There are many conditions that can affect the ears, nose and throat, and these conditions are known as ENT disorders. Fortunately, many of them can be prevented. We review how below.
Preventing Ear Infections
You can experience a middle ear infection if the Eustachian tubes – the passageways between the middle ear and back of the throat – become inflamed, causing fluid to become trapped. After bathing or swimming, you can also experience an outer ear infection if water becomes trapped in your ear canal. Fortunately, you can prevent these types of ear infections by:
- Washing your hands frequently to prevent illness that can cause inflammation of the Eustachian tubes.
- Managing allergies that can cause inflammation by practicing avoidance of known allergens, taking medication or undergoing immunotherapy.
- Avoiding cigarette smoke, which can also cause inflammation.
- Drying the ear canals after swimming by tipping your head to let water drain out or using a hair dryer on the lowest, coolest setting.
Preventing Sinus Infections
The sinuses are hollow, mucus-lined pockets in the face located behind the cheeks, nose and forehead. If they become inflamed, mucus can pool in the sinuses, causing pressure and pain. Prevent a sinus infection by:
- Washing hands and staying away from people who are sick.
- Managing allergies with the methods listed above.
- Using a saline nasal spray or rinse with a Neti pot when you are ill.
- Avoid flying if you have a cold or other upper respiratory tract infection.
Preventing Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder where the soft tissues in the mouth and throat collapse into the airway, causing pauses in breathing during sleep. There are a number of risk factors for OSA that can be modified to help prevent the condition, including:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bedtime.
- Seeing a doctor for enlarged tonsils, nasal polyps and other obstructions.
- Quitting smoking.
For more information about how to prevent these and other ENT disorders or to schedule an appointment with an expert ENT physician, call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today.