If your child’s tonsils are unusually swollen, minus any other sign of illness, it could be a sign of chronically enlarged tonsils, also known as tonsillitis. The problems associated with enlarged tonsils and adenoids (pharyngeal tonsils) can be prevented by timely intervention by an otolaryngologist. The Plymouth Ears Nose & Throat team has over thirty years of experience dealing with pediatric otolaryngology problems, including chronically enlarged tonsils and adenoids. It’s important to know the difference between healthy and swollen tonsils, the complications of chronically enlarged tonsils, and what can be done to ease your child’s suffering.
Complications of Chronically Enlarged Tonsils
Normal, healthy tonsils are small, rounded lumps at the back of the throat that cause no interference with daily life. Tonsils begin to cause problems when they become infected, enlarged, and obstruct the airway, causing breathing difficulty during both day and night. Untreated infections of tonsilsmay lead to complications like rheumatic fever, post streptococcal glomerulonephritis, Scarlet fever, peritonsillar abscesses, and deep neck abscesses.
Criteria for Surgery
Aside from tonsils that have enlarged to the point of obstructing the airways, there are a few other pieces of criteria to consider before proceeding with a tonsillectomy:
Developing a severe sore throat several times in one year.
Throat infection is severe enough to cause an abscess of pus and swelling behind the tonsils.
Antibiotics do not help to cure tonsillitis.
When surgical intervention is necessary, safe and reliable techniques delivered in the proper controlled setting are employed to minimize patient and parental anxiety. If your child has been experiencing enlarged tonsils, we are happy to help you set up an appointment and discuss further options with you. We can be reached at 508-746-8977.
When the winter months roll in, most people contribute sniffing, sneezing, and coughing to the common cold. After all, the winter means we get a break from allergies, right?
While the cold months give you relief from the allergens outside, the allergens inside could be eliciting the same response you have during the spring. More time spent inside means an increased exposure to commonhousehold allergens like mold, dust, and pet dander.
Is it allergies or a cold?
So, how do you tell if it’s allergies or a cold? Both share similar symptoms, like coughing, runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes, but the difference is the duration and severity. A cold typically runs its course in under 10 days, while allergies can be continuous. Not to mention, a viral illness like the common cold usually comes with more physical symptoms, like fever, aches, malaise, and chills. An allergic response to household elements can certainly disrupt daily life, but won’t illicit the run-down feeling you get with a cold.
What can you do to minimize indoor allergies? Here are a few small steps that have a big impact:
Vacuum frequently, especially carpeted areas and upholstered furniture.
Wash bedding and linens in hot water to eliminate dust mites.
Consider investing in a HEPA air filter, especially for rooms you spend considerable time, like your bedroom.
The Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat team is here to help alleviate your allergies, regardless of the season. Please call us at 508-746-8977 to schedule an appointment today!
Problems with sleep affect tens of millions of Americans, and often this can be due to undiagnosed sleep apnea. This condition causes you to pause in your breathing too many times each night. Sleep apnea can become more common as people age and especially affects men in their 40’s and older.
In fact, more than 50% of individuals age 65 and older have some form of sleep-related issues. There are many things that can contribute to sleep apnea too, including tobacco usage, carrying extra weight and drinking too much alcohol. some form of sleep-related concerns.
Fortunately, individuals on Medicare can take advantage of benefits that will help to pay for the diagnosis of sleep apnea as well as treatment. You are eligible for Medicare at age 65, and some younger people can also qualify after two years of being on Social Security disability.
Let’s review how Medicare pays for treatment of sleep apnea.
Your Traditional Medicare Benefits
Medicare has two parts that pay for hospital and outpatient benefits. Medicare Part A provides for inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing and hospice care. We like to think of it as the part of Medicare that pays for your room and board in the hospital.
Part B covers outpatient medical services such as appointments with your physicians, lab testing, diagnostic imaging, emergency services, durable medical equipment and much more
Most care for sleep apnea will be provided by Part B. Your Part B benefits cover 80% of the costs of all covered outpatient care.
If your doctor suspects that you have sleep apnea, he may decide that you need a sleep study, and this is covered by Medicare. To qualify for Medicare Part B coverage, you must undergo a Type 1 sleep study, also called a polysomnogram, which is performed at a certified lab facility. There you will be monitored for clinical signs of obstructive sleep apnea while you are sleeping.
Medicare may also cover a home sleep test. During home sleep tests, you will wear a type of monitor that records data. When you return the monitor to the lab, technicians will interpret the results and provide that data to your doctor.
So, what happens if you receive a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea? Well, Part B can cover either an oral appliance that helps to keep your airway open during your sleep. Your doctor will need to prescribe the oral appliance from an approved PDAC list. You will take your prescription to a Medicare- approved vendor that provides durable medical equipment.
Another type of treatment that Part B may cover is a three-month trial of CPAP therapy, or continuous positive airway pressure therapy. This includes the CPAP equipment and accessories that will help your doctor to determine how well you respond to treatment with a CPAP device.
There are specific requirements, so be sure to confirm your Medicare doctor and the sleep study clinic accept Medicare assignment.
Your Cost-Sharing for Sleep Treatment
We mentioned earlier that Part B only covers 80% of your outpatient medical expenses, so you should be prepared to pay for the other 20% coinsurance yourself.
In 2019, Part B also has a deductible of $185 which you must satisfy first before Medicare begins to pay its 80%.
Many beneficiaries enroll in Medicare supplemental coverage to help them with their share of costs. Medicare supplements can help you pay your deductibles and the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover.
One great thing about Medicare supplements is that they allow you to see any doctor anywhere in the nation who accepts Medicare. No matter which insurance company you purchase your policy from, you can rest assured that any Medicare provider will accept the coverage.
Sometimes your physician may also prescribe mediations to help you sleep. Medications are covered under Medicare Part D drug plans. You can enroll in one of these voluntary prescription drug programs to help you reduce the costs of your various medications.
Some Medicare beneficiaries choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan instead of Original Medicare and a Medicare supplement. Advantage plans are private insurance plans that pay instead of Original Medicare. These plans have networks, so you’ll need to check to confirm your providers are in the network before you participate in any treatment. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll also want to use the plans’ approved DME providers when ordering your sleep oral appliance or any CPAP devices and supplies. you’ll need to use the durable medical equipment vendors in their network to order your oral appliance or CPAP machine.
Danielle Roberts is a Medicare insurance expert based in Fort Worth, TX, where she and her team help new beneficiaries navigate Medicare in 47 states.
Unfortunately, cancer is a disease that most people have been affected by, either directly or indirectly. Oral cancer, including cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, sinuses, and throat, can be life threatening if left undiagnosed or untreated. Men, especially over the age of fifty, are at the greatest risk for developing oral cancer. And those with a history of smoking, long-term and excessive alcohol consumption, a family history of cancer, or long-term sun exposure, are most at risk. However, approximately twenty-five percent of oral cancer sufferers are non-smokers and casual drinkers.
Below are some of the most common symptoms of oral cancer:
Mouth sores and/or mouth pain that persists
Mouth sores that bleed easily and do not heal
Difficulty swallowing or chewing
A lump in the cheek or the neck
White or red patches on the gums, tonsils, tongue, or inside of the mouth
Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
Sudden and noticeable weight loss
Voice changes, hoarseness, or a chronic sore throat
Pain in the teeth or jaw
A feeling like something is caught in the back of the throat
To help prevent oral cancer, we suggest avoiding smoking, the use of tobacco products, and binge drinking. Also, be sure to use sunscreen lotions on your skin as well as on your lips and to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat is happy to help you with your concerns regarding head and neck cancer. Please give us a call at 508-746-8977 to schedule an appointment!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The office is full of fun holiday food, the party invitations are flowing in, and sweet temptations seem to be found around every corner. For most people, the holiday season offers up opportunities to indulge a little and try some new foods and desserts. However, navigating this time of year can be tricky for adults and children with food allergies.
Follow these simple steps to help you steer clear of allergens during the holidays:
Educate those around you. If you work in an office, let your coworkers know about your allergy and ask them to bring in treats and food that don’t contain that particular ingredient. Do the same before attending a party at someone’s home so they can pay careful attention to the food that will be served and avoid cross contamination.
Don’t be afraid to bring your own food and snacks for yourself or your child. Or, offer to bring along a couple of dishes to share with others at the party that are safe for you to eat. Your host will be grateful for the extra hand!
If you’retraveling a far distance over the holidays, purchase allergen free snacks and ingredients ahead of time. Pack them along in your checked luggage, in the trunk of the care, or have them shipped ahead of time.
If you’re hosting, ask that guests bring non-food items such as flowers, paper goods, and beverages. You can also request that guests bring canned goods to donate to a local food pantry in lieu of side dishes and desserts.
Check labels! Ask others to hold onto food labels of store-bought foods for you to take a look at. Allergens can often be found in foods that you wouldn’t expect and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat is happy to help you with your allergy related concerns. Please give us a call at 508-746-8977 to schedule an appointment!
Feeling dizzy or momentarily losing your balance is something that most people have experienced at some point in time. Those who have can recall the sensation of falling or lacking control and stability. Imagine, then, what it must feel like to suffer from a balance disorder on a semi-regular or regular basis. Symptoms of a balance disorder include: dizziness, vertigo, staggering while walking, lightheadedness, faintness, a floating sensation, blurred vision, confusion, and disorientation. There are many different types of balance disorders, below we explain some of the most common:
Types of Balance Disorders
1. Vertigo. A specific change in the position of your head may trigger an episode of vertigo, or an intense feeling of spinning. Vertigo may be brought on by conditions that affect the inner ear as well as from a head injury.
2. Labyrinthitis. A cold or flu virus can infect the deep channels in your ear, where there is a lot of fluid, and cause swelling. This swelling causes confusion to the brain and results in vertigo and, in some cases, vomiting, and tinnitus.
3. Vestibular Neuronitis. This disorder occurs when a virus causes the vestibular nerve that connects your inner ear and your brain to swell. Dizziness, unsteadiness, and nausea are symptoms of vestibular neuronitis.
4. Meniere’s Disease. The causes of Meniere’s Disease are unknown, but the condition will bring on lengthy episodes of vertigo, nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, tinnitus, and pressure in the ear.
5. Perilymph Fistula. PLF is caused by a tear in tissue, possibly from head injuries, extreme changes in air pressure, and chronic ear infections, that results in inner ear fluid leaking into the middle ear. Balance problems, sensitivity to loud noises, and ear ringing can be a result. Surgery may be needed.
6. Vestibular Migraines. Vestibular migraines occur when certain foods, stress, and other migraine causes inflame the vestibular nerve. Sufferers may experience dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and ringing in the ears.
If you suspect you may be living with a balance disorder, please call Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat at 508-746-8977 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.
Approximately one in every thirteen children is currently living with some type of food allergy. Managinga food allergy can be quite frustrating for a child and his or her caregivers, especially during holidays. With Halloween around the corner, kids have more exposure than normal to foods and candy that can trigger an allergic reaction. Milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts are the most common allergens for kids, and peanuts and tree nuts cause the most severe reactions. Unfortunately, these ingredients are often found in the sweets that are handed out during trick or treating. Follow the below tips for receiving and handing out candy this Halloween.
Trick or Treating Tips
1. Know your allergy free treats. Candies like Skittles, Starburst, Life Savers, and Sour Patch Kids are safe choices. Do a quick search online for lists of other allergen free candies like the one we found here.
2. Read food labels/ingredients. Companies must list the major allergens contained in their product on the packaging. Even foods that may contain traces of allergens can be very dangerous.
3. Be wary of mini-sized candies. The smaller versions of some popular treats are sometimes produced in different factories than the regular sizes. Therefore, the mini-sized versions may be made in factories that contain allergens even if the full-sized ones aren’t.
4. No eating while trick or treating is a great rule of thumb for kids with food allergies!
5. Carry your medication or epi-pen. It is best to be prepared in the event that your child accidentally ingests something that he or she is allergic to.
6. Hand out non-food treats like bubbles, stickers, or small trinkets to avoid any issues. Even if you prefer to hand out candy, have some of these other options on hand in case a child with an allergy does ring your doorbell.
7. Look out for homes with a teal pumpkin on the doorstep. These homes are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project and will offer non-food treats on Halloween night.
We hope your Halloween is full of fun and laughter! Please do not hesitate to call us with any of your food allergy questions or concerns at 508-746-8977.
With fall on the horizon, most New Englanders are anticipating cooler weather, football season, and foliage. However, seasonal allergy sufferers may be less than enthusiastic about the coming change in seasons and temperature. Fall allergens, such as ragweed, mold spores, and dust, affect approximately thirty-five million Americans and can persist until the first frost. In addition to taking allergy medication and consulting a doctor, there are ways to protect your home against these allergens in an attempt to make it more comfortable during the fall season.
Allergy-Proof Your Home
1. Keep your windows closed to keep pollen from getting inside. Throwing the windows open as the days and nights get cooler is tempting, but consider using a fan or your air conditioner instead.
2. Protect your clothing against pollen by changing and washing them after spending time outdoors. Also, refrain from hanging clothes on an outdoor clothesline. Make sure to shower as well!
3. Change the air filters in your air conditioners and furnace to remove dust and allergens. For those with intense allergies, it may be beneficial to do this every six to eight weeks.
4. Use hypoallergenic bedding and wash your bedding on a regular basis. Don’t forget to also clean decorative pillows and curtains as well.
5. Clean and dust using nontoxic cleansers and use a damp cloth instead of a feather duster, which can just move dust and allergens around the house rather than removing them.
6. Vacuum regularly using a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. A HEPA filter will pick up small particles and allergens that vacuums without one may leave behind.
7. Bathe your pets on a weekly basis to eliminate allergens that may be clinging to their fur.
Whether you’re a longtime allergy sufferer or have developed allergies in recent years, Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat is here to help. Please call us at 508-746-8977 to schedule your appointment today!
The thin wall, or nasal septum, between your nasal passages is primarily made up of bone and cartilage. A deviated septum occurs when the nasal septum is crooked or off center and causes one nasal passage to be significantly smaller than the other. Often times, people are born with a deviated symptom but, in some cases, it can be developed after an injury to the nose. This condition can make breathing difficult and cause many other symptoms. Read on to find out more:
Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
In many cases, those with a deviated septum won’t even know they have one and will not experience any noticeable symptoms. In more severe cases, one may experience some or many of the following symptoms.
1. Nosebleeds caused by a dry nasal septum.
2. Obstruction of the nostrils may be an issue on a daily basis and can be exacerbated by a cold or allergies.
3. Heavy breathing or snoring due to the reduced size of one or both airways.
4. Facial pain that is felt on one specific side of the face may be caused by a deviated septum.
5. Difficulty sleeping due to obstructed nostrils. One may prefer sleeping on a specific side of the body to make breathing easier. Sleep apneamay be another side effect of a deviated symptom.
6. Recurring sinus infections from postnasal drip.
If you suspect you may be suffering from a deviated septum, we recommend consulting with your doctor to explore treatment options. In some cases, medicine may provide relief. However, in a more severe case, a septoplasty may be necessary. Your doctor can provide useful information and help you develop an appropriate plan of action.
Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat is here to help! Please call us at 508-746-8977 to schedule your appointmenttoday.
Summer is in full effect here in New England, but for those suffering from a grass allergy, the summer might be more troublesome than fun. Wind can carry grass pollen for miles and even a small amount can cause a reaction. A grass allergy is typically worse on dry and sunny days.
Grass Allergy Symptoms
People that are allergic to the microscopic pollen that comes from many types grass may experience bothersome symptoms including: runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, allergic rhinitis, asthma, and a cough. In some cases, a rash may appear after exposure and sufferers may experience itching, hives, and eczema.
If you suspect that you may be allergic to grass, we recommend getting tested to be sure. In the meantime, the following tips will help to manage your grass allergy symptoms. These tips will also help to alleviate the symptoms of general summertime allergies.
How to Manage Your Grass Allergy
1. Leave the lawnmowing up to a spouse, teenager or friendly neighbor. If none of those are options, take an antihistamine before firing up the mower
2. Keep your lawn short to prevent it from pollinating
3. Keep your house windows closed as much as possible. Consider using air conditioning on hot days rather than throwing the windows open
4. Change and wash your clothes after spending time outdoors
5. Pay attention to pollen counts and avoid the outdoors on days that counts are high
Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat is here to help! We can help to get to the cause of your allergy symptoms and create a plan of attack. Please call us at 508-746-8977 to schedule your appointment today.