In the midst of allergy season, controlling your itchy eyes and runny nose can seem like an endless undertaking. However, with help from your ear, nose, and throat doctor, you can overcome your symptoms to get back to your normal daily activities as soon as possible. Learn more about allergies and their treatments with Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC.
What causes an allergy?
An allergic reaction occurs when a substance enters the body and the immune system mistakenly identifies it as a threat. The immune system then creates antibodies which attack the substance (now designated as an allergen). This triggers the production of histamines, which causes an expansion of the blood vessels and results in the symptoms we associate with allergic reactions. However, the body creates these antibodies particularly for each allergen, which is why someone may be allergic to pollen but not to peanuts.
Do I have allergies?
There are several types of allergies with their own kinds of symptoms:
- Food allergies: A food allergy can cause issues like abdominal cramping, numbness in the face or mouth, swollen tongue, or difficulty swallowing. You may also experience skin irritations such as hives.
- Seasonal allergies: Seasonal allergies cause reactions to substances like pollen or mold. The symptoms associated with seasonal allergies often include itchy, red, and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, or a scratchy throat.
- Skin allergies: Contact dermatitis, which occurs when the skin reacts to an allergen, causes issues like rashes and hives. This reaction occurs after the skin comes into contact with an allergen.
- Drug allergies: Some drugs cause an allergic reaction such as a skin reaction like hives but can also cause fever, itching, wheezing, runny nose, or shortness of breath.
Allergy treatments in Cary, NC
Treating allergies depends on the type of allergens you are allergic to. Often, an over-the-counter antihistamine, which blocks the histamines produced during the allergic reaction, is enough to minimize the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Sometimes, patients require a stronger, prescription-strength antihistamine to treat their symptoms. Severe allergies require emergency medications like injectable epinephrine which patients carry with them in case of an allergic reaction. Finally, immunotherapy may also help some patients. It follows the same idea as a vaccination and introduces small amounts of an allergen into the body, building up a tolerance over time.
For more information on allergy treatments, please contact Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC. Call (919) 851-5636 to schedule your appointment for a consultation with Dr. Gupta today!
A cleft palate is a birth defect that affects the shape and formation of the roof of the mouth, causing a split in either the soft tissue or the bony portion. This condition occurs early on in pregnancy as the baby is developing. Of course, a cleft palate will not be detected until after a baby is born. While this malformation can be disheartening and stressful for parents, it’s important to understand this birth defect and how it can be repaired.
Depending on the severity of the cleft palate, your otolaryngologist will be able to determine how many surgeries will be necessary. The first surgery alone can improve the function of the middle ears, improve how the palate functions and even ensure that teeth and certain bones within the face develop properly.
In some cases, your child may also require bone grafting surgery at some point during childhood to improve the health of your gums and to make sure that permanent teeth are properly supported. As you might imagine, getting cleft palate surgeries early on will also improve your child’s speech and prevent impediments.
Additional surgeries may also be required to improve certain areas of the face such as the nose, as well as to improve breathing or to realign the jaws. After the surgeries are complete, other procedures may be performed in order to reduce the appearance of the scar.
It’s important to know that despite the lengthy treatment process and multiple surgeries that children who undergo cleft palate repair early on in life can achieve a greater quality of life. Not only do these surgeries provide a more natural appearance, but they prevent certain health problems (e.g. hearing loss) while also restoring proper speech and chewing.
If your baby was born with a cleft palate or cleft lip it’s important that you find an ENT doctor that you can trust to discuss surgery and to find out if this is the best option for your little one.
While it might not seem like there is a purpose behind why your ear produces earwax, there most certainly is. Even though a lot of people try to clean out their ears on their own, it’s important to remember that ears are self-cleaning. This means that the earwax will typically just come out on its own. Of course, there are times when earwax can become impacted or blocked, which can temporarily cause muffled hearing and discomfort.
Why does impacted earwax happen? There are a few things that could be to blame but one of the most common causes is at-home ear cleanings. While it might seem rather unhygienic, you don’t need to clean your ears, and should never place a cotton swab into the ear canal as you risk damaging or injuring your ear. One look at the package of cotton swabs and you’ll see that it states that you should never place it in your ear. Plus, these swabs can end up just pushing earwax deeper into your ear, which can lead to pain and other problems.
If you have a narrow ear canal or if you are older you may be more prone to earwax impactions. If this is the case, you may want to visit an ENT doctor rather regularly for proper earwax removal. You may also find that you are prone to earwax buildup if you constantly place things in your ears, whether you often use headphones or a hearing aid.
Fortunately, an otolaryngologist will often treat earwax impaction through prescription-strength eardrops that will successfully breakup the wax. Of course, if this treatment doesn’t work then you may need to come in so that we can safely and effectively wash out your ears and dislodge the earwax completely.
Remember to never try to remove the earwax buildup yourself, as they could just end up causing more issues in the long run. While there are kits that you can use at home to help irrigate and clean out the ears, if you aren’t noticing a change in your symptoms after three days it’s a good idea to visit your otolaryngologist for care.
There are several techniques for removing wax, from irrigating the ear to using a painless suctioning device. The earwax treatment we recommend for you will depend on several factors such as health and structure of your ear.
If you are dealing with earwax impaction then it’s time you turned to an otolaryngologist who can safely remove the buildup.
A sinus infection can happen to anyone and is normally nothing to worry about. However, recurring sinus infections can be the sign of a more serious condition called sinusitis requiring the help of your ear, nose, and throat doctor. They may suggest balloon sinuplasty, a common and effective treatment for sinusitis. Find out more about balloon sinuplasty and how it can benefit you with Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC.
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become inflamed and swollen. Often, this clears up within a few days or weeks and does not return for some time. In some cases, sinusitis lasts longer than four weeks and can even last months or years. If sinusitis lingers, it becomes chronic, requiring medical intervention, such as balloon sinuplasty.
Do I need a balloon sinuplasty?
Approved by the FDA in 2005, balloon sinuplasty uses a balloon to dilate the sinuses and allow them to drain. If left untreated, blocked sinuses can begin to cause issues with breathing, jaw function, headaches, and even insomnia. Balloon sinuplasty opens the blocked areas of the sinuses, allowing them to drain any built up mucus, pus, or other discharge causing the blockage. Some common signs that balloon sinuplasty may be right for you include:
- yellow or green discharge from the nose
- facial pain
- facial pressure
- decreased ability to smell
- you have had four or more sinus infections over the last year
- your symptoms last longer than four weeks
What can I expect during a balloon sinuplasty?
Your doctor will insert the balloon catheter into the sinus cavity through the nose. The balloon expands to open the blocked sinuses. Your doctor uses a saline spray to flush the sinus and help push the blockage out. Then, the balloon comes out and leaves the sinuses in an expanded state to allow for efficient drainage in the future.
Balloon Sinuplasty in Cary, NC
If you suffer from frequent sinus infections or chronic sinusitis, you may benefit from a balloon sinuplasty. For more information on balloon sinuplasty or how it can benefit you and your sinusitis, please contact Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC. Call (919) 851-5636 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Gupta today!
If you’ve ever suffered from a stuffy nose, facial pain, and pressure around the nose, cheeks, and eyes, or experienced postnasal drip (in which nasal mucus drains down your throat), then you’ve experienced a sinus infection before. A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, occurs when the nasal passages become inflamed or irritated. Sometimes an infection can be so bad that the inflammation can actually block these airways. Acute forms of this infection often come about after a cold; however, those with nasal polyps or a deviated septum may be prone to recurring bouts of sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis can last anywhere from two to four weeks and the condition will often clear up by itself. Of course, sometimes it’s necessary to see an otolaryngologist for treatment. For example, it’s a good idea to call a specialist if you’ve been trying to handle your symptoms at home but they haven’t improved after a few days. You should also schedule an appointment if symptoms get worse.
To manage symptoms of acute sinusitis you may try over-the-counter decongestants and nasal sprays to help reduce inflammation and drain the sinuses. If these medications don’t improve symptoms within a couple of days then you may need a stronger medication such as corticosteroids. In some cases, antibiotics may actually be necessary to clear the infection.
Chronic sinus infections last more than 12 weeks and most sufferers experience the exact same symptoms as those with acute sinusitis such as nasal congestion, facial pressure, or a partial or complete blockage of the nasal cavity. It’s important that you visit an ENT doctor as soon as possible to find out what your treatment options are. In some cases, a prescription medication along with over-the-counter medications and alternative remedies can help ease symptoms until the problem subsides. In more severe cases, the patient may need to consider more aggressive measures.
In the past, the only option for those dealing with severe and chronic sinus infections was to undergo surgery. Luckily, technology has come a long way and now ENT specialists can also offer a simple non-surgical procedure known as balloon sinuplasty. No incisions or cutting is required; the only tool used is a small flexible tube with a deflated balloon at the end of it.
The tube is carefully guided into the obstructed nasal passage where the balloon is inflated to open up the airways and drain the sinuses. Once this occurs, the scope is removed but the airways remain open. The side effects from this procedure are minimal and most patients can return to their normal activities 2 days later.
Of course, sometimes it’s necessary to perform sinus surgery to effectively treat chronic sinusitis. To decide the right treatment option for you, it’s important to schedule a consultation with an otolaryngologist you trust.
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