Tips for Utah Spring Allergy Symptoms that Bother You

Have you been suffering with allergy symptoms and wanting to learn to deal with Utah spring allergies? Allergy symptoms can get in the way of your day to day life. Are there medications or other ways to get rid of your issues? Here are some suggestions to help get you relief from common allergens in Utah.

Make sure you take off and wash the clothing you’ve worn while outside for more than a few minutes when you get home. Then you’re going to want to take a shower so that you can get the extra pollen and allergens off of your body. The allergens on your body and on your clothing can start to pile up in your home and not be easy to deal with. When you keep it cleaner and have a change of clothing on hand to wear when you get off of work or home after being outside, you reduce the amount of allergens in your home.

Stay inside when you’re dealing with a dry or windy day if possible. The best time to spend a day outside is to go out after it rains since that’s when most allergens are gone. If you have severe allergies, consider hiring someone to do your yard work or have someone in your family do it. If you do have someone at home that is going to do it, have them change their clothes when they get inside. Remember that shoes and socks are also going to track in allergens as well. Clean your carpets on a regular basis to get rid of what people track in on the floor.

Allergy Relief Ideas

Neti Pots – These work by rinsing out your nasal cavity solution made of saline. It can get rid of pollen and other allergens while loosening your mucus. You can buy a kit that has a pre-made mixture, you can use warm water and salt. Make sure you use only water that is distilled or boiled to avoid issues like bacteria getting into your system.

Saline Spray – There are pre-made nasal sprays that kind of work like a Neti pot, but they can be a little more simple to work with. They tend to be more precise and gentle too.

HEPA Filters – HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air and the filters that are made with this technology help to trap problem allergens and various other irritants in the air. You should consider replacing your vacuum filter with a HEPA filter to help reduce allergens in your carpet and home.

OTC And Prescription Medications – They make medications you can buy at the store, and if those don’t work you can get them from the doctor. Keep in mind that some of these have side effects like the ability to make you tired, so be sure you are aware of what to expect so you don’t have to go to work or drive if it will make you too tired.

These tips for Utah spring allergy symptoms should help improve your allergy symptoms. It can be very difficult to get through the day and your nights with these issues being present. Thankfully, there are many remedies you can choose from and use to your advantage. If you find that these tips aren’t getting you the results you need then consider making an appointment with Dr. Nadim Bikhazi – Utah ENT Specialist to get relief and answers for allergy symptoms and treatments in Utah.

Swimmer’s Ear – Facts You Need to Know

Make it a priority to see a professional the moment you begin to experience swimmer’s ear symptoms.

Also known as acute otitis externa, swimmer’s ear is a painful condition which increases during the summer months because kids spend a lot of their time in the pool. It is important to know that this is an outer ear infection that mainly affects children. It is paramount to identify the difference between inner ear and outer ear infections. Outer ear infection mainly affects those who swim often; occurring mostly a few days after swimming in a pool.  Because this infection involves the outer ear, one may get it after showering, bathing or even living/visiting a moist environment.

NOTE: Swimming is not the only thing that can cause this infection. Swimmer’s ear is caused by trapped water in the ear canal. When this happens, bacteria begin to multiply within the ear, which causes the infection and irritation.

What Is Swimmer’s Ear?

A person will experience irritation, pain and feel uncomfortable. The symptoms will begin after water gets trapped in the ear, causing bacteria to increase as well as fungi growth. Because the infection mainly affects swimmers, its name was derived from this.

This condition mainly affects teenagers and kids and can also affect those with excess earwax or eczema; which is a disease that makes the skin itch.

As soon as swimmer’s ear symptoms and signs are experienced, visit Dr. Nadim Bikhazi immediately. The doctor will be able to prescribe medication or provide procedures that will reduce pain as well as reduce any long-term symptoms that may affect a patient’s hearing or the spread of the infection and bacteria.

Other factors that may contribute to acute otitis externa are:

  • Excessive cleaning of the ear canal using cotton swabs or anything else
  • Coming into contact with excessive bacteria that may be present in polluted water or hot tubs
  • Several chemicals such as hair dye or hair sprays (one can avoid this from happening by placing cotton balls in the ears when using such products).
  • An ear canal skin cut
  • Exostoses or bony overgrowths in the ear canal
  • A very narrow or hairy ear canal
  • Hearing aids or headphones/earphones that are inserted into the ear
  • Sweating
  • Damaged ear canal skin when trying to remove excessive wax
  • Skin conditions such as seborrhea or eczema

The Signs and Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear

The good thing about the infection is that its signs and symptoms are obvious.

They are:

  • Pain: pain is the first symptom, which is going to be intense when the ear is touched. A professional will test this by tugging on the tragus; the little tag sticking out in front of the ear opening.
  • Itching: a person will begin to feel irritation inside the ear, and then itching will start. The itch may seem uncontrollable, it is advisable to avoid sticking anything the ear to attempt to alleviate the itching.
  • Watery discharge: the ear may ooze a watery substance. In most cases, it will be watery or a yellowish color. However, pus is present, then seek medical attention immediately. At times, the watery substance could be smelly.
  • Hearing Distortion: one could experience muffled hearing because the inflammation caused by the infection could actually cause a blockage in the ear canal.

How To Prevent Acute Otitis Externa

There are several ways one could follow to prevent swimmer’s ear. Some of these techniques are:

  • Make sure ears are dry by making sure water is drained from the ear by tilting the head on both sides after any water activity such as showering, taking a bath or swimming.
  • Use over the counter ear drops that contain acetic acid or alcohol. These ear drops will help prevent infections from occurring.
  • Avoid putting objects in the ear trying to clean them; including cotton-tipped swabs

Swimmer’s Ear Treatments

Because otitis externa is an infection that is located in a delicate and tender part of the ear, it is advisable to have a doctor treat it. However, before seeing the doctor, you could consider placing a warm or heating pad against the infected ear and use over the counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve the pain until you see the doctor.

Dr. Nadim Bikhazi is a Utah ENT Specialist serving the Salt Lake and Weber metro areas.

Signs & Treatment of Streptococcus (Strep Throat)

What You Should Expect When Dealing with Strep Throat

Strep Throat is a serious bacterial infection that can lead to long-term health implications if left untreated.  Also referred to as Streptococcus, it is extremely contagious.  If someone is diagnosed with Strep, they should not be exposed to people with jeopardized immune systems or allowed to return to work or school until advised to do so by their doctor.  The rates of this illness greatly increase during the school year and usually affects children and teens aged 5-15 years old.

The first signs that you or someone you care for may have Strep include complaints of a sore throat and increased mucus production.  Soon after they will exhibit swollen glands in the throat as well as swollen tonsils.  As the illness progresses the patient usually will produce a fever , nausea, and possible headaches.

The only way to confirm a strep throat diagnosis is through testing in a doctor’s office. Typically the tonsils are red, swollen, and may have white spots on them.  This can often be confused with infectious Mononucleosis (Mono) in teenagers.  The physicianwill swab the throat and run a rapid strep test in most cases.  Even if that test comes back negative the culture will be sent to the lab for further testing.  In some cases, if the symptoms are clearly showing that strep is most likely occurring the doctor will begin treatment (antibiotics/steroids) right away even though the initial test was negative.  If there is too much evidence that leads the doctor to believe that a sore throat is caused by a virus, he/she may recommend that the patient rest and wait for the culture results.

It is important to seek treatment from a doctor or ENT Specialist as soon as possible if one has both a sore throat and a fever, as this is very indicative of having strep.  The sooner treatment is sought the less chance others will be exposed to the illness and it is less likely that there will serious complications.

Treatment consists of a round of antibiotics, usually amoxicillin.  Without antibiotic treatment, the patient could suffer from rheumatic or scarlet fever, which are more serious illnesses.

In addition to antibiotics, it is important to rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat when you can and continue using a fever reducer medication until the fever is no longer.  Herbal teas and other warm, thin fluids can be used to sooth the throat.  It is recommended patients stay away from drinks containing sugar, as they essentially feed the bacteria that is present.

In most cases, people feel a great deal better after being on antibiotics for 24 hours.  They are also no longer contagious.  If after 48 hours on antibiotics the patient does not feel a great deal better, they should make an appointment to return to the doctor.  Even if the patient does feel better they should keep any follow-up appointments as they have to ensure that they have fully recovered from the illness and do not have any lasting health implications.

Identifying Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options of a Deviated Septum

Dr. Nadim Bikhazi covers identification and steps to treat a deviated septum

The septum (partition between nostrils) provides structural support for one’s nasal cavity.  It is composed of cartilage (on the front part) and bone (on the deeper part).  Injury to the septum can lead to deviation (i.e. a deviated septum). This defines any septum which is not aligned as required for full functionality. In general, this will make the septum appear crooked, bent, and in essence out of shape.

This article engages the intricacies of this condition.

Common Symptoms

What are some of the symptoms for those with a deviated septum? How can one know this is a concern?

The following symptoms will present themselves:

1) Crooked Shape

2) Difficulty Breathing from Nasal Cavity

3) Stuffiness

4) Sinus infections

Most patients will display a combination of symptoms while suffering from this physical condition. If it is formulated due to an injury, the “sharp pain” will also become visibly aggressive. The treatment is then catered to these symptoms and that is why customized treatment plans are designed for each patient.

A standardized diagnosis involves examining the patient’s nasal cavity to ensure there is no underlying concern to handle.

Potential Causes

What causes a deviated septum? A segment of all patients can have genetic abnormalities leading to this structural concern. While this is rare, it has to be mentioned.

In general, the remaining causes are related to an acute physical injury (i.e. being punched in the nose). It’s recommended to have it assessed by a medical professional to ensure obstruction does not lead to further injury or discomfort.

Other times patients may not recall a particular incident but rather that they have never breathed well through the nose.  This may have been caused by an injury early in childhood which gradually deviates as the nose grows. The average patient will have an aggravated form of this structural condition. It can be due to an unexpected injury, which has misaligned an otherwise healthy septum. If that’s the case, immediate treatment can resolve the concern and let it heal back to normal.

A medical professional has to determine the cause before putting together a comprehensive treatment.

Treatment Options

How is a deviated septum treated? What does the medical professional have up their sleeve to remedy the concern?

Medications-decongestants usually offer limited benefit as there is a structural problem that most likely needs to be corrected by surgery.

There are various approaches to treatment for a deviated septum. A medical professional is authorized to customize a treatment based on the patient’s symptoms and structural needs.

Treatments can include:

1) Application of Ice (2-3 Days After Injury)

2) Reparation of Fractured Nasal Bone

3) Septoplasty or balloon dilation to correct the structural deviation.

Some patients will require all three forms of treatment at varying stages of the process. The medical professional will aim to reset the nasal bones if there are signs of external deviation.  This is best done within 2 weeks of the acute injury.

A septoplasty is needed to repair and correct the cartilaginous/bony deformity.  This surgery usually takes less than 1 hour to perform and the recovery is roughly 3-4 days.  Internal plastic splints are used to keep the septum straight while it heals.  These are easily removed in the first week.  Post-op pain is mild-moderate and not as severe as people believe.

Additional Tips

If dealing with a possible deviated septum, the patient can run a quick self-test. This can be done with a mirror-check for visible displacement or deviation. If nothing is noticeable (i.e. minor deviation), look for other symptoms such as those that are listed above. For prolonged discomfort, it’s best to speak with a medical professional.

Do not aggravate the deviated septum and cause further injury. Full protection is a mandatory requirement for patients who are in discomfort or pain. Exposing the nasal cavity during this period will heighten one’s sensations around the nasal cavity exponentially.

Generally, it is best to seek an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) Specialist to help determine the best treatment options on a case by case basis.