Allergic rhinitis is commonly known as hay fever. However, this name is misleading as it often has nothing to do with hay or developing a fever. Allergic rhinitis occurs when the immune system becomes sensitive to something in the environment and overreacts.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
- Itchy skin, eyes or mouth
- Runny nose
- Puffiness or swelling in the eyes
- Fatigue (often due to poor sleep as a result of nasal obstruction)
What triggers allergic rhinitis?
- Irritants: diesel exhaust, cigarette smoke, perfume
- Outdoor allergens: pollen from trees, weeds, and grass
- Indoor allergens: mold, dust mites, pet hair or dander
How will my otolaryngologists diagnose allergic rhinitis?
Your doctor will start by asking questions about your lifestyle, symptoms and other medical conditions. Certain conditions like nasal polyps or a deviated septum (curvature of the bone and cartilage that separates the nostrils) may complicate allergic rhinitis.
How is allergic rhinitis treated?
The most important step in treatment will begin with making lifestyle changes to avoid the triggers of your allergic rhinitis.
Your doctor may also prescribe one of a combination of the following types of medications:
- Intranasal corticosteroids
- Nasal sprays
- Leukotriene pathway inhibitors
- Eye drops
Facial Skin Lesions
A skin lesion is part of the skin that has grown abnormally or looks different compared to the skin around it. Skin lesions may be present at birth or acquired over your lifetime. Some skin lesions evolve from primary lesions or develop as a consequence of your lifestyle. For example, skin cancer melanoma results from sun exposure.
Your MMG ENT can diagnose all types of facial lesions while screening for facial skin cancer.
What causes facial lesions?
When mutations in the skin cells cause them to grow out of control, facial skin cancers occur. Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and tanning beds is often the cause.
How do I know if a facial lesion is cancerous?
Always discuss any changes your notice in patches of skin with your doctor or new patches of skin that develop and look different than the rest of your skin.
Here are descriptions of the most common types of facial lesions that can develop:
- Basal cell carcinomas appear as a flat, flesh-colored lesion; pearly, waxy bump; or are brown and scar-like. They affect the scalp, face, and ears.
- Melanomas can be moles that change in color, size, or bleed; lesions with irregular borders and parts that appear blue-black, blue, red or white; brownish spots with dark speckles; and dark lesions on the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. They can occur anywhere but are very common on the neck or head.
- Squamous cell carcinomas may be firm, reddish nodules, or flat lesions with a scaly or crusty surface. They often occur on the ears, lips, and face.
How will my MMG ENT treat my facial lesions?
Treatment for facial skin cancer depends on the size, type, and location of the lesions, as well as your overall health. Your doctor may be able to remove smaller lesions on the skin’s surface with a simple skin biopsy. When detected early, other superficial skin cancers can often be removed by vaporizing with laser therapy or freezing with liquid nitrogen.
Excisional surgery for larger growths may need to be performed in the operating room as an outpatient procedure.
Radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be recommended. Chemotherapy for skin lesions involves using creams or lotions that contain cancer-killing drugs. This treatment is effective in cancers confined to the top layer of skin.
For cancers that spread to other parts of the body, systemic chemotherapy is usually effective.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is potentially serious. Patients with this condition repeatedly stop and start breathing. Sleep apnea is caused by the brain not sending proper signals to the muscles, the throat muscles improperly relaxing, or a combination of the two. ENTs typically treat obstructive sleep apnea, which is the form of this condition caused by the relaxing throat muscles.
How will my doctor diagnose sleep apnea?
Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and ask questions of those familiar with your sleep habits. He will likely refer you for a sleep study.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your MMG ENT will evaluate you to rule out a blockage in your nose or throat.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
The most common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep (observed by someone else)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
- Morning headache
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Feeling sleepy after a full night of rest
How will my MMG ENT treat my obstructive sleep apnea?
If your obstructive sleep apnea is mild, your doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes such as:
- Exercising regularly.
- Not sleeping on your back.
- Losing weight if you’re overweight.
- Drinking alcohol moderately, if at all.
- Not drinking several hours before bedtime.
- Quit smoking.
- Using nasal decongestants or allergy medications.
If these measures don’t improve your sleep, or if your apnea is moderate to severe, then your doctor may recommend other treatments. Certain devices can help open up a blocked airway such as mouthpieces and CPAP machines.
In other cases, surgery may be necessary.