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Got Allergy? Don’t Get a Sinus Infection!

By Current News 9,509 Comments

By Dr Murray Grossan

Got Allergy? Don’t Make it a Sinus Infection

This year is predicted to be a bad allergy season –in spring it’s trees, in summer it’s grass and in fall it’s weeds.

It is common for the sinus doctor to see patients who let their allergy change into sinusitis that requires surgery.

How can you prevent this?

When you sneeze non-stop, get poor sleep, stay plugged all the time, this causes the nasal cilia to become exhausted and slow down. Normally the cilia beat in harmony to move bacteria out of the nose and sinuses. When they fail, you get a sinus X Ray  that shows left maxillary sinus disease.

Prevention of sinus disease from allergy.

Good sleep. Try to find one of the allergy pills like Benadry or Zyrtec that clears the nose and helps you sleep. Many patients reduce their allergy symptoms with one of the antihistamine nasal sprays such as Astelin or Patanase. Ask your doctor for a prescription and for discount coupons. Also check the web sites for coupons.

Your doctor may put you on one of the cortisone type sprays, such as Flonase. There are almost of dozen of these available and results vary.

Tea, lemon and honey helps cilia action.

Regular use of the Hydro Pulse™ will move bacteria and pollen out of the nose and sinuses. The massage action reduces tissue edema, so it helps avoid sinus blockage. The massage action reduces tissue swelling for better breathing.

Will surgery help your allergy?

Actually sometimes it will. If your sinuses are fully blocked, and are fully packed with tissue and liquid pus, draining the sinus will be of benefit

Fortunately today, there is a procedure that is quite simple and can be used. It involves putting a balloon into the normal sinus opening. The balloon is inflated and the sinus is irrigated through a duct in the balloon apparatus.

When the sinus opening has been milked to open, then the doctor will prescribe Hydro Pulse Nasal/Sinus irrigation to encourage cilia function and to keep the milked opening patent.

Some patients benefit by using additives to the Hydro Pulse irrigation such as antibiotics or cortisone type products.

The goal is to keep that opening from closing up. Pulse wave irrigation has been used for this. Best of all, once normal nasal/sinus cilia function has been restored, no further irrigation may be needed.

What drug to take for allergy? Take BREAKFAST IN BED.

By Current News 15,039 Comments

By Dr Murray Grossan

With allergy, your normal thermostat is “off.” Instead of warming up from cold in the regular manner, you sneeze, cough, and hack: this does warm you up, but it starts a cascade that can last all day. When you awake from sleep, your body temperature is low or cool. If you drink hot tea, chicken soup, and some warm cereal, this warms up you body temperature and you avoid that bad morning cascade. Opening the curtains and exposing yourself to sunshine also wakes up your body’s thermostat.

With allergy, you should carry a jacket or windbreaker for going in and out of air conditioning. This can reduce symptoms. Avoid drinking iced drinks. Odors – perfume, lotions, and lipsticks – add to the allergy arithmetic. Without the lipstick your symptoms might be much less.

When you drive during allergy season,  the faster you drive, the more pollen you are exposed to.  Therefore, drive with your windows closed and air conditioning on.

Allergy plants pollinate at night. Therefore, close bedroom windows at night; running a filter in the closed bedroom in the daytime filters out dust and pollen. Change outside clothing in order to avoid bringing pollen into the house.

You can easily diagnose what you are allergic to. Use the various web sites – Weather Channel,, to see which weed is blooming when your symptoms are worse. Then you have a diagnosis. Sometimes it is sage growing only in your own back yard! Knowing when the pollen that you are allergic to is at its worse, you can go to the beach or to a higher mountain to avoid the pollen. You can also use that information to plan your vacation to make sure you are going where there is no pollen that you are allergic to.

Pollen allergy is like  arithmetic: If there is a minim of pollen and no dust or odors, you may not have symptoms. But if there is lots of dust in your bedroom plus a small amount of pollen, you may have symptoms. Factors that add to this arithmetic include:

  • Poor Sleep
  • Getting Chilled
  • Scented lipstick and perfume
  • Hot spicy foods
  • Iced foods

Certain foods my also add to this arithmetic. You may be able to eat, for example, fresh strawberries anytime, except during pollen season. The reason is that fresh produce is chemically more complex, and may produce a certain amount of histamine. This can add to the big load of histamine produced by the pollen. To be on the safe side, stick to cooked or canned products.

Although some 20 million persons are allergic to pollen, there are only a certain percentage that don’t get relief with simple medication. The big secret is that your Tower ENT doctors have all kinds of samples and discount coupons for products that relieve allergy symptoms.

A common problem with seasonal allergy is that, if untreated, it can develop into a sinus infection. If your symptoms continue past the pollen season with yellow/green discharge, time to see the doctor.

ADHD in Children. Or is it Snoring?–Part I

By Current News 29,853 Comments

By Dr Murray Grossan

Recent studies have pointed to behavior problems, inattention, and crankiness in children as part of the ADHD syndrome (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.)  However these behaviors are also seen in children who snore. Even among children expertly diagnosed ADHD, some cleared up their ADHD when the snoring was relieved.

In E.N.T. practice, it is common to see a child who snores and doesn’t sleep well. They are cranky and inattentive, fall asleep in class and don’t smile much. When the snoring is cleared, many of those problems clear up.

In one study, after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy done for snoring and mouth breathing, 50% of the children who were diagnosed ADHD before surgery, no longer had symptoms.
Thus, a child with loud snoring that exhibits ADHD type behavior may be simply sleep deprived and may recover when the sleep problem is corrected, even when the tests are positive for this diagnosis!

Snoring in children has been a concern for years. Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep disorder, where the breathing passage is blocked and less air/oxygen gets to the body.

Occasional snoring due to a cold is not a problem. Of concern is the constant loud snoring, the child that gasps for breath in sleep, or the periods when the breathing actually stops in sleep.

Common causes of snoring include:
•    Allergy
•    Sinus infection
•    Enlarged adenoids
•    Enlarged tonsils
•    Acid reflux

The snoring child who doesn’t get good sleep often shows:
•    Irritability
•    Unpleasant breath
•    Poor attention
•    School difficulty
•    Poor growth
•    Poor appetite
•    Crankiness
•    Inadequate physical activity
•    Fall asleep in daytime

We’ll have more on this next week. Enjoy the holiday!

Treating the whole person

By Current News 73,964 Comments

By Dr Murray Grossan

The doctors at Tower E.N.T. believe in treating the whole person. This is because a patient is more than a sinus or an ear.

Just as it is important to look into the nose, it is also important to know a person’s whole history and understand what their symptoms are.  For example, Mr. S. V.  complained of ringing in his ears. As part of our Whole Person approach, we routinely take the patient’s blood pressure. His was excessively high; he was seen by his internist and when the blood pressure was normalized, his ringing in the ear cleared.

Often we see patients who have failed therapy.  For example Mrs. F. T.  complained of unsteadiness when walking. She hadn’t benefited by taking several medications for dizziness. But her history showed that she had had a mild case of polio as a child. When we asked her to walk down the hall, it was evident that one leg was weaker than the other. When she was referred to physical therapy, the symptoms were treated properly.

Children are people too! When the right questions are asked, often the solution pops out. Little Jimmy’s allergy was not responding to therapy. Jimmy was allergic to dust. Turns out his grandmother had given him one of the family’s old stuffed bear to sleep with, which gave off dust.

We also measure the blood oxygen on our patients. Mr. B. K. complained that he wasn’t getting enough air through his nose, and felt weak. But his blood oxygen level was too low and he needed therapy for his lungs, not for his nose.

Is the pain due to a sinus infection or migraine? It is vital to diagnose correctly. Just as important as the thorough examination is the history. If the pain comes once a week, preceded by visual changes it probably is migraine. If the pain is steady, helped by aspirin it is not migraine.

By carefully examining the sinus, the difference between sinus and migraine can readily be established. More important, migraine medications can be quite severe.

But migraine can also be missed. Quite often we see a patient who sustained a head trauma and complains of neck pain. Mr. C. F. had an industrial accident and continued to have neck and head pain despite physical therapy and pain medications. He came to Tower in hopes of stopping his pain pills. Turns out he had developed true migraine following his trauma; with migraine medication he was soon able to return to work.

We’ll continue next week in another post. Enjoy the rest of your week.