The ear, nose and throat organs are connected directly. There is a flow that carries through from the ear, nose and to the throat. This is why a problem with the throat would affect the ear and nose. The ear usually the worse hit.
These parts of the body are actually the upper end of the airways system and are prone to viral infections, particularly in the colder months.
Our ears, nose, and throat work together to keep us going. When one is out of commission, the other two suffer—and they aren’t quiet about it. Find out how to stop colds from becoming ear infections, soothe earaches, and keep mucus membranes happy, through the open connection that the three share. Your ears, nose and throat are not only in close proximity to each other. They are, in fact, intimately connected. When things are going well, this trio elicits no complaint. But if an infection, inflammation or allergic response occurs, they are no slouches at expressing discomfort.
Sinus cavities in the skull are not only for filtering and warming air before that air reaches the lungs. They also lighten the skull and act as resonance chambers for sounds. These air pockets are connected with your throat and ears. When the passages become congested through inflammation or mucus accumulation, our ears hurt. The open connection between nose, ear and throat allows for the exchange of fluids, permitting the transformation of a cold into an excruciatingly painful ear infection.
There are many ENT disorders, and even more signs and symptoms associated with each one. The following is a list of symptoms of 4 of the most common ENT disorders. Not all people will experience the same set of symptoms, and you may have only some of the symptoms on the list.
CAUSES : An ear infection is caused by a bacterium or virus in the middle ear. This infection often results from another illness — cold, flu or allergy — that causes congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat and eustachian tubes.
Symptoms of an Ear Infection
Ear infections are one of the most prevalent ENT disorders. They occur when germs become trapped inside the inner ear.
The Eustachian tube, a tiny tube that originates in the ear and drains in to the back of the throat, usually keeps unwanted germs out. If this tube is too small or becomes clogged by fluid and mucus, bacteria or other microbes may be able to enter the ear and cause an infection. Signs & symptoms of an ear infection include:
• recent history of an upper respiratory infection
• pain and pressure
• loss of balance
• difficulty hearing
• nausea and vomiting
• fluid discharge from the ear (this indicates perforation of the tympanic membrane)
Ear infections are more common in children. In fact, it is the most common infection in infants and toddlers. If your child has an ear infection, it may be difficult to detect. Here are some things you may notice about your child:
• pulling or tugging on the ears
• increased fussiness, especially at bedtime
• fails to startle at loud noises or does not consistently respond to name
• eating or drinking abnormally
Signs and symptoms common in children include:
• Ear pain, especially when lying down
• Tugging or pulling at an ear
• Difficulty sleeping
• Crying more than usual
• Acting more irritable than usual
• Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds
• Loss of balance
• Fever of 100 F (38 C) or higher
• Drainage of fluid from the ear
• Loss of appetite
Common signs and symptoms in adults include:
• Ear pain
• Drainage of fluid from the ear
• Diminished hearing
When to see a doctor
Signs and symptoms of an ear infection can indicate a number of conditions. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. Call your child’s doctor if:
• Symptoms last for more than a day
• Symptoms are present in a child less than 6 months of age
• Ear pain is severe
• Your infant or toddler is sleepless or irritable after a cold or other upper respiratory infection
• You observe a discharge of fluid, pus or bloody discharge from the ear
• An adult with ear pain or discharge should see a doctor as soon as possible.
• Outer ear infections : can cause itching in the ear canal, pain and swelling of the ear canal, discharge from the ear, and crusting around the ear canal. Your physician will carefully clean and dry your ear. If your ear is very swollen, the physician may insert a wick soaked with an antibiotic into the ear to get the medicine into the infected area. You may need to put drops in your ear several times a day to keep the wick moist. Oral antibiotics may also be indicated if you have a severe infection, or your physician may suggest a cream or ointment medicine for some types of infection.
• Middle Ear Infections
A middle ear infection is an infection of the air-filled space in the ear behind the eardrum. Ear infections usually begin with a viral infection of the nose and throat. Ear infections may also occur when you have allergies. Symptoms of a middle ear infection include earache, hearing loss, feeling of blockage in the ear, fever, and dizziness. The physician will check for fluid behind the eardrum, and a hearing test may also be recommended if you are experiencing hearing loss. Antibiotic medicine is a common treatment for ear infections. However, recent studies have shown that the symptoms of ear infections often go away in a couple of days without antibiotics. Your provider may recommend a decongestant (tablets or a nasal spray) to help clear the eustachian tube.
Excessive amounts of earwax, or cerumen, can block the ear canal and cause temporary hearing impairment. Earwax should be removed only by a professional. Q-tips, ear candeling, or other methods of home earwax removal are not recommended. Please consult your physician if you suspect earwax impaction.
Risk factors for ear infections include:
• Age. Children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years are more susceptible to ear infections because of the size and shape of their eustachian tubes and because of their poorly developed immune systems.
• Group child care. Children cared for in group settings are more likely to get colds and ear infections than are children who stay home because they’re exposed to more infections, such as the common cold.
• Infant feeding. Babies who drink from a bottle, especially while lying down, tend to have more ear infections than do babies who are breast-fed.
• Seasonal factors. Ear infections are most common during the fall and winter when colds and flu are prevalent. People with seasonal allergies may have a greater risk of ear infections during seasonal high pollen counts.
• Poor air quality. Exposure to tobacco smoke or high levels of air pollution can increase the risk of ear infection.
The following tips may reduce the risk of developing ear infections:
• Prevent common colds and other illnesses. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly and to not share eating and drinking utensils. Teach your children to cough or sneeze into their arm crook. If possible, limit the time your child spends in group child care. A child care setting with fewer children may help. Try to keep your child home from child care or school when ill.
• Avoid secondhand smoke. Make sure that no one smokes in your home. Away from home, stay in smoke-free environments.
• Breast-feed your baby. If possible, breast-feed your baby for at least six months. Breast milk contains antibodies that may offer protection from ear infections.
• If you bottle-feed, hold your baby in an upright position. Avoid propping a bottle in your baby’s mouth while he or she is lying down. Don’t put bottles in the crib with your baby.
• Talk to your doctor about vaccinations. Ask your doctor about what vaccinations are appropriate for your child. Seasonal flu shots, pneumococcal and other bacterial vaccines may help prevent ear infections.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
Strep is an abbreviation for a family of bacteria called “streptococci.” Strep throat occurs when the throat and surrounding structures become infected with this germ. While strep throat is a common infection, many other infections have the same symptoms. You must have an actual strep test at your doctor’s office to be certain that your symptoms are associated with a streptococcal infection versus a different bacterial or viral infection. Symptoms are usually abrupt in onset including:
• red, sore throat
• difficulty swallowing
• enlarged tonsils
• enlarged lymph nodes
• white patches on the tonsils or in the back of the throat
• body aches
• skin rash (rare)
Notably absent in strep throat are a runny nose and cough. You may also suspect strep throat if you have been exposed to someone with a strep infection in the last two weeks. Children between the ages of 5 and 15 are most at risk. You are also more likely to get a strep infection during the winter months.
A nosebleed occurs when the membranes lining the inner nose are disturbed or irritated enough to cause abnormal bleeding. The medical term for nosebleed is epistaxis. The most common causes of nosebleeds are a breakdown in the lining of the nose, injury to the nose or face, high altitude, drug abuse involving the nose, high blood pressure, medicine that prevents blood clotting, and medical conditions that prevent your blood from clotting.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
Sinusitis occurs when a germ finds its way in to the hollow recesses of the skull that surround your eyes and nose. The infection can then become trapped there, causing inflammation, pressure and pain. Acute sinusitis is often secondary to a common cold, so you are more likely to get sinusitis during the winter months. Chronic sinusitis is sometimes an inflammatory disorder caused by untreated allergies or conditions, such as bronchial asthma. Sinusitis can last from weeks to years if left untreated.
• Symptoms of sinusitis are:
• nasal discharge of various colors and consistency
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Apnea is a medical term meaning to stop breathing. Sleep apnea is a disorder causing one to stop breathing for brief periods of time while sleeping. Sleep apnea is a common disorder and can cause severe health problems if left untreated. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, see a doctor. Symptoms include:
• waking up frequently in the middle of the night
• feeling unrefreshed upon awakening
• daytime drowsiness
• mood swings
• waking up with a dry, sore throat
• morning headaches
In addition to these symptoms, many individuals with sleep apnea have often been told by a spouse or other family member that they snore, gasp or choke while sleeping. Family members may have observed an episode in which you stopped breathing while asleep. You are more likely to have sleep apnea if you are overweight, have enlarged tonsils, take sedatives at bedtime or have inherited a shorter airway than the general population. People who are obese and have uncontrolled hypertension are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea.
The majority of people will experience one or more of these disorders in their lifetime. While visiting with your physician, discussion of your symptoms may help your doctor to come up with a diagnosis of an ENT disorder.