Category: General

What Is the Sense of Smell and Why Do We Have It?

The sense of smell can vary from person to personIt could be said that some of the greatest joys in life are experienced through the sense of smell: the salty ocean, a rose, a newborn baby and for some the “new car” smell. But what exactly is the sense of smell and why do we have it? Here is some interesting information about how the sense of smell developed and the ways in which it impacts our lives.

A rose is a rose, but it may smell different to each individual
Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK have discovered that an individual’s unique sense of smell is the result of genes interacting with experience. In other words, where you live and how you live may determine how your nose and brain interpret different smells.

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Q-tips (cotton swabs) are Sending Kids to the Emergency Room

Avoid Cleaning Your Eyes with Q-tips or Cotton SwabsCotton swabs are sending thousands of children to emergency rooms across the country.  NBC news and other media reported recently that the problem has increased to the point where about 34 children a day are injured by Q-tips. And amazingly, about two-thirds of them are under the age of 8. Approximately 77% of the children were injured when they were using Q-tips themselves after seeing their parents do it.  One way that you can prevent your child from suffering Q-tip injuries is to not use them.


Why Don’t You Need Q-tips?

The ears clean themselves.

Most of us use Q-tips because we think it is necessary to clean our ears. It’s not. Our ears are designed to clean themselves. Using Q -tips may actually make matters worse. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, “Wax blockage is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. This is often caused by attempts to clean the ear with cotton swabs. Most cleaning attempts merely push the wax deeper into the ear canal, causing a blockage.”

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What You Need to Know About Allergy Medicine for Kids

All allergy medications are not created equal, especially when it comes to children. Children should only take children’s allergy medication, not a small dose of adult allergy medication – unless directed by a physician.

Children have different tolerances for medication doses and their systems are more sensitive to medication ingredients. As allergy season approaches, it’s important to know how to select over-the-counter (OTC) medications and how to safely and appropriately administer them.

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Your New Year’s Resolution: Stop Snoring and Treat Your Sleep Apnea

New Year's Resolution - Treat Your Sleep ApneaIf you snore, are tired all the time, find or are told that you stop breathing while sleeping, or frequently wake up with headaches, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Addressing it will give you (and your partner) a better night’s sleep. It’s probably the best New Year’s Resolution you can make.

Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing involuntarily while asleep. With untreated sleep apnea you may stop breathing hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. In most cases you are unaware of these breath stoppages because they don’t cause you to completely wake up. Over 18 million Americans, or 1 in 15 people, suffer from sleep apnea. Up to 4% go untreated. Another interesting fact: over 250,000 children have tonsillectomies annually and the reason they’re performed is because the tonsils obstruct their airways leading to sleep apnea.

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The Best 5 Minute (to read) Patient Review Ever

Received on December 4, 2016

The original message below was delivered several weeks ago to my PCP stating “to: All Staff at Tri-Valley:”  I did this to allow everyone, including the doctors and nurses at Tri-Valley, to read and hopefully obtain more knowledge on a particular condition.  My only hope is that your office does the same.  Once you read my letter, I’m sure you’ll realize why I did not call to make my annual appointment follow-up. The reason being is because I consider myself now “totally cured!”  You will understand how and why after reading below:

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Difficulty Breathing? Want to Alter Your Look? Cosmetic Rhinoplasty May Be for You

Young Woman - Before and After Cosmetic RhinoplastyYour nose is the most prominent feature on your face and, obviously, a crucial pathway to breathing. It’s no wonder that cosmetic rhinoplasty (commonly referred to as a “nose job”) is sought by so many people – it can drastically improve your breathing and enhance your looks.

For some, cosmetic rhinoplasty is literally a breath of fresh air when it repairs the structure of the nose to improve breathing. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons a deviated septum is one of the most common structural problems inside the nose. A deviated septum occurs when the wall of bone and cartilage that separates your left and right nasal cavities is displaced to one side, or crooked. Rhinoplasty can improve the obstructed airway caused by the deviated septum by adjusting (straightening) the nasal cavities to produce better alignment. The result is improved breathing.

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Is Anosmia (Loss of Smell) Treatable?

Woman with Loss of Smell - AnosmiaWe have 5 senses: touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing.

We are familiar with or have come into contact with people who have lost some or all of their sense of hearing or their eyesight. But, it’s quite rare to encounter anyone with a loss of smell (and taste). According to various sources, the amount of people suffering from a loss of smell is small but is most likely larger than is indicated.

The National Institute of Health estimates that 2 million Americans, or .62% of the population, have lost their sense of smell; The Toronto Star indicates that 1.2% of Americans suffer with anosmia, a complete loss of smell. Pare those with the percentage of people that suffer from sleep apnea or heart disease and you get the idea: loss of smell is uncommon and, in addition, it’s rather invisible. You can’t see it or touch it and those that suffer from it will often keep it to themselves, many out of embarrassment, which is why the percentage of people with a complete loss of smell may be higher than reported.

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The Husband That Fell Asleep In The Exam Room

Older Man with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and Sleep ApneaDuring a recent office-based sinus surgery, the husband of my patient fell asleep in the exam room. She told me that he often falls asleep when he sits down. He was a bit embarrassed when we woke him but we assured him that he need not worry. I asked him if he is frequently tired during the day, to which he responded “Doc, I’m 70 years old. Of course I get tired!” His wife interrupted to add that they haven’t slept in the same bed for years due to his snoring. The interesting thing is that he is a hearing loss patient of BergerHenry ENT but never mentioned his daytime fatigue or snoring. We discussed a sleep study but he decided against it.

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Sleep Apnea Statistics and Facts 2016

The word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” There are three types of apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. Central sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway. However, in central sleep apnea, the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Mixed sleep apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of the two. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality.

When left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, weight gain, memory problems, impotency and headaches. Untreated sleep apnea may also cause job impairment and vehicle accidents. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Both medical and surgical options are available.

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Have a Cold? Best to Avoid Afrin

People begin using Afrin for one reason only; their nose is obstructed. Why does this occur? Acute infections or allergy …

Can e Cigs (eCigarettes) Cause Cancer?

e-cigarettes and vaping have risen to popularity in recent years because many people thought they were safer than smoking …

When You Burn Your Tongue, What Gets Burned and How/Why Does It Get Better?

If you have ever burned your tongue you know how aggravating it can be. It’s the only thing you can think about until it …