Six hard to diagnose Chronic Ear Nose and Throat Infections

There are several Chronic Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) disorders, and with the interconnection between these three areas, it is difficult to diagnose what infection you have based on symptoms alone.

What makes an infection of the ear nose and throat (ENT) Hard to diagnose? For chronic infections of the ENT, symptoms may overlap causing several infections in multiple areas. What are chronic Infections? Chronic infections are those that occur repeatedly over time, especially in the fall and winter seasons. During these seasons, people are spending more time indoors and in groups. The increased number of germs and people in close contact makes it easier for these germs to spread. Rest assured, Aperiomics Xplore-PATHO testing can help match the microbes found in 11 different samples. Below, you can read about 6 conditions that are commonly hard to diagnose:

Chronic Ear Nose and Throat Infections

1) Infection of the epiglottis (epiglottitis)- Epiglottitis is an inflammation of the epiglottis that can result from an infection, environmental causes, and/or physical trauma. A severely swollen epiglottis can block the airway, causing breathing difficulties which can be fatal. Epiglottitis, also known as supraglottitis, which also involves inflammation of the cartilage that is near the voice box. The epiglottis is the cartilage flap at the base of the tongue. When a person swallows, the epiglottis stops solid food and liquids from going down through the voice box and windpipe to the lungs.

Common Symptoms:

  • Stridor, squeaking sound when breathing in
  • Any sign of difficulty breathing (particularly when sitting upright, leaning forward, with their neck tilted back and jaw pushed forward)
  • Drooling
  • Muffled, voice (speaking as if a hot object is being held in the mouth)
  • Visible bulge in the esophagus

 

2)      Chronic Otitis Media- Chronic otitis media is usually caused by acute otitis media of the ear nose and throat, blockage of the eustachian tube (which connects the middle ear and the back of the nose), an injury to the ear, or blast injuries. This issue may flare up after an infection of the nose and throat, such as the common cold, or after unsanitary water enters the ear. People with chronic otitis media develop a cholesteatoma in the middle ear. A cholesteatoma is a benign growth of white skin-like material. A cholesteatoma, which destroys bone, increases the likelihood of other life-threatening complications such as inflammation of the inner ear, paralysis, or brain infections.

Common Symptoms:

  • Blockage of a Eustachian tube
  • Buildup of pressure
  • Hearing loss
  • Persistent ear drainage

 

3) Meniere’s disease There is no exact cause of Meniere’s. However, scientist believe that is has to do with abnormally high-pressure buildup of fluid in the inner ear. This build up is in the labyrinth, which are passages and cavities connected throughout the inner ear. Treatment may include medications or surgery depending on the severity of the condition.

Common Symptoms:

  • Vertigo
  • Whirling dizziness
  • Severe nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating

 

4) Clogged Ear Sinus Infection (Chronic Sinusitis)- Chronic sinusitis is a common ear nose and throat infection in which the cavities around nasal passages (sinuses) become inflamed and swollen for at least 12 weeks, despite treatment attempts. Also known as chronic rhinosinusitis, this condition blocks drainage and causes mucus to buildup. The area around your eyes and face might feel swollen, and you might have facial pain or tenderness. Chronic sinusitis can be brought on by an infection, by growths nasal polyps or by a deviated nasal septum. The condition most commonly affects young and middle-aged adults, but it also can affect children.

Common Symptoms:

  • Thick, discolored discharge from the nose or drainage down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste in adults or cough in children

 

5) Chronic Throat infections (Strep Throat)- Variations of constant strep throat infections are resistant to antibiotics or a patient’s weak immune system.  Health care providers are unable to diagnose strep throat just by looking into your esophagus.  In the past, your local family care provider would perform test to see if strep bacteria are the problem. Antibiotics are a common remedy for bacteria (group A streptococcus) that causes strep infections. A throat culture may be considered if a rapid test comes back negative, but your doctor still suspects strep throat.  Most test out their will only look for a small subset of pathogens that cause your infection. When symptoms becoming chronic it is much more important to get a comprehensive look at the biome of your ear nose and throat, with Xplore-PATHO.

Common Symptoms:

  • Discomfort or pain in the throat.
  • Cough.
  • Hoarseness.
  • A tickling sensation in the throat.
  • A sensation of something stuck in the throat.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • A tired voice, more common among people who sing or speak for a living.
  • Headache.

 

6) Chronic Cough- A chronic cough is when a cough that last longer than 8 weeks in adults, or 4 weeks in children. However, coughing is caused by several types of medical illnesses, not necessarily conditions of the ear nose and throat. Your health care provider will look at the duration, type and features of your cough, as well as symptoms you are experiencing. When the common testing measure isn’t enough, you can rely on Aperiomics Xplore-PATHO testing to identify the known sequenced pathogens in your sample.

Common Symptoms:

  • Acute cough, sudden onset and lasts up to 3 weeks.
  • Sub-acute cough lasts between 3-8 weeks.
  • Chronic cough lasting for more than 8 weeks.
  • Productive cough, cough than brings up phlegm.
  • Dry cough, cough that does not bring up phlegm.
  • Nocturnal cough, cough that only happens at night.
  • Hemoptysis, Coughing blood.