EAR, NOSE AND THROAT

EAR, NOSE AND THROAT

Ear problems

There are many different types of ear problems. Ear pain may be caused by infections of the tonsils, jaw or sinuses. Chronic infection like glue ear can cause hearing loss. Exposure to loud noise can also damage hearing. Some of the common ear problems are: Otitis media is inflammation of the middle ear, causing a build-up of fluid, with or without an infection. Symptoms include crying, ear pulling, mild fever and irritability.

Glue ear is a type of chronic otitis media. Long term build-up of thick or ‘sticky’ fluid in the middle ear, behind the eardrum, causes hearing loss.

Ear wax in the ear is normal and protects the ear. However, a build-up of wax may be a problem in some adults. This may require wax-softening ear drops. Impacted ear wax may cause hearing impairment.

Swimmer’s ear develops when humidity, heat and moisture cause the skin layer inside the ear to swell. Attempts to remove the water with cotton buds or other objects may make the condition worse, causing pain and itching.

Nose Problems

The respiratory system begins with the nose. The nose provides a protective barrier from outside airborne influences that could harm us. The nose provides the perfect accompaniment to the respiratory system unless some type of nose problem interrupts. There are certain nose problems that usually occur: sinus, allergies, nosebleeds, breathing difficulties and deviated septum.

Sinuses: These are sacs behind and within the facial bones that are normally filled with air. Tiny tunnel like orifices connect the sinuses to the nasal cavity. These tunnels get blocked when the individual suffers from a cold or from an allergy attack. Blockages can develop into sinusitis, an inflammation of the paranasal sinus passages when mucus is unable to drain in the normal manner. Symptoms include headache and a thick, greenish discharge from the nose.

Allergies: An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies a substance in the environment as being a threat to the body. Problems such as sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, watery and itchy eyes and sinus infections usually occur. Nosebleeds: In the interior of the nose are tiny blood vessels that get easily ruptured. There are many causes for these ruptures that result in a nosebleed; dry air, sinusitis, allergies, colds, foreign objects in the nose, picking the nose.

Deviated septum: A thin wall called the septum separates the two nasal cavities. In about 80% of people, one side is smaller than the other, which is a deviation. When severely deviated, problems of nosebleeds, frequent sinus infections and breathing difficulty occur.

Throat problems

The throat is the common to digestive as well as the respiratory system. It lies at the beginning of the windpipe and the food pipe. It also has the voice box where the windpipe commences. Hence, any infection or problem in the throat causes discomfort while eating, breathing, swallowing or speaking. Some of the common throat problems are:

Croup : It is an inflammation of larynx, trachea and bronchi. It affects many infants and young children. As the larynx is situated in the narrowest part of the throat, it obstructs the breathing.

Diphtheria: It is an acute bacterial disease that usually affects the tonsils, throat, nose and/or skin. It is passed from person to person by droplet transmission, usually by breathing in diphtheria bacteria after an infected person has coughed, sneezed or even laughed. It can lead to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis and sometimes death.

Laryngitis: It is an inflammation of the larynx generally associated with hoarseness or loss of voice. It is an inflammation in the vocal cords in the larynx, has many causes.

Sore throat: A sore throat is a discomfort, pain, or scratchiness in the throat. A sore throat often makes it painful to swallow. Sore throat refers to the inflammation of the pharynx, or back of the throat. It occurs when a person has a cold or an attack of influenza.

Tonsillitis: It is an acute inflammation of the tonsils. Chronic tonsillitis refers to the condition in which there is enlargement of the tonsils accompanied by repeated attacks of infection.