Many patients with conditions of the ear, nose and throat (ENT) have an array of symptoms and conditions, with the most common being vertigo, nose bleeds, sinus and tinnitus. These conditions are sometimes triggered randomly and it is not uncommon for patients to ask me for on-the-spot remedies that will alleviate their misery to feel better. For instance, in the case of a nose bleed, there are steps to follow and monitor before assessing whether to rush to A&E or see a specialist.
Here are some common ENT problems, ways to manage them at home if they act up and when to see a specialist.
Vertigo is a sensation of feeling off balance. Often, vertigo is caused by inner ear problems such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease or vestibular neuritis. During a vertigo episode, you may feel like you are spinning. For most patients with vertigo, symptoms are short lived and usually require no management. Your doctor may provide medicines such as prochlorperazine and some antihistamines to relief the dizziness. Otherwise, you may try these head movement exercises at home:
This exercise may be repeated thrice.
However, if your vertigo is severe and doesn’t resolve within a week, consider seeing a specialist. In addition, if the vertigo is accompanied by light-headedness when you stand, it might be a case of hypotension and management of the condition should be initiated.
Many patients come with concerns about nose bleeds, especially for their young children. While that is understandable as nose bleeds may look scary, nose bleeds are actually very common and do not require a specialist’s attention. Very often, nose bleeds may simply be triggered by dry air, sinus infections, and nose picking. In the event of a nose bleed at home or outside of home, follow these steps to manage the nose bleed:
See a specialist if you get nose bleeds more than once a week, have other accompanying symptoms such as chest pain, have difficulty breathing, feel dizzy or tired during a nose bleed or have severe bruising and are bleeding from other places like your gums.
A sinus infection occurs when your nasal cavities become swollen, infected or inflamed. It can be caused by many things, from the flu to allergies. Common symptoms of sinus include a decreased sense of smell, fever, stuffy or runny nose, headache, fatigue and cough. The severity and length of your symptoms will depend on the type of sinus you have. Bacterial sinusitis tends to come with mucus, fever and frontal headache for over 10 days. Viral sinusitis may be accompanied by a low-grade fever and a sore throat and usually improves within 10 days. Allergic sinusitis comes without fever, but with a raspy throat and lots of sneezing and itchy eyes. As you can see, the symptoms are pretty similar.
The next time you get stuffed up, try these home remedies:
If your symptoms don’t improve within a few weeks, you likely have a bacterial infection and should consider seeing a specialist. You could have an underlying condition that is causing your chronic infection and in this case would require special treatment.