What Are The Causes Of Ear Pain
There could be many different causes. For example, if youve recently had a cold or the flu you mind find yourself with residual ear pain several weeks later. Ear pain can be one of the side effects of sinusitis, which may also make you feel unwell with headaches, toothache and tenderness in your jaw and neck. Infection like this is a common cause but ear pain can also be the result of other conditions, such as grinding your teeth. Often, ear pain can be handled and eased at home but if it becomes acute or is accompanied by a fever then its always a good idea to consult a medical professional.
Dont Use Cold Solutions
You should never use a cold solution in your nasal passages especially if youre irrigating your nasal passages after sinus surgery.
Some of the solutions we prescribe after sinus surgery must be kept in the refrigerator, says Dr. Sindwani. You need to allow the solution to come to room temperature before using them.
If you just had sinus surgery and you used a cold solution, you could develop bony growths in your nasal passages called paranasal sinus exostoses . Dr. Sindwani and his research team have discovered that these growths can develop in the sinuses of people who have undergone surgery for chronic rhinosinusitis, or inflammation in the lining of the sinuses.
This is related to the solution being cold, not necessarily what is in the solution, says Dr. Sindwani. These growths can develop when the cold solution comes into contact with the surgically opened sinus cavities.
PSE look like small polyps or cysts, but they are actually bone. Theyve only been found in the sinuses after surgery, but its still important to use fluids at room temperature.
There are newer medications in development that dont require refrigeration, says Dr. Sindwani. This will make nasal irrigation easier and safer.
When To See A Doctor For Sinus Pain
If your sinus symptoms are not getting better with at-home treatments, and if your sinus symptoms last longer than seven to 10 days, you should see a doctor for treatment. Allina Health has many convenient care options for care, from online visits to walk-in care, to help you get better fast.
If you have frequent or reoccurring sinus infections, you may want to see an ear, nose and throat for your treatment options.
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Ear Infection Symptoms: Babies
Ear infections arent always apparent in babies and children who are too young to describe their pain. They may signify ear pain by pulling on or fussing with their ear. They may just be irritable, or not eating or sleeping well. Babies sometimes refuse to drink from a bottle because swallowing hurts their ears. Ear infection symptoms in babies may include:
Symptoms Of An Ear Infection
The primary symptoms of an ear infection include acute ear pain and hearing loss. You will have the sensation that your hearing is muffled or you’re experiencing hearing loss and you may experience referred pain in your throat or fluid in the middle ear.
When youre experiencing an ear infection, you may not necessarily see a change in color in or outside your ears.
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How Many Times A Day Can You Do A Sinus Rinse
While it can be tempting to irrigate your sinuses as often as possible, its not really a good idea. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends rinsing your sinuses only once a day. Though you can increase it to twice a day once your symptoms have subsided.
Thats because salt can dry out your sinus walls. This can prompt your sinuses to produce more mucus. But all this excess mucus can build up and provide the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria leading to infection. In short, over-irrigation of the nasal sinuses can also lead to a sinus infection.
This is one of the reasons why some people may experience worsened symptoms after a nasal irrigation. If this happens, put your neti pot down and dont hesitate to call or visit your doctor.
Only Use Sterile Water
One final warning: Its crucial to use sterile water to prepare the irrigation solution. Boiling before use should be sufficient.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a parasitic amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, has been linked to several deaths among neti pot users who did not use sterile water. Once introduced into the sinuses, the parasite makes its way to the brain, causing an infection that is fatal.
A neti pot is a simple device that looks like a small teapot. To use a neti pot:
As noted above, its crucial to use sterile water. Create a saline solution by adding the correct amount of pure, noniodized sodium chloride to the water, to make one of two solutions:
- Isotonic. This is a 0.9 percent saline solution, or 9 grams of sodium chloride dissolved in 1 liter of water.
- Hypertonic. This is a 1.5 percent to 3 percent salt solution.
Kosher salt or sea salt are suitable sources of pure sodium chloride with no added minerals. The New York Sinus Center warns against using table salt or iodized salt.
Dont attempt nasal irrigation with tap water. Using sterile water is essential for safety, and salt prevents the uncomfortable burning sensation associated with using solutions that arent isotonic.
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Is Digital Imaging Necessary For Sinus Infection Diagnosis
In most cases, the examination and conversation with a doctor are sufficient to diagnose the infection and put together a treatment plan. For cases of acute sinus infection, it usually isnt necessary to have digital imaging.
But if the infections are recurring, the ENT will want to see what is happening with the structure within your sinuses. In this situation, you will likely need to have a digital scan, such as sinus x-rays or computerized tomography .
Primary care physicians can provide basic diagnostics and treatments for sinus infections. Patients are usually referred to an ENT for help with chronic or recurring sinus infections. If you need fluid samples for a lab culture, an endoscopy, or digital imaging, then our team of ENT specialists can offer these services in our office.
Does The Neti Pot Really Work
Some ear, nose, and throat surgeons recommend nasal irrigation with a Neti pot or other method for their patients who’ve undergone sinus surgery, to clear away crusting in the nasal passages. Many people with sinus symptoms from allergies and environmental irritants also have begun to regularly use the Neti pot or other nasal irrigation devices, claiming that these devices alleviate congestion, and facial pain and pressure. Research backs up these claims, finding that nasal irrigation can be an effective way to relieve sinus symptoms when used along with standard sinus treatments. For some people, nasal irrigation may bring relief of sinus symptoms without the use of medications.
The basic explanation of how the Neti pot works is that it thins mucus and helps flush it out of the nasal passages.
A more biological explanation for how the Neti pot works has to do with tiny, hair-like structures called cilia that line the inside of the nasal and sinus cavities. These cilia wave back and forth to push mucus either to the back of the throat where it can be swallowed, or to the nose to be blown out. Saline solution can help increase the speed and improve coordination of the cilia so that they may more effectively remove the allergens and other irritants that cause sinus problems.
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How To Treat A Sinus Infection
In the case of sinus infections , pain medication is rarely prescribed. Patients will be encouraged to try a sinus rinse using a Neti Pot before moving on to more serious interventions.
In cases of acute sinusitis, patients may also experience cold-like symptoms. If these symptoms dont get better or appear to get worse after 5-7 days, your doctor may decide to treat the sinus infection with antibiotics along with nasal decongestant, nasal sprays, and saline solution.
In severe cases of sinus infections, your doctor may decide to prescribe steroids. For those who experience chronic sinusitis, it’s recommended to seek care from an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist.
Theres only one thing worse than suffering from a sinus infection or an ear infection: suffering from both at the same time. Unfortunately, anything that causes nasal swelling can cause swelling of the middle ear space because the nose is congested. So cases in which you have a sinus infection and ear infection at the same time can be especially painful.
When it comes to different infections in the ear, nose, and throat, its easy to get your wires crossed and find that you arent quite sure whats going on in your body.
Middle And External Ear Infections
A middle ear infection can cause ear congestion, as well as dizziness, ear pain, and occasionally fluid drainage. Theyre usually caused by colds or other respiratory problems that travel to the middle ear through the Eustachian tube.
External ear infections, also known as swimmers ear, are usually caused by water that remains in your ear after swimming or bathing, providing an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. You may experience pain, itching, redness, and clear fluid drainage or a discharge of pus.
Ear infections often resolve without treatment. Over-the-counter ear drops and pain medication can help relieve your symptoms. If your symptoms are severe or last more than two days, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
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How Do You Make The Saltwater Solution
Most neti pots or sinus rinses will come with their own prepackaged salt packets, so use that and follow the directions on the package for how to mix up your saltwater solution. “If you prefer to make your own mixture, you can add one-quarter teaspoon of noniodized salt to eight ounces of distilled, sterile, or bottled water,” Dr. Dass recommended. You can also use boiled water let the water boil for three to five minutes, then cool until it’s lukewarm, room temperature, or warm . If it’s too hot, it could burn the inside of your nasal passage.
Treatment For A Throat Infection
You can treat many throats infections at home, but if your condition doesnt improve in 1-2 weeks, you should contact a physician. The common cause of throat infections, viral infections, usually only last five to seven days and dont require medical treatment. A course of antibiotics is usually prescribed by a physician if your throat infection is caused by a viral infection. Home treatment options include:
- Gargling with warm salt water
- Drinking plenty of warm fluids
- Avoiding allergens and irritants
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Natural Remedies For Ear Infections
Having ear pain from an ear infection doesnt always mean you need antibiotics. Instead, try these at-home strategies to feel better.
Ear infections arent just painful they can also take one to two weeks to fully heal, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. And taking a wait-and-see-approach meaning, without antibiotics is recommended for many children and adults with ear infections. This is based on guidelines published in the journal Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery in February 2016. Natural remedies can also help.
Theres no scientific data to support home remedies , but they may be soothing, and there could be a placebo effect, says otolaryngologist Matthew Bush, MD, an assistant professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery with University of Kentucky Health Care in Lexington.
The good news about these strategies? They wont harm you and they might do just the trick.
Rose and Bush agree that over-the-counter pain medications can help you feel better. If you have allergies, getting away from any triggers that cause congestion, which leads to ear infections, may also provide some relief, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
If Youre Unable To Keep The Device Free From Contamination
This aspect of nasal irrigation is often overlooked. Neti pots, squirt bottles, etc. should be cleaned regularly according to their instructions. Theyre not something that should sit on your bathroom counter for a month without being washed.
The water used for this purpose should be distilled, sterile or boiled and then allowed to cool. Water that hasnt been sterilized can carry contaminants, including brain-eating amoebas that, in rare instances, have led to neti pot users deaths.
You should also consider replacing your irrigation device every so often, just as you would a toothbrush.
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Changes In Altitude And Ear Pressure
There can be a pressure difference between the outside air and the environment within your middle ear space. Most of the time, the pressure in the middle ear is similar to the pressure outside of the ear. The difference is small enough that you dont experience any discomfort or sensations.
But, when you increase in altitude , then the outside air pressure decreases but the middle ear pressure remains the same. The changes cause the sealed air in the middle ear to expand.
As a result, pressure is placed on the eardrum. You will feel some discomfort and the desire to pop your ears. Some people find it harder to hear since the eardrum pressure affects the way sound is transmitted through the ears. This sensation often causes you to feel like your ears are plugged.
Wait Didn’t Someone Die Using A Neti Pot
The other risk involves the type of water you use. “In 2018, there was a widely publicized case of a woman dying in Seattle from a brain-eating amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris using tap water for her neti pot,” Dr. Dass said. “These cases are very rare and preventable if you use distilled, sterile, or bottled water.”
“You should also avoid using a neti pot if you have recently had any trauma or surgery to your nose unless your physician recommends it,” Dr. Dass said.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Sinus Infections
Unfortunately, no matter the approach, diagnosing sinusitis can be difficult for doctors. This complication stems from the fact that not all sinus infections result from bacteria. Some sinus infections are the consequence of fungi or viruses. Other times, a sinus problem can be the product of nasal polyps, a deviated septum, allergies, or other medical conditions unrelated to bacterial intrusion. If he or she is unable to distinguish between bacterial, viral, and other causes, a doctor may end up misdiagnosing the ailment. When this misdiagnosis combines with patient expectations, doctors could end up prescribing medications that offer no benefits for the patients condition. Moreover, these improperly prescribed medications could worsen the patients situation.
Inhale Menthol And Camphor
Another inhaled odor that can help open up sinus passages is menthol, which is an ingredient in popular ointments that are used specifically to treat a stuffy nose. These ointments also contain eucalyptus oil and camphor, which combine with menthol to create a powerful scent that immediately relieves sinus pressure. This ointment can be rubbed on your chest and under your nose to deliver its soothing benefits. Unlike eucalyptus oil, this ointment should not be placed in the mouth.
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Risks And Side Effects Of Using A Neti Pot
For the most part, neti pots are safe to use as long as you properly follow directions, especially with the saline solution, and keep your neti pot properly cleaned.
Only use the saline packets that are typically included with your neti pot or sold separately for neti pot use. Using too much of the saline mix can lead to irritation of the nasal passage, so follow directions.
And, as mentioned earlier, if you dont clean your device thoroughly, you do risk putting bacteria right back in your nasal passage for additional infection.
Be careful about overusing your neti pot, too, because that can lead to irritation of the nasal passage. If your issues continue after a few days, contact your healthcare provider.
What Causes Ear Pain And Gagging
When we have an ear infection, our first instinct is to try and get relief as soon as possible. The problem is that the infection itself can take up to 6 weeks to clear up, and sometimes this can lead to much more serious conditions if left untreated. Ear pain, fever and discharge can all be symptoms of an ear infection and using a neti pot may cause excessive ear pain or discomfort. There are natural remedies for ear infections and using these methods will help speed up your recovery time. Below are some tips to help you stop your infection and regain your hearing again.
If you want to stop your infection naturally, you should consider an infection as a symptom of another problem. For instance, if you have an ear infection, it could be a sign of a cold or even an ear infection in itself. If you are experiencing pain, swelling and discharge with your infection, you should consult your doctor immediately. There are a number of symptoms that your doctor will be able to diagnose including ear pain, fever and ear discharge.
Natural cures for ear infections such as tea tree oil can be used to reduce the inflammation of your ear and relieve the discomfort caused by ear infections.
This is one of the safest and most effective ways to help you cure your ear infection.
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