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Allergy Tools

Avoiding high pollen and dust days are your best defense against protecting yourself from symptoms of allergies.  Did you know there are tools that can help you do just that? See info below from Pollen.com:

 

The Pollen.com team developed a series of solutions for you and your family to get your allergy information as quickly and effectively as possible.

Pollen.com’s Allergy Alert Mobile App

Pollen.com is proud to offer Allergy Alert, a free application you can download for the iPhone and Android devices! This friendly application provides pollen allergy index levels along with weather forecasts and allergy diary. With a simple touch of the screen, you can plan your day or think about your whole week with the five day forecasts!

Learn More about Allergy Alert iPhone App
Learn More about Allergy Alert Android App

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Facts about Taste & Smell 

  • Most patients who complain of a loss of taste actually suffer from a loss of smell.
  • The majority of a food’s flavor comes from our ability to smell it.
  •  Disorders of smell and taste are fairly common, affecting approximately 2 million people in the United States.
  • True disorders of only taste are quite rare.

 

Loss of smell- Possible Causes

Common obstructive causes of smell loss include a

  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal allergies
  • Swelling of the mucosa caused by chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) with or without nasal polyps.
  • Benign or malignant tumors in the nose.
  • Other health problems including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, malnutrition, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological disorders.
  •  Upper respiratory infection causing inflammation in the nose impairing smell via swelling and obstruction. Usually temporary during duration of the active infection, but a small number of patients experience a more prolonged or permanent loss of smell after a cold.
  • Zinc nasal sprays, previously used to prevent or shorten flu or colds, have been associated with sudden and permanent smell loss.
  • Trauma to the head, as may occur in a car accident, can also cause injury to the brain or the olfactory nerves causing temporary or permanent loss.
  • It is also well described that the sense of smell diminishes with age in a similar fashion as vision and hearing.

 

There are many other reasons why people may lose their sense of smell, including metabolic, endocrinologic, infectious, congenital, developmental or drug-related reasons. Your otolaryngologist will know how to look for these other causes.

 

Testing Loss of Smell

  • The physician will perform an exam, usually with a nasal endoscopy,  looking for a deviated septum, polyps, inflammation, or other causes for physical blockage of the olfactory cleft and sources of smell loss.
  • The physician may also use a scratch-and-sniff or other smelling test to quantify the amount of smell loss a patient has.
  • A physician may order an MRI or CT to evaluate the olfactory system and paranasal sinuses for further investigation into the loss.

 

Treatment Options

  • Nasal or oral steroids and antihistamines to decrease the inflammation.
  • Surgery may be suggested if the patient is found to have nasal polypschronic sinusitisdeviated septum, or other surgically treatable disorders.
  •  A short course of oral steroids (prednisone) may be beneficial in some patients.
  • Attempting to retrain one’s sense of smell after loss (a technique called “olfactory training”) can be beneficial.

 

Patients who suffer from the loss of smell or taste are encouraged to seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine the cause of their loss. While certain smell losses are permanent, others can be effectively treated medically or surgically by an ENT specialist, especially if treated soon after the onset of loss.

 

Tips for Choosing the right Facial Surgeon

At Westside Head & Neck, all cosmetic procedures, including dermal injections are done by one of our Board Certified ENT – Head & Neck Surgeons, and never by a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner.   Here is why it is important that you know that:

  • A large portion of training in the specialty of ear, nose and throat surgery includes plastic and reconstructive surgery and non-invasive cosmetic procedures of the face, head and neck.
  • Otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) are regional experts in the anatomy of the face and neck.
  • Following medical school, selection into otolaryngology is one of the most competitive in the U.S. After 5-6 years of specialized surgical training, otolaryngologists are fully trained and qualified to perform cosmetic and reconstructive procedures above the shoulders.
  • The American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (ABOto)  is one of the oldest certifying agencies in the U.S. A large portion of their examination is devoted to facial plastic surgery.
  • Their extensive training in the anatomy and physiology of the face makes otolaryngologists as much (if not better) experts in facial plastic surgery as are general plastic surgeons, who devote a good portion of their training to surgery of other body areas outside of the face.
  • As a prudent consumer, you should consider not only board certification, but also training and experience when choosing a cosmetic physician.
  • Ask for recommendations from friends and physicians.

 

The Bottom Line: When it comes to specialized plastic surgery and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, no one knows the face better than an otolaryngologist.

 

Sources:
http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/02/plastic-surgery-part-ent-surgeon-repertoire.html
Dolci JE. Otolaryngologists in facial plastic surgery, yes. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2011 Jul-Aug;77(4):408.
Thomas JR. Perceptions regarding facial plastic surgery among Dutch otolaryngologists. Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2005 Mar-Apr;7(2):143-4.
Rosenthal E, Clark JM, Wax MK, Cook TA. Emerging perceptions of facial plastic surgery among medical students. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001 Nov;125(5):478-82.

 

What Are Sleep Studies?

Sleep studies are tests that measure how well you sleep and how your body responds to sleep problems. These tests can help your doctor find out whether you have a sleep disorder and how severe it is.

Sleep studies are important because untreated sleep disorders can raise your risk for heart diseasehigh blood pressurestroke, and other medical conditions. Sleep disorders also have been linked to an increased risk of injury, such as falling (in the elderly) and car accidents.

People usually aren’t aware of their breathing and movements while sleeping. They may never think to talk to their doctors about issues that might be related to sleep problems.

However, sleep disorders can be treated. Talk with your doctor if you snore regularly or feel very tired while at work or school most days of the week.

You also may want to talk with your doctor if you often have trouble falling or staying asleep, or if you wake up too early and aren’t able to go back to sleep. These are common signs of a sleep disorder.

Your doctor might be able to diagnose a sleep disorder based on your sleep schedule and habits. However, he or she also might need the results from sleep studies and other medical tests to diagnose a sleep disorder.

Sleep studies can help diagnose:

  • Sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea
  • Sleep-related seizure disorders
  • Sleep-related movement disorders, such as periodic limb movement disorder
  • Sleep disorders that cause extreme daytime tiredness, such as narcolepsy

 

Doctors might use sleep studies to help diagnose or rule out restless legs syndrome (RLS). However, RLS usually is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms, medical history, and a physical exam.