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Sinus Trouble? Our ENTs Have the Answers

Three ear, nose, and throat specialists (ENTs) at Saint Mary’s Hospital share their tips to cure three common sinus ailments. Find out more about Ear, Nose and Throat.

My son is prone to nosebleeds. What can I do to help?

Answer by Raymond Winicki, MD, ENT at Naugatuck Valley Ear, Nose & Throat Associates

Dr. Winicki: When you’re dehydrated, one of the first places your body goes for moisture is your nose. In the winter, dry air outside and from your indoor heating system can further deplete hydration in your nasal lining and lead to crusting or bleeding.

To stop a nosebleed, put half a cotton ball soaked with a topical decongestant spray, such as Afrin™, into the affected nostril and hold pressure for five minutes.

To prevent future nosebleeds, purchase a cool mist dehumidifier for your house. I also recommend using saline sprays in the nose frequently throughout the day. You should see an ENT if you experience nosebleeds several times a week. In severe, recurrent cases, an ENT can perform a procedure to cauterize a problematic blood vessel.

What is a deviated septum? When does it require treatment?

Answer by Martin Spinella, MD, ENT at Westwood Ear, Nose & Throat

Dr. Spinella: A deviated septum is a crookedness of the middle partition of your nose that can block the nasal passageway and significantly reduce airflow. It’s a very common problem, but many people live with the symptoms— often by breathing through their mouth.

A deviated septum can worsen in the winter, when cold air causes the tissue on the side walls of the nose to swell. ENTs can perform a procedure known as septoplasty to correct septal deviations, often in conjunction with a cauterization procedure to prevent swelling of the side wall tissue.

The procedure not only restores a person’s ability to breathe freely through the nose but can also eliminate snoring caused by the deviation.

How do I stop the cycle of back-to-back sinus infections?

Answer by Neil Schiff, MD, ENT at Connecticut ENT, Sinus & Allergy Specialists

Dr. Schiff: Sinusitis refers to sinus inflammation, often due to viral or bacterial infections or allergies. Sometimes inflammation from an upper respiratory infection can progress to the point that sinus drainage is blocked, causing uncomfortable facial pressure, headaches, and teeth pain.

Some people can develop chronic sinusitis, in which symptoms persist for at least three months. We often see this chronic thickening of the sinuses in people who have nasal polyps, a septal deviation, or underlying allergies. In these cases, addressing the underlying cause of the blockage is required to effectively treat the inflammation.

One of the most recent advances to treat chronic sinusitis is balloon sinuplasty. This outpatient procedure restores the sinus drainage passages with a minimally invasive technique and allows for a more comfortable recovery.

In fact, balloon sinuplasty can be performed in our office under local anesthesia. We often perform balloon sinuplasty on a Friday, and patients can return to work the following Monday.

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