasty involves modifying the cartilage and bone of your nose to change its size or shape or both. Rhinoplasty can be performed using local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Sometimes, the procedure performed at the same time as septoplasty.
Treat yourself to a better life. If you have a deviated septum, find a qualified ENT doctor in your local area and schedule a consultation. ENT doctors have received the proper training and education needed to treat a deviated septum. Treating your deviated septum can help you achieve a better quality of life!
From outdoor allergies to asthma, there are many reasons why you or your child may be having trouble with your breathing. Breathing problems can be distressing and it’s important to understand when symptoms warrant seeing an otolaryngologist for a proper evaluation.
Common Causes of Breathing Problems
You may have trouble breathing if you are dealing with:
- Common cold
- Acute or chronic sinusitis
- Deviated septum
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Other upper respiratory infections (e.g. pneumonia)
While some conditions like the common cold will only cause mild and temporary symptoms, if you notice that your symptoms are serious, don’t respond to at-home care or are getting worse then it’s time to seek medical attention. After all, there are certain conditions such as sinusitis that can become chronic if not properly treated. An ENT doctor will know exactly what medications and treatments to offer to reduce sinus inflammation and to make breathing easier.
Chronic breathing problems, particularly those caused by allergies and asthma, may also be associated with:
- Chest tightness or congestion
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Coughing that gets worse at night
- Shallow breathing
Asthma symptoms are usually detected early in childhood; however, it is still possible for adults to be diagnosed later in life (known as adult-onset asthma). If you or your child are experiencing difficulty breathing and tightness in the chest made worse by cold air, stress, or exercise it’s important that you see an ENT doctor right away. While asthma cannot be cured it can be properly managed with long-term medication. Leaving asthma untreated could be harmful to your health.
Testing and Diagnosis
When you come into the office an otolaryngologist will have you fill out detailed information about your family and personal medical history. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam. Pulmonary function tests are often used to test lung function in those suspected of having asthma. Of course, there are other breathing tests such as spirometry. Your doctor will also ask you questions about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing in order to rule out certain conditions or illnesses.
The treatment plan you receive will depend on the issue you are dealing with. For example, acute sinusitis can often be managed with over-the-counter nasal decongestants and antihistamines while chronic sinusitis may require more aggressive treatment such as prescription steroid sprays, oral corticosteroids, and endoscopic nasal surgery to remove the blockage or to repair the deviated septum. Your otolaryngologist can help you get your breathing problems under control.
If you’ve been having trouble breathing due to sinus issues find out if surgery might help.
Most people will deal with a sinus infection at some point during their lifetime. While a stuffy nose, nasal congestion, and facial pressure may be uncomfortable these symptoms will usually go away within a week or two. Unfortunately, there are some people who suffer from chronic or recurring sinus infections. When this happens it’s a good time to turn to our Chicago otolaryngologist Dr. Gordon Siegel at Midwest ENT to find out what he can do to help.
The Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis
In order for a sinus infection to be chronic, symptoms have to last for more than 12 weeks. The common symptoms of sinusitis include,
- Nasal inflammation
- Thick nasal discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Nasal congestion
- Trouble breathing through the nose
- Coughing that’s worse at night
- Pain the ears
- Facial pain and pressure
- Bad breath
When to Consider Sinus Surgery
While many people won’t require surgery in order to effectively treat their sinusitis, surgery may be the best option for someone who has been dealing with chronic sinusitis that isn’t responding to nonsurgical treatments.
Only once a patient has exhausted all other treatment options will our Chicago otolaryngologist doctor recommend getting sinus surgery. Surgery is effective for removing blockages in the nasal cavity to drain the sinuses and restore breathing.
Before undergoing surgery, your otolaryngologist will run a CT scan of the sinuses about 4-6 weeks after starting sinusitis medication to see if it's working. This CT scan will also help us determine what might be causing your sinus infection.
We know that your goal is to find the best physicians in the Chicagoland area. That’s why Midwest ENT is proud to be part of Northwestern Private Practice, which provides patients with independent physicians who are working at the esteemed Northwestern Memorial Hospital and other Northwestern-affiliated clinics. Learn more about us on our website: www.northwesternprivatepractice.com.
We believe that getting medical care, from a simple ENT consultation to undergoing sinus surgery, should be quick and easy. We are often able to get patients in to see a doctor within a week. If you’re looking for an ENT doctor in Chicago to treat your sinus problems then turn to Dr. Siegel of Midwest ENT.
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