Posts for: May, 2022
Should you turn to an otolaryngologist for allergy treatment?
Sneezing, itchy eyes, and nasal congestion are common symptoms of allergies. Our Oak Lawn, Lemont, and Orland Park, IL, otolaryngologists are here to provide you with the diagnosis and treatment plan you need to breathe easier when you are dealing with allergy problems. Here’s what you should know about allergies,
What is an allergy?
An allergy is when your body’s immune system interprets a harmless substance as a foreign invader, resulting in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and a stuffy or runny nose. Most allergies are a nuisance but relatively harmless; however, an allergy can be severe and even life-threatening in some rare cases.
What are common allergens?
While someone can develop an allergy to just about anything, certain substances are more likely to cause allergies than others. Common allergies include,
- Hay fever
- Dust mite (the most common allergy)
- Pet dander
- Insect bites and stings
What is involved in allergy testing?
Our ENT doctor can quickly diagnose your allergy with a simple skin test, which shows how your immune system responds to certain allergens if you are dealing with symptoms. We will also discuss your personal and family medical history and your environment and lifestyle to determine whether you may have allergies.
How are allergies treated?
Medication is usually the most common and simplest way to ease allergy symptoms. Your doctor will discuss the type of medication that will work best for you, depending on the kind of symptoms you are experiencing. If your allergy is mild, then simple over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, nasal sprays, and eye drops may be all you need. If symptoms don’t respond to over-the-counter medications, an allergy specialist will be able to prescribe a stronger antihistamine. Those with severe allergies may benefit from immunotherapy or allergy shots.
Whether you are having trouble getting some of your allergy symptoms under control or aren’t sure whether you are dealing with allergies, our Oak Lawn, Lemont, and Orland Park, IL, ENT team can provide you with the treatment you need. Century Ear, Nose and Throat – Head and Neck Surgery is also proud to serve the New Lenox and Evergreen Park, IL, areas. Call us at (708) 460-0007.
Purging closets bursting with hideous ties reminded me of how difficult it is to “gift” a father with something of value on Father’s Day.
I had a very close relationship with my father and both grandfathers, who supported and protected me always. Fatherly and grandfatherly support is a profound gift for any daughter or granddaughter. I am eternally grateful for these mentors and wish their loving influence had persisted longer.
All my fathers had excellent longevity. But what could have helped them to live even longer, more engaged and fuller lives? Here is what I wish I had given them: Release from the need to appear to be consistently strong, self-sufficient and invincible. The ability to acknowledge and adapt to advancing age and associated infirmities and the courage to admit the inability to solve every problem alone. I wish I could have gifted them the willingness to seek and use help when indicated. To release them from a belief that seeking help means you are “less of a … ” whatever it is, that you feel you must always and consistently be, as a father and as a man.
The gift I would bestow on all fathers is the courage to address the curse that took the intellect of my father, one grandfather and my father-in-law: age-related hearing loss, also known as ARHL. Not being able to hear or properly process information made these men first defensive, then blameful, isolated and in denial.
Eventually it rendered them less companionable and less interesting to people around them, ignored and, ultimately, avoided by those who might have helped them prevent the dementia that resulted from ARHL.
More than 460 million people worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S., hearing loss affects one-third of those 65 to 74 years old and nearly half of those older than 75, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports. ARHL is the most common remediable cause of cognitive impairment, falls and depression. Johns Hopkins researchers found up to a fivefold increased risk in older adults of developing cognitive impairment, including dementia, when significant hearing impairment remains unaddressed.
Although I owe all of my education to my financially astute grandfather, his stubborn refusal to address hearing loss ultimately led to social isolation. As fresh memories faded, repetition of the same stories made him less engaging and, ultimately to some, the object of derision. The exact same denial in my once-gregarious father led to ostracism in his retirement community, contributing to his death by a stroke after multiple falls.
My even more sociable father-in-law developed a form of dementia that was completely surgically curable, but the hearing loss he refused to address made him so uninteresting to be around that no one realized what was happening until it was too late for surgery.
By contrast, my physician grandfather, who used hearing aids, practiced medicine until he died at 81.
If you have ARHL, you may be thinking, “If everyone would just come closer, put down their gadgets, look directly at me, stop mumbling and enunciate more clearly, there would be no problem.” Right?
Wrong. Incoming students in an audiology program were required to wear earplugs for their first three days. That first day, they could ask people to repeat what they had said. By the second, students noticed their interactions became shorter and terser. By the third, people actively began to avoid them. These “hearing impaired” students were essentially being isolated. This same sequence occurs even in close and long-term relationships, albeit more gradually.
If you are beginning to experience hearing loss, your loved ones are sympathetic and supportive at first. ARHL is a disability, and it’s probably not your fault. But as it becomes more difficult to make ourselves understood, we are less likely (when communication is not truly essential) to make an effort. If we’ve brought the hearing issue up many times before, and you do not respond, you begin to seem more stubborn than fragile. ARHL is easily addressed, and yet, to a loved one, your denial of it feels as if you don’t care about your own well-being, the health of our relationship or the happiness or even safety of those who love and may depend on you.
If your father is one of the 500 million worldwide with hearing loss, try this gift: Remind him that you love him dearly and want him as a trusted adviser for as long as humanly possible. Urge him to have his hearing tested and to get hearing aids if indicated. These devices are both effective and almost invisible, and effective alternatives are also available over-the-counter.
Honor your father by giving him this courage and love on Father’s Day.
Louise Andrew is a physician attorney and disability rights advocate who represents over 60,000 senior physician members of the American Medical Association.
Find out what causes allergies and how you can get them under control.
Anyone who has allergies deals with a lot of those same annoying symptoms: the constant sneezing, the red itchy eyes, and the runny nose. Of course, not everyone understands that their symptoms could be due to allergies. What are allergies, and how are they managed? Should you treat your allergies on your own or turn to an ENT doctor?
What is an allergy?
Did you know that allergies are one of the most common long-term disorders people deal with? When exposed to a certain allergen, your body tells you that this allergen is harmful and then goes to work to attack it. This means that your immune system kicks into overdrive and produces antibodies known as immunoglobulin E. An allergic reaction is your body’s natural inclination to overreact to this allergen.
There are many things to which you could be allergic, including,
- Pet dander
Allergy symptoms can range from mild to more severe and even life-threatening. If you suspect that your symptoms are due to allergies, an ENT doctor can quickly diagnose and create a treatment plan that will get you feeling better fast.
Allergy Treatment Options
The treatment you receive will depend on the type of allergy you have and the severity of your symptoms. You’ll be happy to hear that many allergy sufferers find relief through simple medications. Those with very mild symptoms may be able to get away with over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants (to fight nasal congestion).
Your ENT doctor may also prescribe more powerful antihistamines or nasal sprays if your symptoms are more moderate or severe. In some cases, a long-term allergy sufferer may finally choose to get allergy shots to significantly lessen the body’s response to a specific allergen.
Of course, there are also non-medicinal approaches to reducing your exposure to the offending allergen, and an otolaryngologist can offer great tips to reduce allergy exposure at home. Examples include bathing your trusty pet once a week and using allergy-proof bedding.
Don’t let allergies affect your daily life and the activities you love. If you find yourself staying indoors or avoiding things that make you happy for your allergies, it’s time you turn to an ENT doctor for treatment options.