A scratchy throat is a common way to describe an inflamed, itchy or irritated throat. Most of us experience throat symptoms like these many times in life. Sometimes it progresses into a full blown sore throat while at other times a scratchy throat remains as just a mild irritation and nothing else. It can last for a few days or persist for longer yet it does not develop further into an intense sore throat as we know it. Eventually it passes on its own. Whatever the case, a scratchy throat can be annoying and affect your ability to talk, eat and sleep peacefully.
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A middle ear infection (otitis media) is the second most common infectious condition in children, after upper respiratory tract infections. Understandably many parents are not immediately concerned when otitis media is diagnosed in their children as it is so common and often just goes away on its own. Sometimes treatment is necessary. However, leaving otitis media without treatment or close monitoring can lead to some very serious complications. It is even possible that what was a simple middle ear infection today can progress to a brain problem and cause other life threatening consequences.
Pain on or in the nose can be quite distressing. We often tend to get more concerned about pain anywhere on the head, and particularly with parts of the face, than we do with pain elsewhere on the body. But many of the cause of facial pain are similar to pain that affects other parts of the body. Nasal pain is no different. It can be due to an acute injury like a blow to the face, and specifically when the nose is struck. It may be as common as a cold or the flu. But it can also be due to some fairly rare and serious condition like cancers within the nose or lower parts of the brain.
continue reading Causes of Nasal Pain (On or Inside the Nose)
Most cases of acute sinusitis arise with the common cold. It usually does not require and treatment and will clear on its own within a few days. In fact many people do not even know that they have sinusitis when they are down with a cold. However, in some instances acute sinusitis may require treatment with drugs like antibiotics. It is usually people with a history of allergies and other nasal problems who will tend to get a more severe case of acute sinusitis.
Ear problems are common particularly in childhood and can be a major stress for parents as well. It has become so widespread that most parents feel that repeated ear problems in childhood are a norm. But it is not. Most ear problems can be prevented, treated and managed quite effectively without repeated visits to a doctor or surgical procedures. However, parents should not delay when medical and surgical treatment is necessary as untreated ear problems in children can lead to serious complications, some of which hamper development and in rare cases even become life threatening.
Hay fever is a common nasal condition that affects some 40 million Americans. It is estimated that 20% of the US population has hay fever but not all cases are diagnosed or appropriately managed by a medical professional. Some cases are worse than others and with the convenience of over-the-counter allergy medication, many people choose to treat mild hay fever on their own. But you may not know as much as you think you do about hay fever. There is a lot more to the condition than just a runny nose and sneezing during spring, summer and the fall.
Some of the symptoms that you may be experiencing may not seem like typical hay fever symptoms. Or these symptoms only arise when your hay fever is poorly managed as a result of complications developing. Similarly you may be surprised to learn about some of the lesser known triggers of hay fever. For these reasons it is always important to consult with a medical doctor and have your condition professionally managed particularly if you suffer with severe and/or chronic hay fever.
A burning sensation inside the nose is one of the common symptoms that arises for a number of different reasons. We all experience it at some point or the other in life. Usually it occurs in conjunction with other nasal symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion. The nasal passages are highly sensitive and a burning sensation inside the nose can be quite bothersome. It is often not serious in nature but may at times be a sign of a very serious cause. For example, a child complaining of a burning sensation may have lodged a foreign body within the nose. Identifying the cause and not only focusing on the symptom is therefore important. Treating the causative condition will eventually resolve nasal symptoms.
A blocked nose is a common complaint but the reasons why it may occur can be quite varied. Most of us associate a blocked nose with an acute infection like the common cold or a sudden change in the weather that clears after a short period of time. However, for some people a blocked nose is a daily occurrence that either momentarily resolves for certain parts of the day or may never ease at all. It is important to understand what exactly a blocked nose means as the term is often used loosely for a range of upper respiratory tract conditions.
Ear infections are common, especially in children, but many cases of outer ear infections can be prevented with a little vigilance. The ear like any part of the body has various mechanisms in place to prevent infection apart from the fact that the immune system can fight off an infection when it occurs. As the age old saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure’ and a few simple measures are sometimes all that is necessary to prevent an ear canal infection.
The ear is a complex organ that is made up of several structures. It extends well beyond the outer appendage that we see on the side of the ear (auricle or pinna). The ear is actually divided into three parts, the outer, middle and inner ear. The outer ear starts from the auricle (pinna), extends to the ear canal and ends at the outer surface of the eardrum. An outer ear infection can involve any of these parts but most commonly involves the ear canal.
What is fungal sinusitis?
Fungal sinusitis is either an infection by fungi or an allergic reaction to fungi in the paranasal sinuses. Overall infectious fungal sinusitis is uncommon in the general population and is more likely to occur in people with weakened immune systems. An allergic reaction to the presence of the fungi in the paranasal sinuses are more common and is believed to be a significant cause of chronic rhinosinusitis (nose and sinus inflammation).
What is rhinitis medicamentosa?
Rhinitis medicamentosa is nasal congestion and sneezing that arises with the overuse of medication for treating nasal symptoms. This is also known as rebound rhinitis. Although this is a short-lived reaction in some cases, it can have permanent effects such as chronic sinusitis. Typically the overuse stems from a pre-existing chronic nasal problem and eventually the patient believes that the underlying problem is worsening. This compels a person to continue using the nasal decongestant and sometimes even increasing the dosage on their own, thereby further aggravating the condition.
What is CSF rhinorrhea?
CSF rhinorrhea is a condition where cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks through the nose. Normally cerebrospinal fluid is confined to the space around the brain and spinal cord. Due to its close proximity to the sinus and nasal cavity, any opening will allow CSF to leak into it and then drain out through the nose. Sometimes it can even leak out through the ears where it is then known as CSF otorrhea. Most cases of CSF rhinorrhea are due to head trauma but sometimes it occurs with surgery and other less common causes. Although it can be managed without treatment, at times surgery is needed to correct the condition. CSF rhinorrhea is not a common condition and extensive investigation should be undertaken by a doctor before assuming that any nasal discharge is cerebrospinal fluid.
What is Zenker diverticulum?
Zenker diverticulum is an outpouching of the wall of the upper esophagus (gullet). It is rare and almost only seen in the elderly. Outpouchings are protrusions of the wall of a hollow cavity. It can occur in any part of the gut and a more common type is seen in the large intestine. Zenker diverticula (singular ~ diverticulum) need to be repaired surgically. When left untreated it can lead to complications, some of which are severe like pneumonia. A Zenker diverticulum or Zenker’s diverticulum is named after by Professor Frederich Albert von Zenker who described this type of diverticulum in 1877.
Ear problems are one of the common complications of flying. It is not always a problem for every person. Some may feel a slight discomfort, other a slight popping sensation when landing or even with takeoff. However, many people experience a more severe form of this ear problem. It is painful, affects hearing, may trigger vomiting, dizziness and even cause bleeding from the ears.
What is aerotitis media?
Aerotitis media is the medical term for unequal air pressure on either side of the eardrum. This mainly arises with air travel but can also occur when working in a pressurized environment or traveling over different altitudes in a short period of time. In very rare cases, mild aerotitis media can occur with rapidly descending a high hill. Slow descent and gradual changes in ear pressure are usually not a problem.
Infection of the mastoid process, a protrusion of the temporal bone of the skill, is known as mastoiditis. One of the most common causes is a result of a middle ear infection (otitis media) which spreads to the skull bone if left untreated or is severe. Most of these infections are bacterial in nature and can be effectively treated with antibiotics. However, if the desired results cannot be achieved then surgery may be necessary. The most commonly performed procedures in the treatment of mastoiditis are myringotomy and mastoidectomy.
Between the outer and middle ear lies the tympanic membrane, or eardrum. It is a thin layer of tissue that is oval in shape and stiff but flexible. The eardrum vibrates in accordance with sound waves. The middle ear bones known as the ossicles transmit these vibrations to the inner ear where the organ of hearing converts it into nerve impulses. Apart from its crucial role in the sense of hearing, the tympanic membrane also separates the outer ear which is contact with the external environment from the more delicate middle and inner ear.
Air enters the middle ear by way of the eustachian tube that runs from the back of the throat. In this way the air pressure in the middle ear remains the same as the pressure in the outer ear. However, the eardrum is capable of withstanding considerable force in terms of sound waves and even changes in ear pressure that causes it to bulge inwards or outwards. In some cases it can rupture or become punctured thereby compromising its role in hearing and separating the outer and middle ear.
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