As temperatures fall, the cold weather brings a host of ear, nose and throat (ENT) issues for Atlanta-area residents. So are colds, sore throats and ear infections caused by the cold weather – or are they the result of conditions requiring ENT treatment?
Is Cold Weather Directly Responsible for ENT Issues?
While many people experience illnesses during cold weather, the temperature is usually just a contributing factor that worsens a condition. Sinus issues and the common cold are more often caused by viruses such as the rhinovirus. Another common winter illness, the flu, is caused by the influenza virus. However, cold weather can play a crucial role in the spread of the virus and the immune system response.
Common ENT Problems and the Impact of Cold Weather
Sinus Infection and Colds
Cold weather encourages more people to stay home, bringing about a host of problems. The more people living in close proximity without adequate ventilation, the more chance of a virus spreading. Turning up the heater will also cause dry air to flow through the house. Dry air reduces the effectiveness of the mucous membrane in preventing viruses from entering the nasal passages. Research has also indicated that lower temperatures lead to a greater risk of rhinovirus infection.
A runny nose and postnasal drip can wreak havoc on you and your loved ones during cold weather. When people assume such issues are related to cold weather they are often ignored. However, these symptoms can also be caused by a host of other issues, including an allergy to something found within the home.
Sore throats can result from issues similar to sinus infections and the common cold. Sore throats can be caused by various viral infections, with colder conditions exacerbating the problem. The rapid spread of germs and dry air can dry out the tissue in the throat and cause irritation.
In many cases, ENT treatment can reduce this irritation fairly quickly. However, long spells at home could expose you to dust and pet dander that cause allergic reactions. If you experience persistent symptoms, a consultation with a doctor that treats ENT issues to find the cause is recommended.
Ear infections are usually caused by an upper respiratory infection that moves to the middle ear. Note that a decrease in blood circulation due to cold temperatures can make the infection more severe. You can reduce the severity by covering your ears while outside and seeking the help of an ENT doctor.
What Treatments Are Available for ENT Issues?
If you are suffering from ENT issues during cold weather, it’s important to track down the root cause of the problem. Various sore throat and sinus infection treatments can reduce any pain and put you on the road to recovery. Alternately, an allergic reaction might require a different approach, like allergy shots or antihistamines. The cold weather can indeed make a problem worse, but a consultation with an ENT doctor is the first step to a healthier winter.
Get Treatment for ENT Issues
Untreated ENT issues can lead to more severe problems in the future. Speak to Dr. Chacko and find the appropriate treatment for any ear, nose or throat issues. We are located in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth and Johns Creek. Make an appointment by calling 678-668-4688 or contacting us online.