Making time for regular medical checkups is important in the early detection of some diseases and ailments.  Preventative measures may reduce the likelihood of an ailment progressing into something worse.  Taking into consideration factors that may seem trivial, however, it may show something more serious.  Seeing a regular doctor and your allergist annually are collectively important to your health and early detection of diseases.  Here are some symptoms to know of; however, it is best to schedule a check-up with your doctor at least once a year.

  • Constant headaches
  • Mucus that is discolored, green or brown.
  • A cough that will not go away.
  • Tightness in your chest that keeps you from breathing normally.

Symptoms to Not Ignore

When allergy season strikes, there are other symptoms aside from sneezing and watery eyes.  Some individuals may develop headaches and mucus that is discolored.  The headaches may recur with minimal breaks.  Weather changes can contribute to the condition; However, a headache that is severe may be a migraine from allergies or another underlying cause.  Here are just a few causes of an ongoing headache that should not be ignored:

  • Sinus Infection
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Vision changes that require checking
  • Injury
  • Neck/back problems
  • Lack of sleep
  • Conditions relating to blood pressure

Coughing to clear your throat doesn’t seem to be any real problem.  However, if the coughing is persistent, this could be a sign of asthma, the flu, or another allergy that may not be diagnosed.  If you have a persistent cough that does not go away within 7-10 days, it may be time to call your doctor.

If your chest feels tight, or you wake up unable to get the air you need to rest comfortably this can represent something very serious beyond asthma or other breathing related problems.  A tightened chest particularly at night, can point to heart trouble and possibly other related ailments.

If your vision is getting worse, there are many possibilities associated with that.  Things from diabetes, an injury, cataracts, and just being tired can cause compromised vision. Make sure to get a good night’s rest and have your eyes checked.

Developing a Relationship with Your Doctor

By seeing your doctor regularly, you are setting yourself up for better communication and relationships with your care provider.  Here are some other reasons to keep seeing your health care provider regularly.

  • Continuity of your medical records.
  • Personalized relationships with your care providers.
  • More focused treatment plans.


Annual Check-ups

Seeing your doctor for regular medical checkups, at least once a year gives them the opportunity to identify anything going on that you may be unaware of.  By doing so, will set you up for success in treating any ailment that may result from something you were unaware of.  Things such as checkups for your eyes and teeth are also just as important.  Making a handful of appointments over the course of a year will put you in the driver’s seat with a personal relationship and continuity with your health care providers.


Ear nose and throat doctors are just as important to babies and children as they are to adults. ENTs treat a range of symptoms from the shoulder to the neck, ears, throat, and head. Most of us have suffered a cold, a sinus infection, or a runny nose. These symptoms do not warrant a trip to the ENT. However, if your child is suffering from a chronic runny nose, sneezing, chronic ear infections, or if the symptoms have persisted for a long time there could be an underlying condition.

ENTs specialize in surgical procedures that ease your child’s allergy and sinus-related symptoms. By catching these symptoms early, you may help your child avoid the constant use of antibiotics and potential hearing loss from recurrent ear infections.

Here is a list of some conditions they treat:

  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Throat
  • Head / neck/thyroid
  • Sleep
  • Birth Defects of the Head and Neck


They often check newborns before the hospital releases them to go home.  If your infant is suffering any kind of hearing problem, often it is an ENT that they will refer you to. A toddler or infant who has recurring ear infections, they can identify the causes and suggest alternatives such as tubal litigation. If there has been any hearing loss, the doctor can also help with hearing aids.


Does your baby always have a runny nose?  Is your baby fussy much of the time? ENTs can diagnose the cause of the continual drainage. This could be more than just a runny nose or a cold; it can be an allergic reaction to the environment such as dust, pollen or dust mites.  It could also be a sinus infection.


ENTs treat symptoms of throat problems. They can diagnose problems with tonsils and adenoids. This can include sore throat tumors, acid reflux, also known as GERD, and they also treat other conditions associated with vocal cords.


Other treatments that ENTs offer is for Graves disease and anything related to neck swelling or enlargement.


Are you concerned that your little one is not sleeping because of any breathing issues?  They can also help with any kind of sleep problems that your infant or toddler are experiencing, such as snoring. It may seem cute to you that your little one snores but this is not considered normal from an infant or toddler.  If the snoring is persistent, reach out to your doctor.


 Plastic surgery is another treatment option they offer for birth defects, deformities, and cleft palates.

All About the Babies

There are many children each year who are diagnosed with recurring and constant ear infections that require further treatment, such as tubes. When a child is left untreated with a serious condition resulting from chronic ear and sinus infections, this can often lead to a developmental delay if there is an excess of fluid in the ear canal reducing your child’s ability to hear and communicate. If you suspect that your child is struggling to hear and has been treated for constant ear infections, reach out to your doctor.


The little balloon that is changing the lives of sinus suffers is a great alternative to otherwise more invasive procedures or suffering continued sinusitis symptoms. Since FDA approval of the procedure, doctors have used it to help sufferers of chronic sinusitis as opposed to surgery or other medications.  From 2011 to 2014, there has been a 59% increase in the procedure.  What exactly is this new alternative?  Are you a candidate?  Find out how you may remedy chronic sinusitis.

A balloon sinuplasty or known as DSP is a procedure where a small flexible balloon catheter opens up blocked sinus passageways. This facilitates drainage of the mucus that builds up from chronic sinusitis symptoms. Before balloon sinuplasty, all a person could rely on was a functional endoscopic sinus surgery or conventional medicines.  Despite this is still a successful procedure, many individuals hesitate to undergo invasive surgery of the sinuses. Today, another option using balloon sinuplasty is an effective and safe method for those who are suffering from sinusitis. It is non-surgical and minimally invasive, so there are fewer side effects reported.

Are You a Candidate?

If you are a long-term sufferer of chronic sinusitis, this may be the right procedure for you.  Here is a general list of symptoms of those who are candidates for BSP.

  • Recurrent sinus infections that do not heal with medication.
  • Headaches that are most often felt around your eyes.
  • If you suffer from chronic bad breath or if you have a foul taste in your mouth.
  • If you chronically have difficulty breathing through your nose.
  • Overall chronic nasal problems.

Balloon Sinuplasty

 Since this procedure is minimally invasive, it makes the process simpler than regular surgery.  Patients only have a small amount of downtime with a quick recovery.

  • Once the balloon is inserted, the doctor inflates the balloon and with this, it restructures the walls of the sinus passageway.
  • The procedure is also great at maintaining the integrity of a person’s sinus lining.
  • Recovery is simple and most patients can go home after just a few hours.

Balloon Sinuplasty is Clinically Safe and Effective

  • There is no cutting or incisions made, only minimally invasive.
  • Less pain, minimal bleeding and bruising.
  • Not as much swelling or risk of infection.
  • Most often, no tissue or bone removal is needed.
  • You may not need nasal packing.
  • In less time than traditional surgery, you can resume normal activities in just a couple of days.
  • Patients often report an overall improvement in wellbeing and a better quality of living.
  • Children may also be candidates.

If you are one of the 37 million people who suffer from chronic sinusitis with these symptoms, it may be time to call your doctor to discuss your treatment options. You don’t have to suffer in silence.  Reach out to your doctor and find out if the little balloon that is changing lives can change yours too.


Sinus pain can debilitate depending on how severe and how often a person is affected by sinus related health problems.  Sinus pain can be in your face, your temple, behind your eyes, and sometimes, pain can be felt in your upper jaw in the gum area.  Pressure and pain can cause vision-related problems and make daily activities trying.

Your sinuses are cavities of air located in different areas in your face.  Where are your sinus located?  Your maxillary sinuses are the largest and are near your cheekbones.  The low center of your forehead is where the frontal sinus is located and between your eyes are the ethmoid sinus.  In the bones behind your nose is the sphenoid sinus.

When the sinus region of the respiratory system is inflamed, it is called sinusitis.  Infection can also result in the inflammation from a virus, bacteria, or allergies.  A cold or viral infection can resolve on its own most times.  Other times, the cold can turn into a sinus infection from an overgrowth of bacteria.  If a bacterial infection causes inflammation, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics.  However, there are some stubborn cases of chronic sinusitis.  Don’t ignore sinus pain that goes on for several months.


When to call the doctor?

If sinusitis symptoms do not improve or worsen, you need to contact your doctor for:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Change in vision
  • Swollen eye socket
  • Neck stiffness
  • Severe sore throat
  • Yellow or green mucus and discharge.

Short-Term Remedies

There are some home remedies you can do to help relieve your short-term symptoms:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid dry environments
  • Keep a humidifier in your home to use when needed.
  • Stay hydrated.

Don’t Ignore Sinus Pain

If you are still suffering for longer than three months, you may have chronic sinusitis that will require more treatment from your doctor.  This chronic condition is still difficult to treat; However, there are some methods to help ease symptoms.   In severe cases left untreated, having an ongoing sinus infection can cause it to spread to the brain or eyes.  If an infection that goes undiagnosed or does not resolve on its own in the rear center of one’s head can spread to the brain leading to meningitis or brain abscess.

Other Causes

For some, sinus care is ongoing and not seasonally as it may be for others.  If your symptoms are every so often, here are some tips.

  • Have your allergies checked.
  • If 10 days pass and you still have sinus-related symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor and let them swab the inside of your nose to make sure there isn’t a bacterial infection.
  • Over-the-counter medicines such as Mucinex may help.
  • Check into nose sprays.

If you are suffering from chronic sinus pain, do not ignore it.  Reach out to your doctor to make sure that there are no other underlying causes of your condition.  If allergies are the main culprit, discuss this and find out what other treatment options are available to you.



The spring is something many people look forward to while it sends others running away because of allergic reactions to the pollen in the air during allergy season.  When an allergy sufferer braves the pollen-filled landscape, they may sneeze, have a runny nose, itchy eyes and feel exhausted if they are not prepared.  Some may struggle more in the fall and some all year long.  What are some simple things to remedy allergies?

Aside from following your doctor’s recommendations which may already include this list, try these remedies out and experiment.

  1. Use neti pots for sinuses
  2. Keep your windows closed on windy days.
  3. Use a prescription nose spray or saline rinse.
  4. Wash your face after you come in from being outside.
  5. Eat foods high in vitamin C.
  6. Change your air filter frequently.
  7. Use a pillow casing for allergies.
  8. Wash your clothes in hot water that have been exposed to potential allergens (hats, coats, jackets, etc.)
  9. Try to avoid going outside in the morning when pollen is higher.
  10. Vacuum regularly and use a HEPA filter.

As simple as these steps seem, it is amazing how simple lifestyle changes can alter your state of living.  You can order or shop for neti pots and saline.  In addition, there are other retailers to purchase pillowcase covers and air filters.

Allergy Maintenance Is Ongoing

  • Eating a healthy diet that includes a lot of Vitamin C is important in combating the body’s reactions to allergens in your body.
  • How many times have felt tired on days where your allergies are flared?  Your body is responding to those allergens and your adrenal glands need all the help they can get.  On those days where your allergies are getting you down, remember to take your multivitamin that includes vitamin C.
  • When you lay down at night to go to sleep, do you give your pillow any consideration it may harbor tons of allergens? Dust mites, pollen from the outside you carried in with your hair.  Dust itself?  If your pillow is damp from sweat or anything else.  There could be mold.  Even washing your pillow may not be enough.  Having a case that zips closed around your pillow will help keep those pesky allergens at bay.

Breeze Through Allergy Season

There are ways your doctor can help you. If you have tried several methods and have not talked to your doctor, there are things they can do to help.

  • Prescription nose sprays
  • Decongestants
  • Oral antihistamines
  • Allergy testing

If you are suffering from allergies and you feel you could use additional help, talk to your doctor.  Each person is unique and there may be other ways your doctor can help you feel better.  Don’t suffer, breeze through allergy season!


Cape Fear Otolaryngology is a state of the art practice specializing in ear, nose, and throat treatments for children, teens, and adults. Our practice was designed with patients in mind and our team of highly skilled physicians and staff look forward to serving you and your family.

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