A raging sore throat is winter's most common health complaint. Here at West Coast ENT Head and Neck Surgery in Simi Valley, Camarillo, Oxnard, and Thousand Oaks, CA, your team of seven ENT doctors see sore throats all the time. They'll uncover the cause of yours and give you the right treatment.
The causes of sore throats
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that the cold virus is the most frequent cause of sore throats. Additionally, tobacco usage, strep bacteria, mononucleosis, or the flu virus precipitate the scratchy feeling, painful swallowing, and hoarse voice that acutely affect both children and adults. Severe and persistent allergies, shouting, and environmental irritants such as outdoor pollution (car exhaust) may lead to painful throats, too.
Furthermore, there are some additional causes that may be more worrisome, and that's where the professional team here at our offices in Simi Valley, Camarillo, Oxnard, and Thousand Oaks, CA, come in. The CDC explains that sore throats which persist for more than seven days require medical evaluation, as do accompanying symptoms such as:
- Problems with swallowing and breathing
- Blood in saliva or phlegm
- Joint pain
- Skin rash
- A lump on the side of the neck
- Weight loss which cannot be explained
What you should do
If these severe symptoms arise, call a primary care physician here at West Coast ENT Head and Neck Surgery. You may need a strep culture test—a simple swabbing of the back of the throat that can confirm the presence of dangerous strep A bacteria. The doctor may prescribe antibiotic medication to quell a strep infection.
For concerns other than infectious disease, your ENT doctor may do an in-office examination with a lighted laryngoscope. This allows him to view the interior of the throat, including the vocal cords, and any structural abnormalities or tumors.
Sore throats can be more than annoying. They can be deceptive and even dangerous to your systemic health. If you have one which persists or seems unusual in intensity and length, please contact one of our four locations in Simi Valley, Camarillo, Oxnard, and Thousand Oaks, CA. Phone us at (805) 379-9646 to schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor today.
Do you have a thyroid problem? Over 20 million adults in the US do, according to the American Thyroid Association. Unfortunately, thyroid issues often go undetected or are mistaken for other problems, thus causing patients to not receive proper treatment. Here at West Coast ENT Head and Neck Surgery in Simi Valley, Camarillo, Oxnard, and Thousand Oaks, CA, your seven otolaryngologists treat hyper- and hypothyroidism as well as thyroid cancer. Get the best treatment, and feel better.
What is the thyroid?
We all have one. It's the butterfly- or H-shaped gland under your larynx, or voice box. Also called the master gland of the endocrine system, the thyroid regulates metabolism as well as many bodily functions, such as heart rate. While thyroid problems are very common, they also should be taken seriously. Even though the thyroid is prone to cancer, the biggest problem associated with this gland is hormonal insufficiency or overproduction.
The three hormones the thyroid secretes directly into the bloodstream are T3, T4, and calcitonin. Too much of any or all of these natural chemicals causes hyperthyroidism and too little results in hypothyroidism. Benign modules and large growths called goiters affect the thyroid, too.
Signs you may have a thyroid problem
Here at our offices in Simi Valley, Camarillo, Oxnard, and Thousand Oaks, CA, your doctor orders blood work for a suspected thyroid problem. They want to measure TSH levels--that is, thyroid-stimulating hormone--to determine if the gland is over- or underactive. Additionally, the doctor looks for bodily symptoms such as:
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Hair loss
- Swellings in the neck
- Trouble swallowing
Treating thyroid issues
Thyroid cancer usually involves surgery and follow-up radiation to destroy any residual tissue. Hyperthyroidism may involve prescription medication and or surgery to remove part of the gland. Hypothyroidism responds to a synthetic T4 mediation called Synthroid. Of course, your care plan will be individualized to the particulars of your case.
Your thyroid...your health
They go hand in hand. Be sure yours is OK. If you are experiencing symptoms you cannot explain, it may be time for a thyroid check. Contact West Coast ENT Head and Neck Surgery today. We have four locations to serve your needs: Simi Valley, Camarillo, Oxnard, and Thousand Oaks, CA. Phone the office team for an appointment: (805) 379-9646.
Is your baby fussy, crying, running a low-grade fever? Is your school-age child complaining of earache pain? These signs and more may indicate a middle ear infection. At West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat Head and Neck Surgery in Simi Valley, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Camarillo, our team of seven ENT doctors can help if your child is dealing with an ear infection.
What causes an ear infection?
It's a bacterial infection of the middle ear structure. Often involving fluid behind the ear drum, pain, drainage, and fever, otitis media plagues millions of American children annually, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. An ear infection may impact hearing.
Diagnosing and treating ear infections
At West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat Head and Neck Surgery, your otolaryngologist will inspect your child's ear canal and tympanic membrane (ear drum) with a lighted otoscope. The ear drum often appears bulging and dull because of bacteria-filled fluid behind the ear drum. The ear canal itself may look reddened and feel tender, too.
In addition, the physician will review symptoms and recommend a course of treatment--not only to cure the infection but also to help prevent re-occurrence. Often, young children experience repeat infections because of the horizontal orientations and short lengths of their eustachian tubes, the canals between the middle ear and throat, state experts at the Cleveland Clinic.
A care plan can include:
- Adequate hydration
- A course of antibiotics
- No smoking around the child
- Positioning a bottle-fed baby sitting up to promote drainage
A word on ear tubes...
Some children benefit from ventilation tubes installed in their ear drums to promote aeration and fluid drainage. Tiny and painless, ear tubes help kids who have infection after infection and can be a great alternative to repeat courses of antibiotics. Ask your ENT doctor if they are a good option for your child.
Yes, they can be part of childhood
However, ear infections should be taken seriously. If you suspect your youngster needs help keeping his or her ears infection-free, please contact West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat Head and Neck Surgery for a consultation with one of our caring doctors. We have locations in Simi Valley, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Camarillo. Call (805) 484-5929 for Camarillo, (805) 527-7320 for Simi Valley, (805) 379-9646 for Thousand Oaks, and (805) 983-0395 for Oxnard.
Is it an allergy or sinus trouble or both? For the most accurate therapies, consult West Coast ENT Head & Neck Surgery in Thousand Oaks. The team of seven otolaryngologists can differentiate between the conditions which cause your symptoms and get you the relief you deserve.
Which is it?
The American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy states that people who suffer with allergies, and the resulting overproduction of histamines, may also have sinus problems--repeat infections, structural problems, and continual inflammation. Additionally, one condition may be confused the other.
The doctors at West Coast ENT Head & Neck Surgery can sort it all out. They perform complete ear, nose, throat examinations, note patient symptoms, do imaging, and endoscopic examination of the sinuses and often recommend allergy testing. With their findings, they formulate the right sinus and allergy therapies for their Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo, and Simi Valley patients.
There are many therapies to help people deal with the sneezing, runny nose, itching and watery eyes characteristic of allergies. One of the most important is identification of triggers. What things does a person ingest, breathe in, touch or just live with which may precipitate the body's overproduction of histamine?
Common triggers are pet dander, mold, pollen, peanuts, shellfish, milk, and tobacco smoke. Carefully noting symptoms helps identify triggers, but allergy testing in the office renders more accurate results.
Other therapies can include:
- Allergy shots (minute amounts of allergens injected to desensitize the body's immune response)
- Decongestants (oral or nasal sprays)
Sinus infections may be acute or chronic (repeated again and again) and feature symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, sneezing, headache, fatigue, and runny nose. Your ENT doctor may advise antihistamines and decongestants or something simple called nasal irrigation (saline water washed through the nose with a Neti pot).
With active infection, antibiotics may help, although physicians are wary of their overuse. While most sinus conditions do not require surgical intervention, some do. Examples are nasal polyps and deviated septum.
We can help
Please don't suffer with allergy and sinus symptoms. At West Coast ENT Head & Neck Surgery, we pinpoint the problem and get you on the path to wellness. Call (805) 379-9646 for our Thousand Oaks, CA, office, (805) 527-7320 for our Simi Valley, CA, office, (805) 983-0395 for our Oxnard, CA, office, or (805) 484-5929 for our Camarillo, CA, office.
Head and neck cancer affects about 40,000 Americans each year. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer of this particular region, you likely have some questions about how it will be managed. The team of otolaryngologists (also known as ENT doctors) at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Simi Valley, CA, have explained the basics of head and neck cancer treatment in this post.
What are head and neck cancers?
Head and neck cancers include a variety of various tumors and cell abnormalities that form anywhere in this region of the body. This includes oral cancers, throat and voice box cancers, and those found in the sinuses or nose. These cancers are most commonly found in adults over the age of 50 and strongly associated with alcohol and tobacco usage. Other factors such as asbestos exposure, infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) and a diet high in processed meat have shown to be risk factors as well. To aid in detection and cure of head and neck cancers, our otolaryngology team recommends regular screening for adults; this is often performed as part of dental checkups, but can also be done by one of our Simi Valley ENT doctors.
How are head and neck cancers treated?
The way head and neck cancers are managed depends upon the location of the cancer and its staging. Oral cancers - those affecting the lips, tongue, and other tissues inside the mouth - are often surgically removed, with skin grafts to help conceal cosmetic detriments. Radiation therapy is also frequently used to destroy head and neck cancer cells. Laser treatment may be utilized for cancers found near the voice box (the larynx) to minimize damage to the remaining healthy structures.
To make an appointment with one of our ENT doctors at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat, contact one of our offices today. We have several locations in California: Simi Valley, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, and Camarillo.
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