Flu vaccination can save lives

ENT Issues in Winters

sni“Flu vaccination before winters can save lives”,sni

says Dr Tariq Rafi an ENT Surgeon at South City Hospital Karachi

 SN: What are the common ENT issues in winters? shifanews

Common cold, flu, dry cough, sneezing, difficulty breathing and upper and lower respiratory tract infections are common during winters. Allergy related issues like rhinitis (inflammation and swelling of internal nasal cavity), sinusitis, asthma and sore throat increase too. shifanews

SN: Why do these problems worsen in this season? shifanews

In winters temperature drops and air becomes dry. This air causes dryness in the respiratory tract and reduces the effectiveness of mucus membrane which prevents viruses from entering nasal cavity. Hence results in increased sensitivity to allergies and infections. Children and older adults have weak immunity that is why it affects them more. shifanews

SN: Can disease of one part affect the other two? shifanews

Yes because they are interconnected. Problem usually starts with the nose and gradually spreads to other parts.shifanews

SN: What is the difference between cold and flu? shifanews

They are often confused because of many similar symptoms. However, flu is a viral disease caused by influenza viruses only. Its symptoms are intense and begin abruptly. It is usually accompanied by fever whereas cold can be caused by different viruses and strikes in winters. Its signs are mild and appear gradually. It does not result in serious complications and is rarely accompanied by fever. shifanews

SN: How can we prevent them? shifanews

Getting flu vaccination before winters can provide protection against the disease. Individuals living in cold regions or areas with high incidence of allergy are specially advised to take the jab. Eat vegetables and fruits to get adequate amount of Vitamin C. Supplements are not an alternate of natural sources but can increase immunity. Wear warm clothes and consume hot drinks. Also avoid cold and sour foods to prevent sore throat. sni

SN: What are the complications of flu? shifanews

Untreated flu can lead to ear infection. In adults it can cause asthma, laryngitis (irritation and swelling of vocal cords) and bronchitis (infection of airways to lungs) etcetera. shifanews

SN: How can wet hair cause cold? shifanews

Wet hair or body has water drops. When an individual is exposed to air or cold temperature the water evaporates. This lowers the body temperature and causes cold and shivering. If immunity is low, it can lead to flu and fever too. That is why it is important to take precautions. shifanews

SN: Can chicken soup and joshanda speedup recovery from cold? shifanews

Yes, they can help counter cold. Chicken soup can increase immunity as well. shifanews

SN: What is the recommended age for flu vaccine? Also why do some fall ill after vaccination? shifanews

Anyone aged two years and above should get annual vaccination. More than 50 percent people go unaffected but some show side effects. Pain at the area of injection, mild fever and body aches are common ones. They vary individually and usually go away within a day or two. sni

SN: Is it alright to get vaccinated if an individual is sick or already has had flu? shifanews

Vaccination should be avoided during flu. However once recovered, get it immediately. Vaccine helps build immunity against flu to prevent recurrence. shifanews

SN: What are sinuses? shifanews

Sinuses are hollow tube like interconnected spaces between facial bones. They are located in upper area of nose, behind cheeks, between eyes and in forehead. Thin mucous produced in them moistens nasal passage. If water or mucus gets trapped in these areas, it can lead to headache and eye ache. Whereas increased quantity of the secretions can lead to runny nose. shifanews

SN: What is sinusitis? shifanews

Inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining of sinuses is called sinusitis. Nasal polyps, seasonal allergies, deviated septum, recurrent cold and flu are some common causes. shifanews

SN: How can one treat mild sinusitis at home? shifanews

Anti-allergic medicine and decongestant sprays allow the trapped mucus in sinuses to drain. Use a vaporizer, inhale steam and drink plenty of fluids to keep secretions thin. Apply heating pads on nose to ease pain. shifanews

SN: How beneficial is steam inhalation? shifanews

Steam inhalation is very effective. It reduces swelling of nasal tissues, clears up congestion and mucus stuck in the nasal passage. It aids normal breathing and settles enlarged turbinates (structures inside nose). However, do not get too close to the water. It can burn your face and open skin pores. shifanews

SN: Is saline water effective for keeping nasal passage clean? shifanews

Yes, it opens blocked nose, washes out thick and dry mucus and allows it to flow smoothly. Adults can pour the solution into one nostril and release it from the other. Children can gargle with it or simply use saline drops. shifanews

SN: What is the difference between flu and allergy? shifanews

Flu is caused by a virus. Allergy is the body’s response to irritants like dust, pollen, perfume, cigarette smoke and food etcetera. These pollutants or stimulants cause irritation in the nose and trigger production of nasal discharge. Hence signs like sneezing and runny nose appear until particles are eliminated. shifanews

SN: Why are ear infections more common in children than adults? shifanews

Ear infection spreads through the eustachian tube which connects the ear and throat. In children it is positioned horizontally, has small size and stays open all the time. Thus secretions can easily reach middle ear and cause infection. Contrastingly, adults have long and vertically placed tube which stays closed. This makes them less vulnerable to infections. shifanews

SN: What can be done to reduce its risk? shifanews

Flu, tonsillitis and sinus infection in children can easily spread to the ear. Take precautionary and preventive measures to protect yourself.sni

SN: What is the difference between ear infection and earache? shifanews

Pain due to infection comes with other signs. For example, ear drum appears bulging and red. Discharge can be seen coming out of ear too. Whereas non-infective pain can be due to cold temperature, ear wax pressure, water which causes fungus and blocking of eustachian tube. Cover your head with warm cap to reduce cold induced ear pain. shifanews

SN: Why does sleeping in the same position cause ear pain? shifanews

Firstly, the ear might have hard wax in it which when pressed causes pressure on internal parts of the ear and ultimately pain.  Secondly, pressing of the pinna (outer ear) can also cause the pain. shifanews

SN: Can home remedies upset the ear? shifanews

Remedies like putting different types of oils and ginger/ garlic water etcetera in the ear have no scientific evidence. They can damage ear drum by creating a hole in it. Avoid them to prevent temporary or permanent hearing loss. shifanews

SN What problems can prolonged use of earphones cause? shifanews

Earphones release electromagnetic waves. When they strike the ear drum, electric current is produced. Long term use of ear phones, deliberately listening to loud music or sudden high pitched sound can tear the ear drum and cause permanent loss of hearing. shifanews

SN: How can one differentiate between viral and bacterial infection? shifanews

Viral infections are more common than bacterial ones. In viral infections, nasal discharge is watery and thin. These usually settle within seven to eight days and do not require any antibiotic. In bacterial infections, secretions have foul smell, green or dark yellow color and are comparatively thick. Patients need antibiotic to recover from them. shifanews

SN: What causes foul smell from nose? shifanews

There can be various reasons. It results from rotting foreign body in the nose. In case of chronic sinusitis, secretions often stay in for a long time and cause foul smell. Smell center is located on top of the nose and sinuses are attached to it so this leads to smell from the nose. In corona patients if this center is damaged, sense of smell is either lost or becomes hyperactive. shifanews

SN: Why does mucus get stuck in the throat? shifanews

Thick nasal secretions instead of draining out of the nose sometimes fall back into the throat. These stick to the lining of throat and are not swallowed easily. It is common in those suffering from sinusitis and post-nasal drip. A person feels irritated and continuously tries to swallow the mucus. It affects allergy sensitive individuals too. To prevent it one should stay away from allergy triggers and take medicine to reduce the irritation. Steam inhalation and gargles with lukewarm water mixed in any mouthwash can provide ease too. shifanews

SN: Tonsillitis is commonly known as children’s disease. Yet why do some adults complain about it? shifanews

Tonsils are two oval-shaped soft tissues located at the back of the throat. Being part of immune system they fight germs in the mouth. Their inflammation is called tonsillitis. It is more common in children because the role of tonsils is reduced after puberty in adults. Tonsils causing complications like sleep apnea and difficulty swallowing are removed surgically. Children who have sore throat with recurrent high fever (more than five times a year) also need surgery. shifanews

SN: How can we maintain ENT health in winters? shifanews

International statistics reveal that yearly death rate due to influenza virus is equal to deaths due to corona. So, everybody must get annual flu vaccination. Older adults and those with low immunity should get pneumonia vaccine too. It is given once in a lifetime. Maintain good personal hygiene and keep yourself warm with proper clothing. Also, do not allow cold and flu to prolong. shifanews

effect of earphones on ears, benefit of steam inhalation, is joshanda beneficial in flu and cold 

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