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Unprecedented?

I hesitate to add to the cacophony surrounding the corona virus, but these are ‘unprecedented’ times, or so that’s what I’ve heard and read a thousand times.

If I ever see that word again it will be too soon.

Challenging? Yes

Unusual? Of course

Unprecedented?Aabsolutely not. And not even unpredicted.

This pandemic was preceded by H1N1 flu virus (1918 flu pandemic, 2009 swine flu), SARS (2003) and MERS (2012), both corona viruses.

The 1918 flu pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide, with 675,000 Americans. With Covid-19 to date about there are 338,000 deaths worldwide, with 96,000 in the US.

It is partly through experience and lab work with SARS and MERS that we know what we do about corona viruses.

So any novel viral outbreak in the world (not to mention Ebola (2014-2016), and current outbreaks as we speak) has the potential with our world wide travel to cross continents and the world in days to infect every human.

Such is the reason for official surveillance organizations, such as WHO and threat organizations in the US. But recent funding cuts have decimated their abilities to research and communicate.

And even when the siren call went out, it went unheeded. Disregarded, quashed even, because “There will be no bad news on our watch!!!! It might affect the stock market and even worse chances for re-election”.

As far as combating the virus, every nation was on their own, and in our nation every state was on their own. No UN, WHO or other coordinated international effort. No national plan for supplies or resources to address the most needy areas. Not even leadership that demonstrates proper behavior and responsible use of medication.

To combat an international problem requires international cooperation, not name calling or finger pointing. National problems require a national plan to limit damage and death as much as possible.

This will pass, or so they say. But this will not be the last novel virus. History will judge our response to this one, and God help us to be prepared for the next. Cause it’s coming.

Spring Is the Season for Allergy Symptoms

Spring Is the Season for Allergy Symptoms

Spring weather brings so many beautiful changes to Raleigh, North Carolina. But for all of the blooming flowers and sprouting leaves, people across our region suffer seasonal allergies. So, what can you do to ease your spring allergy symptoms?

What causes springtime allergy symptoms?

Pollen is the biggest issue in springtime allergy symptoms. Pollen comes from trees, weeds, grasses and flowers. Nature designed these tiny grains to float through the air, from one plant to another. Often, they get into our noses, instead. When people with allergies breathe them in, their body gets defensive.

It is your immune system that fights pollen, working to attack the allergens with antibodies. This triggers release of histamines into your blood. Histamines are chemicals the body produces. But these helpful substances also trigger your itchy eyes, runny nose and other allergy symptoms.

The highest pollen counts in the air tend to occur on windy days. The wind carries these tiny grains through the air. Rain washes the allergens away.

The top symptoms of allergies include runny nose, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, itchy eyes, an itchy nose and dark circles beneath your eyes. How much you suffer these allergy symptoms depends on your individual body and its allergies, as well as the environment in which you live.

Diagnosing Your Spring Allergy Symptoms

Some people have bearable allergies that simply cause a stuffy nose or dry cough. Other people cannot function without medication, due to the extreme nature of their allergy symptoms. Talk to your ENT doctor for allergy testing and to get treatment for your symptoms.

Your ENT allergy specialist provides a skin test that simply pricks the surface of your skin with a tiny amount of an allergen. This prick test is one option, whereas another is injecting a tiny amount of the allergen under your arm or back skin. These tests indicate your allergy when small red bumps called hives or wheals form where pricked or injected. A blood test works for some types of allergies, too.

Treatment Using Medication

Many medications exist to ease your allergy symptoms. These range from over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to those prescribed by your ENT doctor. The key types include:

  • Antihistamines to reduce histamines in your body
  • Oral decongestants relieve symptoms like swelling and congestion
  • Antihistamine/decongestant combines the above effects
  • Nasal spray decongestants clear your clogged nasal passages with fewer side effects than oral decongestants
  • Steroid nasal sprays to reduce inflammation, with some preventing hay fever
  • Eye drops to relieve your itchy or watery eyes

Before starting any medication, whether OTC or prescribed, talk to your doctor about your allergy symptoms. Many of these drugs make users sleepy and can disrupt your daytime schedule. But some are non-drowsy medications that do not provide this result. You especially need to talk to your doctor if you need allergy symptom relief for more than a few days at a time.

Options to OTC medications for longer term treatment include allergy shots, prescription medication, sublingual immunotherapy tablets and steroid nasal sprays.

Immunotherapy helps your body build up resistance by exposing you to gradually increasing amounts of your allergen. This usually helps people for longer periods of time than using allergy medication. But it is not the right treatment option for everyone.

Avoid Spring Allergens and See Your ENT Doctor

To prevent allergy symptoms this spring, follow these seven tips:

  • Stay indoors on high pollen count days, particularly in mornings
  • Keep doors and windows closed
  • Clean your home air filters
  • Use an air purifier in main rooms of your house
  • Clean bookshelves, tables and vents frequently to remove pollen
  • Wash your air after being outside
  • Vacuum twice weekly while wearing a mask

For clear diagnosis of your allergy symptoms and to obtain proper medication or immunotherapy, schedule your visit with ENT & Audiology Associates in Raleigh, North Carolina, today. Call (919) 782-9003 to set an appointment with our friendly staff.

 

4 Signs Your Child May Be Suffering from Hearing Problems

Hearing loss is not something that is widely talked about or widely discussed. Approximately 15% of American adults over the age of 18 report that they experience problems hearing things in either one or both ears. Sometimes these problems arise after childhood, but chances are there were issues or problems during their childhood years that might have been overlooked. Parents don’t overlook simple small signs that their child may have a hearing problem on purpose though, it could easily be brushed off as something else such as stubbornness or distractions. Knowing specific signs to look for in children can help parents notice these issues and address them an ENT for children before the problem gets worse. Below we will explore some of these commonly overlooked signs of hearing problems in children.

Startle

Any parent that has had a newborn knows that there is a phase when they get startled at noises. Sometimes even slight noises will startle them, it doesn’t always have to be a loud noise. Once your baby is around the age of three months, they should successfully recognize the voice of their mother, father and other people that are around them on a regular basis. If you find that your infant is still startled by your voice or the voice of someone else they should be used to by now then it may be time to talk to your child’s doctor about a recommendation to a pediatric ENT specialist.

Sounds and Words

There are certain milestones that children reach and while there is some wiggle room for these milestones you should still see your child progressing more and more towards them. If you notice, by the time your child is close to one year of age, that you child is not mimicking noises and sounds or starting to say simple words such as “mama” or “dada” then it might be time to talk to your child’s doctor to see if they can perform a series of hearing tests. This test will help ensure that your child is hearing okay and there are no issues with their ears.

Position

Babies have a habit of turning their heads when they hear noises, especially noises that they are used to such as the voice of the mother or father. Parents should pay close attention to the movement of their child’s head. If you notice that your child is constantly turning their head one way and never the other then that could be a sign that their other ear is not working properly. If they are having a problem hearing out of one ear they will not favor that ear, but will favor the other ear that hears well. If you notice that your child shows these signs it would be a good time to discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor so they can schedule some hearing evaluations to further address any issues.

Volume

Many parents will notice if their child abnormally starts talking louder than normal as this can sometimes signal an ear infection. It’s well known that children talk louder when they aren’t able to hear how loud they are. Some parents, however, don’t ever take this into consideration when their child has always been loud. Some parents may assume that they just have an overactive or extra loud child, but there could be an underlying issue that only an ENT for children can diagnose. If they test hearing capabilities and discover an issue, they can start early treatment that could possibly remedy the issue or direct the parents to the proper medical professionals for treatment.

No parent ever wants to hear that something is wrong with their child, but a diagnosis from an ENT for children is not the end of the world. A specialized ENT for children is there to help your child and help you as the parent. There are huge advancements that have been made to help children who have problems hearing hear better and an ENT for children can share these advancements with you. Keeping an eye on these common signs can help you spot problems early and begin treatment as soon as possible.

Are You Beginning to Experience Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is a condition that can happen to anyone. However, it usually presents early symptoms that can be diagnosed in order to lead to early treatment. These symptoms may appear gradually, making hearing loss difficult to spot in yourself or in those you love. If you notice symptoms, you should speak to an audiologist who can perform hearing evaluations to help determine the best treatment option.

Muffled Voices

When people are speaking to you, especially children, you find yourself straining to understand them. Their voices will often sound muffled. This is because as your hearing loss progresses, the part of your ear that processes high pitched noises is typically the first to experience damage. This may also happen if you find yourself unable to concentrate on the conversation, as the background noise is seemingly louder than what someone is saying to you. This may be a sign that it is time to visit an audiologist to provide an accurate diagnosis, which may include treatment with the use of hearing aids.

Volume Levels Off

Some people around you may comment that you are turning up the volume higher than what they perceive to be a normal level. If more than a few people have spoken up about the volume that you listen to the radio or tv, it may be time to visit a professional that can perform hearing tests. They may deem that you need hearing aids to help correct your hearing loss.

Tired Easily

When you are experiencing hearing loss, your brain tries to fill in the blanks. This can cause your brain to be working extra hard when you are in social situations, causing you to become tired more frequently. Evaluations that test hearing can be given by an audiologist to rule out any hearing loss situations.

Types of Hearing Loss

While the symptoms of hearing loss can range drastically, all issues generally fall under three different categories.

Sensorineural

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear, called the cochlea, has difficulty functioning. This is the nerve that connects to the brain. Damage to the cochlea can occur due to natural aging, infection, or loud noises. Those who are suffering from sensorineural hearing loss often hear voices as distorted or muffled. Sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible, but can be treated with hearing aids.

Conductive

Conductive hearing loss is when someone experiences damage to the middle ear. This is when sound can not be conducted properly, but typically due to a physical issue. The causes of conductive hearing loss could be fluid or wax in the middle ear, as well as a damaged ear drum. Normally, conductive hearing loss can be corrected by an audiologist without the need for hearing aids.

Mixed

Mixed hearing loss occurs when the inner ear and middle ear are both experiencing damage, which is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Although the middle ear issue may be able to be corrected, a person may still require hearing aids to help treat the damage to their inner ear.

Tips to Prevent Loss of Hearing

Around thirty-seven million American adults experience some type of hearing loss. Early detection is the key to early treatment when it comes to hearing loss. Knowing how to prevent hearing loss will help you to protect one of your most precious senses for years to come.

Avoid Loud Noises

Prolonged exposure to loud noises can have a significant impact on your hearing. If you are in a loud environment, consider measures to help protect your hearing. This may include headphones or earplugs.

Have Routine Check Ups

Visit an audiologist regularly to keep your hearing in check. Some issues are better treated if they are caught early. Staying on top of your hearing health will help your audiologist catch any symptoms that appear abnormal.

A professional audiologist can perform hearing tests and evaluations to assess your hearing loss and any treatment options that may be available to you. Proper ear care helps to improve your overall health and could help prevent other issues from developing down the road. If you notice symptoms of hearing loss, get in touch with a professional audiologist that can perform an evaluation.

6 Signs That You Need a Hearing Test

Does it seem like you’re always asking people to repeat themselves? Maybe your friends complain that your TV volume is always high. Check out these warning signs, chances are, you may be experiencing hearing loss.

 

Hearing loss may cause you to lose more than you realize. When you cannot hear or respond to conversations, participate in social activities and interactions, you become reclusive and less motivated to participate in life.

 

According to statistics, over 37.5 million people report having trouble hearing. Further, the condition is spanning through generations as it is the third most prevalent condition among seniors in the country. It falls behind arthritis and hypertension. However, hearing problems among young adults is a cause for alarm.

 

Even though hearing aids can heal 95 percent of these conditions, only 23 percent of them use these aids. The following are the main signs that you can benefit from test hearing to check the status of this essential sense.

 

1. “What Did You Say”

 

The biggest warning sign is asking people to repeat themselves. At times, people may appear to be mumbling or their conversations are muffled.

 

In most cases, the high-pitched voices of children and women are difficult to hear. While you’ll suffer if you don’t hear what people are saying, the ones around you will also suffer. Your spouse, kids, and relatives are missing out on a positive relationship with you. Visit a test hearing facility to get an accurate diagnosis of your case.

 

2. Inability to Hear in Noisy Places

 

Are you having trouble hearing in areas with too much background noise? Well, this is a sign that you’re experiencing hearing loss conditions.

 

Hearing and understanding what other people are saying allows you to participate in family events and other activities. The inability to participate in social conversations may have dire mental consequences. There is evidence showing a strong correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Visit a competent expert for hearing evaluations and possible treatment.

 

3. If You Notice a Cranking up Volume

 

Are you constantly turning up your TV volume to a point where others complain about how loud it is? Well, the issue may not be with your radio or TV.

 

It is a common warning sign that your hearing may have a problem. If you notice this, make arrangements for test hearing without delay. The experts attending to your case will conduct hearing tests before advising on the course of action.

 

4. A Ringing Sound in Your Ears

 

Exposing yourself to loud noises is harmful to your ears. Such may lead to tinnitus or a ringing sound in your ears. If the ringing persists, consider doing a test hearing.

 

A 2013 study done in Brazil concluded that 43 percent of those with hearing loss experience tinnitus. The experience can also be a warning sign in children too. If your kid is ever complaining about ringing in the ears, difficulty in hearing, or pain in the ears, take them for a test hearing. Let the doctor assess and prepare a diagnosis before coming up with the best solution.

 

5. Missing Out on Everyday Sounds

 

Well, this is the biggest red flags. For instance, do you sleep through your alarms or miss the call or texts on your phone? When was your last time to hear birds tweeting outside your house?

 

If you notice that you’re missing on one or more of these sounds, visit an expert. Let them handle the situation before it becomes too hard for you to handle.

 

6. You Experience Trouble When Talking on the Phone

 

Do you have challenges talking over the phone, especially in a noisy area? Do you find yourself avoiding calls from your friends and loved ones? Well, not anymore! Have a test hearing exercise done to determine the cause and extent of your problem. This is the first step to reclaiming your hearing. If possible seek intervention sooner rather than later.

 

You should never fear to seek treatment for hearing loss. It is a painless process.

What are the symptoms of acute sinusitis and what does an ENT Specialist do to treat sinusitis?

Raleigh ENT Specialist treats sinusitis

Acute sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, is not a pleasant thing to have. If you’ve ever had one, then you know what we mean. If you have, then you’ll agree that the extreme symptoms, which range from a feeling of fullness in the sinus cavity region to fatigue and aches and pains, all add up to a very unpleasant illness.

Thankfully, there are some symptoms to watch for, and if you catch your acute sinusitis early enough, you’ll be able to treat it before it gets worse. Here’s what you need to know about sinus infections.

It All Starts With a Sore Throat

In most cases, a sinus infection starts with nasal congestion followed by pain or pressure in your face.  There may also be colored nasal discharge.

 

Fatigue and a Fever Come Next

The very next symptoms of acute sinusitis involve your entire body. You’ll feel very tired and fatigued. You might be tempted to spend the day in bed recuperating. You might even have the aches and pains that tend to appear with illnesses like the flu, only you don’t have the flu – you have a sinus infection.

You might even have a minor fever, which can be treated with some over the counter medications, like Tylenol. All of these are signs that your body is fighting off an infection.

Additional Symptoms

On top of the symptoms listed above, there are many more that need to be mentioned. Your sinuses will feel full, and you might even notice that your face looks slightly swollen in the area under your eyes, and next to your nose. This means that your sinuses are filled with mucus.

You might also feel as though your ears are clogged. Your eyes might itch, and you’ll definitely feel as though you got hit by a bus or a train. You might even be a bit dizzy. Really, acute sinusitis can take a lot out of you.

How Are Sinus Infections Diagnosed?

There are many ways that an ENT expert can diagnose and treat a sinus infection. It all starts with a history (your story of your illness) and a physical exam. The doctor will ask you a number of questions and take note of your symptoms. They then conduct a physical exam, which involves looking into your ears, nose, and throat, and listening to your cough.

You’ll more than likely be very congested and have a slight fever. It’s easy to think that a sinus infection and a cold are one and the same, but they aren’t, as the sinus infection is much worse. Once you’ve been diagnosed with a sinus infection, the treatments can begin.

Medications Are Prescribed

Antibiotics, steroids, Afrin spray, and sinus rinses are all possible treatments.  The best combination will be individualized for you.

 

Douglas K. Holmes, MD, FACS ENT & Audiology Associates PLLC

3820 Ed Drive Raleigh, NC 27612

phone 919 782 9003 fax 919 782 9303

practice website:  www.drdougholmes.com

http://surgeoninthetrenches.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/ENTandaudiology

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