- Priscilla Carvalho
- Rio de Janeiro, BBC Brazil
Due to dry weather, increased soot in the air, a sudden drop in temperature and an increase in pollutants, allergies tend to appear more frequently and cause problems such as rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, and other respiratory infections.
The emergence of these diseases is caused by viral diseases that increase markedly with a cold.
“A cold attack, where people are already sensitized in advance, they close the windows and become more confined, increases viral crises, and the patient’s symptoms end up being more significant,” stresses Marco Cesar, an otolaryngologist at Cagoro University Hospital in Brazil.
But how do you differentiate between all these diseases and find the right treatment? Symptoms are usually very different and some signs can be noticed from the first days of feeling uncomfortable.
Here is a list of the main infections and how to identify them:
It is considered an inflammatory rhinitis that causes symptoms such as stuffy nose, runny nose, and internal itching, and it can be caused by several factors.
When it is in the form of an allergy, contact with dust, animal hair and dust mites increases the risk of infection.
In non-allergic cases, senile or vasomotor rhinitis can be observed, which is manifested by a change in saliva.
This phenomenon is more common in the elderly and can lead to frequent secretions from the gills.
There is also pharmacological rhinitis, which is caused by the frequent use of drugs in the nose.
“It’s a chemical and psychological addiction, and a person continues to use it,” says Cesar, who is also a nasal surgeon and a member of the American Rhinological Association.
Chemical rhinitis is also present, with abundant secretions. In general, it comes from the case of influenza as well as changes in temperature.
The best way to treat inflammation is to prevent the causes of the disease.
In the case of allergic rhinitis, the optimal is the control and sterilization of the environment, as well as the use of anti-allergic drugs and nasal sprays with medicines, if the doctor so requests.
When the disease is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are recommended, under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
It is an inflammation of the facial sinuses, and it usually affects a person’s quality of life. It can be caused by bacteria and viruses, as well as rhinitis.
“Inflammation of the nasal mucosa impedes the movement of specialized cells responsible for pushing mucus down the throat,” says Raul Zanini, MD, an otolaryngologist at Albert Einstein Hospital in Brazil.
For this reason, sinusitis causes a stuffy nose, thick secretions, secretions, pressure pain (which can spread to the teeth), and a decrease in the sense of taste and smell. In children, it leads to feeding difficulties and malnutrition.
The condition can appear at any time in life, but it is more common with sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions and with low relative humidity.
Active and passive smoking, as well as particles in the air due to pollution, also promote inflammation.
There are also anatomical alterations inside the nose such as a deviated nasal septum, polyps, and an increase in nasal septums (known as spongy meats) that increase susceptibility to sinusitis.
The treatment recommended by doctors can consist of the use of antibiotics, but it can also be done with a saline solution.
The latter relieves symptoms and accelerates the recovery of the ciliary mucosa, which acts on the defense mechanism of the respiratory system. Inhalation, as well as saline, can facilitate the removal of secretions from the sinuses of the face.
In more serious and frequent cases, surgery with a specialized specialist is required.
This is an inflammatory disease of the bronchi of the lungs of a viral or bacterial nature.
It is important not to confuse it with asthma, which is also a respiratory condition, but has different symptoms and is caused by an allergic process.
In acute bronchitis, the patient has a lot of colds, coughing, chest fullness, and children are the most affected.
It is also more common if the temperature is too low.
When the disease is viral, fever medication, nebulization, respiratory physiotherapy, and plenty of fluids are recommended.
“When the bacteria are bacterial, antibiotics are recommended,” says Deborah Carla Chung, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist and professor at the Pontifical Catholic University School of Medicine in Paraná, Brazil.
This is a notorious sore throat and is very common in patients who have a stuffy nose or who sleep with their mouth open. Usually, when they wake up in the morning, they feel very uncomfortable.
Besides these symptoms, a person may have a headache upon waking.
Pharyngitis can also be viral, which is common when sleeping with wet hair, feeling calm, or walking barefoot.
It can also be bacterial, caused by the species Streptococcus pyogenes. In this case, a sudden condition is common in children from the age of two.
“If the inflammation is not treated, it can progress to rheumatic fever, an autoimmune reaction that affects the joints, can affect the heart and, in severe cases, the brain,” adds the pulmonologist.
Antibiotic therapy should be carried out, under medical supervision.
This type of inflammation is characterized by ear pain and discomfort in the area. Infection with viruses can occur after a cold.
Ear infections are also frequent in children and can occur while breastfeeding. When milk is spit out, it enters the middle ear and can cause inflammation.
“It’s a child’s first infection and it occurs in the six to three-year age group,” Ms. Chung says.
The most common symptoms are severe earache, fever, loss of appetite and localized discharge. The most appropriate treatment is the use of antibiotics and analgesics under medical supervision.
Finally, there is still inflammation caused by the enlargement of the lymph nodes, which is the lymphatic organ located behind the nasal cavities and above the palate.
The “communication” with the ear and nose is impaired and causes a lot of phlegm in the area.
Treatment can be with medication and, in more severe cases, surgery to remove the exudate, as directed by your health care professional.
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