Nose & Sinus


Rhinitis: Allergic and Non-Allergic

Woman Suffering from AllergiesAllergic rhinitis is brought on by specific and known allergens, such as dust, pollen, mold or dander among others. Commonly referred to as “hay fever,” allergic rhinitis is often caused by plant allergens, such as trees, grass, and ragweed.

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Post nasal drip

Treating Allergic Rhinitis and Non-Allergic Rhinitis

  • Antihistamines. These over-the-counter medications help to reduce or block the chemicals that your body produces when it comes into contact with an allergen.
  • Nasal saline rinses. Also known as nasal irrigation, this treatment technique flushes out excess mucus and clears debris from the sinus and nasal cavities.
  • Corticosteroids. Prescription corticosteroid nasal sprays relieve rhinitis symptoms by decreasing inflammation and suppressing the chemicals that your body produces in response to allergens.
  • Immunotherapy. Commonly known as allergy shots, this treatment works well for those who cannot avoid an allergen or whose allergies fail to respond to other treatment methods.

For more information about the treatment of both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, contact Northwest ENT and Allergy Center at (770) 427-0368 and schedule an appointment at any of our offices.

What is a Deviated Nasal Septum?

The nasal septum is the wall that divides the nose into left and right sides. The septum is composed of semi-flexible cartilage near the front and bone in the back. A deviated nasal septum occurs when this wall is aligned in the middle of the nasal cavity. Whether deviation was present at birth or caused by trauma, a deviated nasal septum can cause difficulty breathing as well as chronic sinusitis. It is estimated that 80% of the population has a deviated septum. A deviated septum may be so slight that it goes unnoticed; however, a severely deviated septum can restrict airflow and cause breathing to be labored. It can also cause blockage of the nostrils, nasal congestion, nosebleeds, recurrent sinus infections, postnasal drip and snoring.
Patients who suffer from frequent nosebleeds, recurring sinus infections, or nasal blockages that don’t respond to treatment should see an ENT doctor.

Treating a Deviated Nasal Septum

Treatment of a deviated nasal septum involves a procedure called septoplasty. This surgical procedure is performed to straighten the nasal septum. This requires general anesthesia. The procedure takes less than one hour, and patients go home the same day. Recovery period is a few days. For more information about the treatment of a deviated nasal septum, call Northwest ENT and Allergy Center at (770) 427-0368 today. Schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified ENT physicians.

Causes of Nasal Obstruction

Nasal congestion or difficulty breathing out of the nose is a very common problem. This can be caused by nasal inflammation from allergic or non-allergic causes, infections (such as viral illness or bacterial sinus infection), barometric pressure changes, or structural blockage from nasal polyps, septal deviation or turbinate enlargement.

  • Rhinitis. Acute or chronic swelling of the tissues in the nasal and sinus cavities can block airflow in and out of the nose. This is most often caused by allergies and infections.
  • Deviated Septum. If the wall that divides the nose into left and right sides is displaced to one side or the other, patients may find it difficult to breathe properly.
  • Turbinate hypertrophy. The turbinates are natural swellings in the nose that warm, filter, and humidify the air. There are typically three turbinates on each side of the nose, the inferior turbinate being the largest and most clinically significant. These structures normally swell and shrink at various intervals throughout the day. They also swell significantly in allergy attacks and during colds and sinus infections. When they become enlarged and stay enlarged outside of the setting of allergy or infection, this is called turbinate hypertrophy.
  • Nasal Polyps. Abnormal inflammatory tissues that grow and project into the sinus and nasal cavities can obstruct normal breathing.
  • Adenoid Hypertrophy. Most common in children, the enlargement of the adenoids (lymphatic tissue behind the nose) can block the nasal passages.

Treating Nasal Obstruction at Northwest ENT and Allergy Center

Depending on the cause and severity of the nasal obstruction, treatment methods may vary. In the case of nasal inflammation, a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications can effectively treat the condition. If nasal polyps, enlarged adenoids, or a deviated septum is the root of the problem, surgery may be recommended.

Treatment methods for nasal obstruction include:

  • Antihistamines and/or corticosteroid sprays. These medications help to reduce the swelling and inflammation of the sinus and nasal tissues and restore proper breathing. Immunotherapy may be recommended for allergy symptoms that do not decrease with medications.
  • Septoplasty and/or inferior turbinate reduction. This surgical procedure straightens a deviated or crooked nasal septum, effectively relieving symptoms of nasal obstruction.
  • Adenoidectomy. In children, the removal of enlarged adenoids can provide relief from chronic nasal drainage and obstruction.
  • Removal of Nasal Polyps. If nasal polyps do not resolve with medical therapy, then sinus surgery may be necessary.

For more information about the evaluation and treatment of nasal obstruction, call Northwest ENT and Allergy Center at (770) 427-0368 today. Schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified ENT physicians.

What Causes Nosebleeds?

The nose is an area of the body that contains many tiny blood vessels (or arterioles) that can break easily. In the United States, one of every seven people will develop a nosebleed some time in their lifetime. Nosebleeds can occur at any age but are most common in children aged 2-10 years and adults aged 50-80 years. Nosebleeds can result from several factors, including dryness, nose picking, allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, blood thinner use, common cold, drug use, and certain systemic diseases. Less commonly, benign or malignant tumors can cause recurrent nosebleeds. Since the root cause of most nosebleeds is the drying of the nasal membranes, those who suffer from this condition should keep the nasal passages well lubricated and avoid dry, heated air.

Prevention for Chronic Nosebleeds

Saline Nasal Spray

Saline nasal spray will moisturize, thus reducing the chances of chronic nosebleeds. For optimal results, use 2 sprays in each nostril 5 times daily for at least one month. In patients who have recurrent nosebleeds in the winter, saline spray should be used on a regular basis during the winter months.

Lubricant

The regular application of petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment can help prevent the occurrence of future nosebleeds. For best results, apply the ointment to each side of the nose twice daily for one to two weeks.

Humidifier

Prevent future nosebleeds by keeping the air moist. Place a humidifier near the bed to maintain optimal humidity.

Avoid Anticoagulants

Blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, warfarin, or Plavix® are often the cause of nosebleeds. In the case of severe or recurrent nosebleeds, patients may need to temporarily stop taking these medications. Patients should discuss stopping medications with the prescribing physician prior to doing so.

Avoid Nose-Picking

Children’s nails should be kept short. Discourage nose-picking behavior

How do I stop a nosebleed?

  • Stay calm, or help a young child stay calm.
    • Using the thumb and index finger, pinch all the soft parts of the nose firmly.
  • Keep the head higher than the level of the heart. Sit up.
    • Lean slightly forward so the blood won’t drain in the back of the throat.
  • If readily available, spray nasal decongestant, such as Afrin, directly into the side of the nose that is bleeding. Alternatively, spray a small piece of cotton with the medication and then place the cotton in the nose. Hold pressure for 15-20 minutes.
  • Hold the position for 15-20 minutes. If bleeding continues, hold it again for an additional 20 minutes.
  • If bleeding does not stop after 30-40 minutes, consider evaluation by a physician.

When should I see a doctor?

Dr. Antunes With ENT Client- Northwest ENT and Allergy CenterIf frequent nosebleeds are a problem, it is important to consult an otolaryngologist. An ear, nose, and throat specialist will carefully examine the nose using an endoscope, a tube with a light for seeing inside the nose, prior to making a treatment recommendation. Two of the most common treatments are cautery and packing the nose. Cautery is a technique in which the blood vessel is sealed with an electric current, silver nitrate, or a laser. Sometimes, a doctor may just pack the nose with special gauze or an inflatable latex balloon to put pressure on the blood vessel.

If you are experiencing problems associated with chronic nosebleeds, please call Northwest ENT and Allergy Center at 770-427-0368 to schedule an appointment today.

Sinus

Sinonasal Symptoms

Common symptoms of sinonasal problems include congestion or nasal stuffiness, mucous drainage, headaches and pressure in the cheeks, forehead or around the eyes. Nasal inflammation can result from both allergic and non-allergic causes resulting in chronic nasal congestion and drainage. Diagnosis requires a thorough head and neck examination. Several treatment options are available.

Chronic Sinusitis

What is Sinusitis?

Dr. Kauffman Giving Patient Nose ExamA common condition in many Americans, sinusitis, is inflammation of the tissue lining the sinus cavities and the nose. It is caused by viral infections, bacterial infections, and allergies. When the ostium, the opening of the sinuses, becomes blocked, mucus can collect in the sinus. Bacteria can grow in the stagnant mucus, causing sinusitis. Symptoms are typically present for 7-10 days or more..

Symptoms of Sinusitis
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Discolored nasal mucus and discharge
  • Facial pressure or headaches
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • General ill-feeling

When does acute sinusitis become chronic?

Frequent sinus infections or symptoms that last three months or more could be termed chronic sinusitis. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be less severe than those of acute; however, chronic sinusitis may require surgical treatment. Treatments include antibiotics, decongestants, topical and systemic steroids. Patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis and other persistent sinonasal conditions can find relief through various treatment options at Northwest ENT and Allergy Center. Depending on the type and severity of symptoms, treatment plans may vary.

Sinus Surgery

Common symptoms of sinonasal problems include congestion or nasal stuffiness, mucous drainage, headaches and pressure in the cheeks, forehead or around the eyes. These symptoms can result from chronic sinus infection, nasal inflammation and allergies. A thorough examination including Fiberoptic Nasal Endoscopy assists with appropriate diagnosis and selecting the best treatment options.. Additional tests including cultures and CT scanning may be necessary. A variety of medical and surgical treatments are available depending on the nature and severity of the disease. Sinus surgery can be a highly effective alternative when medical therapy alone is unsuccessful. Procedures are generally performed as an outpatient and done endoscopically with no external incisions. In most cases, uncomfortable nasal packing can be avoided. Stereotactic image guided surgery is also utilized for appropriate complex or revision surgery cases.

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Correct Utilization of Sinus Rinse