Man sneezing from the flu

Maintain Healthy Sinuses

Cold and flu season peaks during the fall and winter months each year. It’s a time when a painful sore throat, heavy congestion and a headache can make it difficult to breathe, sleep or function normally. The result is that many of us stay away from work and family as we try to recuperate from a bout with the flu or a cold.

If you’re suffering from the flu, a cold, allergies or sinusitis, you’re not so worried about the actual reason for your sickness. You just want to get well.

Our Utah ENT doctors at the Ear, Nose and Throat Center in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah are ready to help and we can diagnose your flu or cold symptoms and help you recover. But there are a number of good habits people can follow that can help keep sinuses clear during cold and flu season. The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery recommends you follow these five tips to maintain sinus health.

We also recommend you get a flu shot each year.

Read: 5 Reasons to Get a Flu Shot Each Year

1. Drink Lots of Fluids

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to regularly drink fluids. You’ll stay hydrated and fluids can help ensure that your mucus or nasal discharges stays thin. Drinking fluids regularly also helps prevent congestion. The old guideline of 6-8 glasses of water each day can help your sinus health while it strengthens your immune system.

2. Use a Humidifier

A humidifier can help break down congestion by introducing moisture into your environment. Humidifiers are particularly helpful in arid states like Utah where the air is naturally dry and humidity is extremely low. And since most Utah homes are heated using forced-air furnaces that can also irritate your sinuses, you may soon find that using a humidifier in your bedroom each night can help you get more restful sleep (plus, your skin will become less dry–consider that a bonus).

3. Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol

You already know that smoking can quickly irritate the nose of the smoker as well as the people around the smoker. But you may not know that alcohol can cause nasal and sinus membranes to swell, which, in some cases, exposes them to irritation and infection. If you often find yourself congested, stop smoking and drinking alcohol and monitor your health. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.

Read: Ear, Nose and Throat Center Helps Utah Smokers Stop Smoking

4. Avoid Contact with Allergy Triggers

If you suffer from allergies, you need to avoid contact with those items that trigger allergy symptoms like a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat. If you can’t avoid these triggers, use over-the-counter allergy medicines to help control congestion.

Read: 5 Tips to Avoid Allergies in Utah

5. Use Nasal Sprays

Cold and flu season is one of the busiest travel times of the year. If you plan to fly, use a nasal spray decongestant before take-off. The nasal spray will help mucus drain naturally and you’ll avoid blockage of the sinuses.

The Ear, Nose and Throat Center specializes in diagnosing and treating sinus conditions, congestion, flu and cold symptoms. Contact us to set an appointment today.

 

man sleeping soundly after robotic sleep apnea surgery

Robotic Surgery for Sleep Apnea

Quick. Hold your breath for 10 seconds. Now breathe in. Hold your breath again for 20 seconds. Now breathe in. Repeat all night long.

That’s what it’s like for people with sleep apnea. Each night they go to sleep and often have no idea that they stop breathing multiple times each hour or, in really bad cases, multiple times each minute.

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder and a potentially life-threatening condition. Some physicians even refer to sleep apnea as the “silent killer.” Yet many people with sleep apnea are unaware they actually have sleep apnea. And that can lead to ongoing problems including elevated blood pressure, increased risk for stroke, headaches, chronic feelings of sleepiness, dizziness and irritability.

Fortunately, robotic surgery can help cure sleep apnea. Best of all, robotic sleep apnea surgery eliminates the need for a tracheotomy, which leaves a visible scar on the patient’s neck.

Ear, Nose and Throat Center Exclusively Offers Robotic Sleep Apnea Surgery

Recognizing the need for sleep apnea solutions, the Ear, Nose and Throat Center embraced robotic surgery and are the first to offer da Vinci robotic sleep apnea surgery for our patients in Utah and surrounding states. The robotic surgery is a proven approach that can actually cure sleep apnea and allow patients to breathe easily for the first time in years.

“The da Vinci Robotic Surgery system allows me to perform sleep apnea surgery with a great level of precision,” says Dr. Pramod Sharma, an ENT doctor with the Ear, Nose and Throat Center of Salt Lake City. “We can precisely repair throat tissue that may cause obstructive sleep apnea and eliminate sleep apnea completely without visible scarring.”

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue in the throat collapses during sleep and constricts the flow of air through the throat. In other words, sleep apnea sufferers are literally choking themselves each night. As a result, breathing starts and stops all night long.

“We’ve seen patients who stop breathing nearly once or twice every minute,” continues Dr. Sharma, “While others may sleep soundly for a few hours, then stop breathing for up to a minute or longer.”

Watch Video about Robotic Sleep Apnea Surgery

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center for Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Diagnosing sleep apnea is the first step. If you or a sleeping partner suspects you may have sleep apnea symptoms, we encourage you to visit an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to diagnose sleep apnea. Typically, diagnosis begins with an overnight sleep study where your sleeping patterns are closely monitored and observed. In many cases, it only takes a few minutes of sleep to recognize sleep apnea.

Read: How the ENT Center Diagnoses Sleep Apnea

Once your diagnosis is complete, we’ll explore your options, which may initially include a nighttime breathing machine known as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine or CPAP. This requires patients to wear a facemask that is connected to a tube and device that pumps air into your nose and mouth. We may also explore robotic sleep apnea surgery, if necessary.

Read: How the ENT Center Treats Sleep Apnea

Most important, understand that sleep apnea is a serious condition but a condition that can be cured through robotic surgery or other methods.