Summer and ENT woes | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 26, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:53 AM, June 04, 2015

Beauty Dissected

Summer and ENT woes

Summer, with the scorching heat, cloudy skies and sudden rains, is one of the most beautiful seasons of Bangladesh. Getting drenched in the rain especially after the scorching heat may be enjoyable for some, but for some it's a dreadful time. A few drops of rain can trigger bouts of sneezing and a runny nose and sore throat, which may keep going on for days.

I get a lot of patients suffering from these kinds of symptoms at this time of the year. Usually I find that they are suffering from Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. This is often due to allergic causes.

The rainy water, the damp weather, and the sudden heat - any of these can be a triggering factor. Usually if they take an anti-allergic drug the patient gets some relief but sometimes that is not enough.

Then the patient needs to consult with a specialist who will put them on decongestant drugs, nasal drops or sometimes steroid nasal sprays, depending on the condition of the patient. Some of these patients also have a blocked nose due to long term disease and the proper procedure is to treat this condition, otherwise the medication will not work properly.

The patient should also avoid all allergens that are the cause of the allergy. Usually the patient will be able to identify the factors. Patients suffering from allergic rhinitis for long time develop swollen turbinates (tissues inside the nasal wall) which causes blockage of the nose and makes breathing difficult for them. This also has to be treated to get good results.

If allergic rhinitis remains untreated for a long time the patient may develop sinusitis, headache, asthma and other complications. The patient's quality of life is decreased and sometimes they get very frustrated. Consulting with a specialist and getting proper treatment will definitely help the patient to lead a better life.

Itching ears is a die-hard habit for some patients. They have to put either cotton buds, sticks, feathers or even the corner of a cloth inside their ears and itch it. What these people don't know is that in this damp monsoon weather there is fungus growing every where. Hot and humid conditions are the best environment for fungus to grow. So, the cotton buds, sticks and other stuff all might be contaminated with fungal spores, and once you put it inside your ear it starts growing there.

The ears will itch vigorously for a day or two and then the patient complains of earache and a feeling of blockage. There may be discharge coming out of the ears. Due to the itching there may be infection in the ear wall (otitis externa) and this may spread to the ear drum.

Some people opt to treat themselves and will put mustard oil inside their ears, sometimes they even heat it up and put inside their ears. This does not help the condition but aggravates ir further. After consulting the specialist the patient will know that they have a fungal infection of the ear (otomycosis).

Usually there are fungal debris present inside the ear which needs to be cleaned before giving antifungal drops. If there is infection of the ear canal antibiotic drops may also be prescribed. The patient has to realise that if proper treatment is not given in time then this may cause the infection to spread and perforate the ear drum.

Along with the severe bouts of rains there is also a severe heat wave during this season which makes us feel like taking ice-cold water, ice-cream and cold juices.  Tonsillitis and pharyngitis is a common problem during this season. Because of the weather viruses become active and are a common problem during this time of year. 

Children and adults who have a low immunity are prone to be affected mostly by viral diseases. So, we see lots of cases of mumps, measles, and other viral infections. Sore throat and runny noses are usually added symptoms to these diseases.

Consulting with a speacialist and getting appropriate treatment is the best way to solve these problems.

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