By Consultant ENT Surgeon Dr. V. Shankar Kumar
The tonsils, the adenoids and the other lymphoid tissues are situated at the confluence of the digestive and respiratory tracts. They are susceptible to both airborne and food-borne contaminants. Being the policemen of the throat they trap these contaminants, so as to prevent them from travelling down further. The contaminants may be bacterial or viral.
Come summer and the streets are riddled with numerous juice stalls and ice cream stalls. People flock in large numbers to these places to quench their thirst. Most of these places pay scant regard to hygiene. It is hence no wonder that the incidence of throat infections goes up during this season. Patients particularly children suffering from chronic tonsillitis get a flare up during these times. Fruit juices, particularly those belonging to the Citrus variety, can produce a sore throat for those who are prone.
How does this tuime of the year cause as increase in ENT troubles among children and adults? Find out.
Pic courtesy: livelovefruit
Swimming is a favourite past-time in summer. Contaminated water may enter the ear canal. A minor trauma like scratching the ear may trigger an infection in the presence of contaminated water. The infection may be of the bacterial or fungal variety. The resulting ear infection is called Swimmer’s ear (or Otitis Externa). Water entering the ears during the time of swimming can also swell up the wax leading to discomfort and hearing problems. Lack of humidity in the atmosphere during summer may lead to impaction of wax (cerumen) in the ear canal.
We do not have a well-defined spring. However, summer marks the pollination season for many flowering plants and trees. Pollen dispersed into the air may trigger an allergic response the nose leading to Seasonal Allergic rhinitis. Dryness coupled with rising temperatures may trigger nasal bleeds.
Also read: The essential summer care you will need
Usage of central air-conditioning definitely increases in summer. Many people work in such environments for prolonged periods of time. A cough or a sneeze from a neighbouring person may be transmitted as droplet infection to those susceptible.
Recent studies show that unclean central air-conditioning units may lead to a growth of certain fungi. Susceptible persons particularly those immunocompromised can develop fungal colonisation of their respiratory tract. Summer may be a blessing in disguise for a few. Teachers whose voice have become strained due to constant overuse (at times misuse also) greatly benefit from the forceful voice rest during vacation time.
How to cure these ENT problems in summer?
1. It is advisable to carry a water bottle and quench one’s thirst, rather than frequenting the juice stalls on a daily basis. Avoid aerated drinks. Buttermilk is an excellent alternative.
2. Swimmers who are prone to ear infections can use plugs to minimise water entry. A conscious effort must be made to avoid usage of earbuds, particularly after a swim.
3. Those prone to seasonal nasal allergy (on a yearly basis) will benefit from a course of prophylactic (preventive) medicines taken during the allergic season.
4. Prolonged stay in air-conditioned surroundings is definitely not advisable. It definitely helps to get a breath of fresh air once in a while.
5. Teachers must realise the importance of voice rest. They must make the most of it to safeguard their voice which is dear to them and to their profession.
Pic courtesy: virtua