Learn more about nosebleeds, why they happen and how you can handle them the next time they happen to you.
It can be rather startling when you notice blood dripping from your nose. While most people will experience a nosebleed at some point in their lifetime, they are often most common in children and adults between the ages of 50 to 80 years old. Of course, where the bleeding is coming from will tell us what kind of nosebleed it actually is.
What is an anterior nosebleed?
The majority of nosebleeds start at the septum, which is the wall that separates your nostrils. The septum is full of blood vessels, which can easily be broken just by simple everyday habits like blowing your nose. If a blood vessel bursts in the nose this leads to a nosebleed. An anterior nosebleed occurs in the front of the nose and is characterized by bleeding from one nostril (this is the most common type of nosebleed).
Why do they happen?
An anterior nosebleed is most common during the dry winter months, particularly if you have indoor heating, as it can dry out the nasal passages. Those who live in dry environments are also more prone to nosebleeds. If you find that these drier climates do increase your risk of nosebleeds you can always apply a small amount of petroleum jelly onto a Q-tip and carefully apply it to the inside of the nose and the septum to keep the nasal membranes hydrated.
Is there a way to stop an anterior nosebleed?
If you experience a nosebleed you may feel a bit panicked but it’s nothing to worry about. They often go away on their own but there are certainly things you can do to help reduce or even stop your nosebleed.
When to seek medical attention?
Most nosebleeds aren’t serious and won’t require care; however, if the bleeding is severe or the result of an injury, if the bleeding hasn’t stopped after following the steps above, or if you are experiencing other symptoms like chest pain then you need to get medical care as soon as possible.
What can I do to stop the bleeding?
The first thing you will want to do is sit up and lean forward so the blood won’t drain into the throat. Blow your nose to remove any clots that may have developed. While you may have heard to apply pressure to the bridge of the nose to stop bleeding, this actually won’t stop a nosebleed. Instead, pinch the soft parts of the nose, on both sides, to help lessen the bleeding.
If you are someone who suffers from frequent nosebleeds there might be a problem, so it’s better to play it safe rather than sorry and contact our otolaryngologist right away. We want to help put a stop to your nosebleeds!
While they tend to be most common in young children, ear infections can affect people of all ages. An ear infection can result from a number of causes, and treatment will depend on the severity, location, symptoms and source of the infection. Many ear infections respond to self care and clear up on their own, while others may require treatment and prescription medication from an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).
Treating an Ear Infection
The ear is made up of three parts - the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Infections usually develop in the middle ear and can be caused by either a virus, fungus or bacteria. An ENT will check for fluid buildup and determine whether it is a viral or bacterial infection, which helps to determine what the treatment will be. Viral middle ear infections generally clear up on their own over time, and symptoms can be managed with pain relievers like Advil. If the infection is caused by bacteria, an ENT may prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection and prevent the bacteria from proliferating. With severe fluid build up, the middle ear may have to be drained of the excess fluid in order to relieve pressure and allow air to flow through the ear.
Types of Ear Infections
In addition to viral and bacterial infections of the middle ear, another common type of ear infection is swimmer's ear, which affects the ear canal in the outer ear from excess water buildup which can lead to bacterial growth in the lining of the ear. Swimmer's ear (otitis externa) is usually treated with medicated drops. In rare cases, an ear infection can be caused by a fungal infection, in which case antifungal medications may be prescribed. Steroids are also sometimes used to help reduce inflammation.
Dizziness can result from a number of external factors, ranging from dehydration and hunger to severe anxiety and panic attacks. The false sensation of dizziness, which makes it feel like a person's surroundings are spinning when they are actually still, is known as vertigo. Because the inner ear helps to regulate balance, a problem or injury to the inner can interfere with the signals the brain receives regarding the body's location relative to its surroundings. This can cause a sense of extreme disorientation and dizziness, even when the person is standing completely still in the middle of an empty room. Problems with the ear are diagnosed and treated by an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).
Regular Dizziness or Vertigo? What You Need to Know
Everyone experiences a bout of dizziness from time to time, which is completely normal. Prolonged and frequent dizziness that is accompanied by other symptoms typically results from an underlying cause. An ENT can determine whether dizziness is caused by an injury or malfunction in the inner ear.
What Do the Ears Have to Do With Motion and Balance?
The human ear consists of three parts - the inner, middle and outer ear. The brain receives signals and input from the sensory system, which helps it to process information regarding a person's surroundings and fixed point in space in relation to gravity and motion. The inner ear contains sensors that work in conjunction with the eyes and sensory nerves to help the brain accurately process the signals and create a full picture detailing where we are at any given moment. A problem in the inner ear is like a short circuit that disturbs the brain's ability to accurately assess a person's surroundings, resulting in the feeling that the room or surrounding objects are spinning because the information the inner ear is sending the brain does not match with what the eyes and sensory nerves are processing.
What Causes Vertigo?
Infections and fluid buildup in the ear can cause vertigo and interfere with hearing. Migraine sufferers can also experience vertigo as part of their symptoms. The most common form of vertigo is caused by rapid head movements, like standing up too quickly from a seated position, or from trauma to the head. Contact an ENT specialist for persistent dizziness to determine whether treatment is necessary and to prevent complications like hearing impairment or loss.
An occasional sore throat from a bout with the flu, or an afternoon of enthusiastically cheering for a beloved team at a sporting event can happen to anyone. Small school-aged children, who are constantly exposed to germs and bacteria through their classmates, are more prone to suffer from chronic sore throats and inflammation of the tonsils (tonsillitis). Tonsillitis is a common childhood illness, and is generally rare in adulthood.
What Causes Tonsillitis?
Like colds and the flu, most cases of tonsillitis are caused by a viral infection. However, they can also be caused by bacteria. Viral and bacterial infections are treated differently, and therefore require diagnosis and treatment from an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Tonsillitis?
- Sore throat/pain and difficulty eating and swallowing
- Redness and swelling of the tonsils
- Tender and swollen glands
- White or yellow spots on the tongue or tonsils
- Bad breath
- Raspy voice
- Neck stiffness
- Drooling (when swallowing becomes too painful)
Parents should schedule an appointment with an ENT specialist if pain and symptoms do not improve in 24 - 48 hours.
How is Tonsillitis Treated?
Treatment depends on the source of the infection. If caused by a viral infection, treatment may be similar to a cold or flu with over the counter pain and fever medication and rest. If the source is a bacterial infection, an ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Every case should be evaluated and treated by an ear, nose and throat specialist to make sure that the infection clears up properly.
Will my Child Need to Have the Tonsils Removed (Tonsillectomy)?
Tonsillectomies are generally used as a last resort in rare cases where the condition has become chronic and does not respond to medication and conservative treatment.
Is Tonsillitis Preventable?
The same measures that protect children from cold and flu can be used to help reduce their chances of catching viral tonsillitis from a friend or classmate at school or in day care. Covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing, frequently washing the hands and avoiding close contact with sick classmates can help. Keeping children home from school or day care until they are feeling better can help reduce the spread of germs.
Dander is a common allergen made up of tiny flakes and particles of skin from common household pets like cats, dogs, birds and rodents. Dander is harmless to adults and children who do not suffer from allergies, however people who sneeze and become congested around certain animals might be allergic. Pet allergies can range from mild to severe, with treatment options ranging from over the counter antihistamines, to prescription medication from an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.
What You Need to Know About Dander and Pet Allergies
In addition to their skin, fur and feathers, animals like cats and dogs can also trigger allergic reactions in humans through proteins found in their saliva, urine and dried feces. So even the owner of a short haired or hairless cat may still experience an allergic reaction while cleaning out the cat litter or removing soiled newspaper from a dog's crate. Although many domestic animal breeds are marketed as non-allergenic alternatives, ENT specialists advise highly allergic adults or parents of children with allergies to exercise caution, given that allergens are not exclusive to fur and can still be found in the pet's saliva, regardless of their coat.
A few facts about dander and pet allergens according to the American Lung Association:
- Americans are more than twice as likely to report allergies to cats than to dogs
- Female cats produce more of the protein (Fel d I) associated with cat allergies in humans
- Pet allergens tend to remain airborne longer than dust mites and other sources, and can remain in the home for weeks and months at a time, even if the animal is removed
- Pet allergens travel easily through dust and on clothes, and can also be found in buildings and homes without pets
- Pet allergens can trigger asthma in people with the condition
Symptoms of pet allergies:
- Congestion and runny nose
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Rashes and skin irritation like eczema
- Difficulty breathing
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