Nosebleeds happen to most of us at some point during our lifetime. While it can be startling, nosebleeds are typically harmless and nothing to worry about. Of course, if you battle nosebleeds rather regularly you may be wondering what’s going on and whether you should turn to an otolaryngologist for an evaluation. Here’s what you should know about getting a nosebleed.
Common Causes of a Nosebleed
The blood vessels within our nose are very delicate, which means that they are prone to bursting and causing nosebleeds. Therefore, the two most common causes of nosebleeds are nose picking and dry air. Dry air can dry out the nasal passages, which leaves the area prone to infection and cracking.
Other causes include:
- Repeated nose blowing
- Broken nose
- Acute or chronic sinusitis (a sinus infection)
- Common cold
- Certain allergy medications (these medications can dry out the nose)
- Traumatic injury to the nose
- Deviated septum
- Bleeding disorders
- High altitude
- Excessive use of blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications
There are two main types of nosebleeds: anterior and posterior. An anterior nosebleed is a bleed that originates in the septum of the nose (the wall that separates the two nasal passages). These nosebleeds are minor and can be treated with home care. If your child experiences nosebleeds an anterior nosebleed is usually the cause.
Posterior nosebleeds occur further back in the nose where the artery branches are located. This type of nosebleed is much heavier, occurs more often in adults and may require medical care. While rare, it is possible for a posterior nosebleed to be a sign of high blood pressure or a blood disorder (e.g. hemophilia).
When to See a Doctor
While most people will be able to treat a simple nosebleed on their own without having to seek medical care, it’s important to see a doctor right away if:
- Your nosebleed is affecting your ability to breath
- Bleeding lasts more than 20 minutes
- Your nosebleed is the result of a traumatic injury or accident
- There is a significant amount of blood
While it’s not considered an emergency situation, it is a good idea to talk with your ENT doctor if you or your child experiences nosebleeds often. During an evaluation an ear, nose and throat doctor can ask you questions about your symptoms, perform a quick examination of the nose and determine the underlying cause of your persistent nosebleeds.
If you are concerned about you or your child’s nosebleeds then it’s best to play it safe and to schedule an appointment with an otolaryngologist. Call our office today.
Also known as canker sores and ulcers, mouth sores usually result from bite injuries or allergic reactions. They can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Unlike cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HS1 and HS2) and develop on the lips and the skin around the mouth, non-Herpes related mouth sores can form on the gums, tongue, lips, the lining of the cheeks and throat. Canker sores are not contagious, and usually clear up on their own. They tend to be painful and can be treated with topical over the counter analgesics, mouthwashes and rinses. If mouth sores do not resolve on their own and last longer than three weeks, it may be necessary to seek treatment from an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.
Common Causes of Mouth Ulcers and Canker Sores
Accidental biting is the most common cause, along with friction from toothbrushing, orthodontics or dentures. Diet can also play a role, in the form of food allergies to anything from coffee, chocolate and highly acidic foods and citrus fruits. Deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals like folic acid, B12, iron, folate and zinc can also cause mouth ulcers. Sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste and oral bacteria like Helicobacter pylori (which is also responsible for stomach ulcers) can cause lesions in the mouth as well.
Lifestyle factors like smoking and elevated stress levels are another cause. Ulcers that persist for more than a few weeks, do not respond to self-care and over the counter treatments and are accompanied by additional symptoms like fever, excessive pain, swelling and difficulty eating and drinking, can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Schedule an appointment with an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- swollen lymph nodes
- difficulty swallowing or speaking
Is an Underlying Medical Condition Causing My Mouth Sores?
Persistent and chronic mouth sores can sometimes be a symptom of immune deficiencies or inflammatory conditions like lupus, Celiac, Behcet's and Chron's Disease. Contact an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) for more information on treatment options and symptom relief.
While swimmer’s ear may sound akin to having a lucky rabbit’s foot, the opposite is actually true. This painful condition, also known as acute otitis externa, causes infection and inflammation of the outer ear. As you may be able to guess from the name alone, this ear infection is often the result of too much water getting into the ears, whether you are an avid swimmer or you just drenched yourself in a hot shower for too long. Of course, there are other reasons why you may be prone to these infections.
Sure, this infection tends to be more common in children and teens, but if you happen to clean your ears regularly with cotton swabs, if you end up damaging or cutting the skin of the ear canal or if you’ve been diagnosed with eczema of the ear canal, then you too could be at risk for developing this type of ear infection.
Once the water is trapped inside the ear canal, it leaves the ear susceptible to bacteria and infection. If you have swimmer’s ear, you most likely know it because the inflammation causes pain. Since it is indeed an infection, it’s important that you turn to your otolaryngologist for proper medical attention. Not only will the treatment help eliminate your pain and discomfort but it will also stop the infection from spreading.
Besides pain, you may also notice that your ear feels as if there's fluid in it, which may also be drained. Since swimmer’s ear is an infection, you may also notice that the lymph nodes around the neck and ears are swollen. Some patients even report minor hearing loss. Of course, a young child can’t often describe their symptoms, but you may notice your little one tugging at their ear, unable to sleep, or more irritable and cranky. If you notice these symptoms then it’s time to take your child to the ENT doctor.
What can happen if swimmer’s ear isn’t treated properly? You may experience chronic or recurring infections. You may find that even if the condition clears up that your hearing loss has not fully returned. There may even be damage to the bones and cranial nerves.
When you come in to see your ENT specialist, they will most likely prescribe eardrops to treat the infection. They may also clean out the infected ear canal. These eardrops will serve to kill the bacteria and reduce pain and inflammation. Make sure to follow the instructions for your medication and continue to use it even once your symptoms have gone away, or according to what your physician has prescribed. This will ensure that all the bacteria are destroyed and that you won’t develop another infection.
Protect the health of your ears. If you think you may have swimmer’s ear, or if you are experiencing any kind of ear pain, it’s a good idea to play it safe and visit an ear, nose and throat specialist right away for care.
Millions of Americans struggle with allergies these days. Triggered by a wide range of allergens, such as dust, pollen, or pet dander, allergies can interfere with your quality of life by producing uncomfortable symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, scratchy throat, shortness of breath. If you are struggling with allergies, help is available. The doctors here at Century Ear, Nose & Throat, Head & Neck Surgery in Orland Park, IL, are your medical professionals for the treatment of allergies.
Allergies can be triggered by a wide range of substances. Examples of common allergens include:
- House dust
- Pet dander
- Certain foods
Several symptoms can result when a person experiences an allergic reaction to a particular substance. Common allergy symptoms include:
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Sinus congestion
- Scratchy throat
- Shortness of breath
Today, there are many treatments that are available for easing the symptoms of allergies, and your Orland Park ENT doctor can recommend the appropriate treatment for your situation. Some of these options include medications, saline nasal rinses, and immunotherapy. While medication and other treatment options target the symptoms caused by allergies, immunotherapy works to prevent allergic reactions by helping the body build up a tolerance to a specific allergen.
Two types of immunotherapy are allergy shots and sublingual drops:
Allergy shots involve injecting small doses of a particular allergen into the body over time. These small doses help the body get used to the allergen, allowing it to develop a tolerance to the allergen over time. Eventually, the body becomes immune to the allergic effects of the allergen, thus greatly diminishing or eliminating the symptoms altogether.
Sublingual drops also work to reduce allergy symptoms by helping the body build up a tolerance to specific allergens. However, with sublingual drops, there are no injections. The body is instead exposed to small doses of the allergen through drops of allergen extract being placed under the tongue for a few minutes at a time. Some patients need to use the drops daily to build up tolerance, while others only need to use the drops a few times a week.
Need Relief? Give Us a Call
If you are struggling with allergies, the doctors here at Century Ear, Nose & Throat, Head & Neck Surgery can help. To schedule an appointment for the treatment of allergies in Orland Park, call the office at (708) 460-0007. Appointments can also be scheduled at Century Ear, Nose & Throat, Head & Neck Surgery’s Evergreen Park or New Lenox locations by calling the same number.
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!
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