Guidelines To Deal With ENT Ailments During The Monsoons
The monsoon brings with it two types of weather, wet and cold alternating with dry and humid. These conditions are ideal for the growth of mould, dust mites and bacteria. Bacteria cause bacterial infections while mould and dust mites cause fungal infections and seasonal allergies. There is also a lot of pollen in the air which lends itself to allergies with increased greenery. Also, viruses thrive in cool temperatures, as in the monsoons leading to viral infections.
ENT Ailments That Increase During The Rains
Ear – Fungal infections of the ear, pain and swelling in the ear due to expansion of wax in the ear when water enters, blockage of the ear due to common cold and flu and living creatures like mosquitoes and small insects which thrive during the monsoons.
Nose – Common cold, flu, sinusitis (infection of the air spaces in the head attached to the nose), allergic rhinitis (allergic colds) and infections of the hair follicles in the nose.
Throat – Infections of the throat and tonsils called pharyngitis and tonsillitis.
Chest – Infections of the airway and allergies (bronchitis) and lung infections (pneumonia).
Allergic rhinitis and sinusitis are conditions where patients experience a running nose, headaches and sometimes fever. The patients suffering from fungal infections of the ear, nose and sinuses have discharge from the nose or ear, sore throat and stomach ailments. Chest cough and sudden dry cough are indications of bronchitis and laryngitis. A hoarse voice is an indication of an Infection of the voice box (laryngitis). Pain in the throat and difficulty swallowing indicates tonsillitis and pharyngitis.
Severe pain in the ear and blockage could be an indication of wax or a fungal infection in the ear or infection of the middle ear behind the ear drum, called acute otitis media, Simple blockage of the ear without pain or fluid coming out may be a sign of allergic fluid in the middle ear called serous otitis media or wax swollen up due to moisture in the air. A sudden sharp pain in the ear with fluttering sounds or sensation of something moving may be an insect in the ear.
In the case of any symptoms in the ear, nose or throat, the first step is to visit an ENT surgeon for examination and diagnosis. Depending on the condition, the surgeon may ask you to do a hearing test and tests of pressure In the ears (audiometry) or x-rays or CT scans (for sinus and nose problems or chest infections ) or video endoscopy (video recording of the throat and voice box ) or a series of blood tests routinely, it there is severe infection.
In the case of infections your doctor may put you on antibiotics with painkillers and anti-allergic medication with or without nasal? ear drops may be required Severe infections may require hospital admission for treatment for a few days with injectable medications. In the case of foreign bodies in the ear or wax. removal of the same can be done at the first visit. The general dictum here, being that the longer you wait, the more complicated and expensive the treatment becomes.
Healthy Immunity Tips
- Drinking plenty of fluids, especially warm fluids like tea or coffee or broth/soups keeps airways moist and lowers infections
- Include in your diet immunity boosting foods like fresh vegetables and fruits after washing well.
- The other immune boosting foods are yoghurt, oats and barley, garlic, tea, chicken soup, sweet potatoes, cloves, ginger, black peppers, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, almonds, turmeric and green tea
- 15 minutes of brisk walking or aerobics a day, boosts immunity
- Get out in the sunlight whenever possible
- Manage sleep and stress levels by meditation, yoga and strict schedules
- Decrease smoking and alcohol consumption
- Eat regular balanced meals, a rough rule of thumb is, one-third vegetables one-third protein and one-third carbohydrates
Tips To Help Reduce ENT Problems
- Periodically wipe all surfaces which pick up dust and dirt
- Keep the environment at home clean
- Vacuum all fabrics, carpets upholstery and soft toys
- Don’t keep indoor plants during the monsoons
- Regularly clean fans and air conditioner filters
- Keep shoes and wet items outside or near a window to dry
- Avoid wearing damp clothes
- Use dryers to dry clothing and fabrics
- Wet walls and spots in the house should be treated to avoid mould and fungal growth
- Avoid contact or close proximity with people who are already infected with colds or sore throats
- Avoid contact with allergens like smoke, air fresheners, sprays and other substances that cause you to feel irritation in the throat
- Keep the ears dry, especially when bathing, fungi and bacteria trapped in the hair may enter the ear and cause infections
- Avoid using ear buds during the monsoon as this may introduce bacteria and fungi into the ear
- Do not put oils or other organic liquids into the ear as it forms a breeding ground for infections
- Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soaps before eating
- Swimming during the monsoon is to be done carefully, keeping the ears dry or drying the ear thoroughly afterwards
- Have your home fumigated, if black patches appear on the walls
- Maintain good ventilation in the home and your office
- Ensure adequate light, preferably sunlight enters your home
- Use air conditioners on dry mode to dehumidify the air or use dehumidifiers
- Keep washing machines and dryers open to allow them to dry after use