allergies,Annapolis Allergy & Asthma
Written by chrissy

Spotting Ear Infections

It is cold and flu season, and the flu is going around like wildfire. Over the past week, patients have told me they feel 90% of the people they know have had the flu. Fact is, the Maryland Department of Health reports influenza-like illnesses are widespread and high in intensity. A common complication that occurs in association with influenza is a middle ear infection. Otitis media, the specific term for middle ear infection, occurs when the Eustacian tube becomes obstructed or “blocked”, and can no longer perform it’s function of draining the middle ear. Respiratory illnesses, like influenza, infect the upper airway and cause swelling and blockage where the tube drains into the back of the throat, causing Eustacian Tube Dysfunction (ETD). Other causes of ETD include environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and allergies. Children are even more prone to ear infections, as their tubes block more easily, inserting into their middle ears at sharper angles. Blocked Eustachian tubes lead to fluid collecting within the middle ear; this fluid can become infected by bacteria, leading to inflammation, fever, swelling, pressure, decreased hearing and pain.

There are three major parts to the ear; the inner ear, the middle ear and the outer ear. All three parts can get their own type of ear infection. The middle ear is the area that most commonly gets infected due to allergies or viruses. Swimmer’s ear, or an outer ear infection, is caused by a buildup of moisture in the ear canal. Swimming, bathing or diving force water up into the ear canal; if the moisture is not fdried properly, or water hangs up behind earwax, an external ear infection can develop. Pain upon pulling on the outside of the ear is a sure sign of Swimmer’s ear. Lastly, inner ear infections occur when viruses climb up the Eustacian tube and infect the inner ear, triggering dizziness or vertigo. The dizziness from inner ear infections are difficult to treat, often lasting weeks, leading to significant school and work absence.

If you think that you may have an ear infection, it is important that you see a doctor and have a thorough examination. If middle ear infections keep coming back, consider allergy as a cause. Come see Dr. Gels for a thorough examination and testing for respiratory allergies. If allergies are present, there is the possibility that allergy injections may help. For more information, or to set up an appointment, visit annapolisallergy.com.

Updated 5/19/20

We remain open and here to serve you during the COVID-19 emergency. We are also committed to the safety of our patients and staff. Thus, our providers, Dr. Gels and Uwe Reichmann PA, have been diagnosing and treating all patients, whether new or return patients via telehealth. Use your phone, laptop, tablet or desktop. We have also been busy answering phone messages, emails and faxes to our office. 

Testing: We are pleased to announce that we will begin skin testing in the office as of 5/25/20. Patients will first be screened by a telehealth visit with one of our providers to decide the extent of testing. This will be then followed by an in-office visit for the testing, done via sterile technique. To minimize your time in the office, a follow up telehealth visit with the provider will be scheduled to review your results in detail.

Injections: We are now giving allergy shots BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, for your safety. Please come directly up to our office on time so that no one waits before their injection (call ONLY if late). If you haven’t had an allergy shot for a while, you will be scheduled to see Uwe to determine your dose the day of your shot. Patients are then observed for reactions in isolated rooms, then exit the back doorway. We are making allergy serum if you need it. Call us the day before to address insurance, payments, etc. to streamline your visit. We request you keep a credit card on file to streamline the process. Those on immune therapy will continue their treatments (Xolair, Fasenra, Nucala, Dupixent).

Office Policy: We follow CDC and specialty guidelines. Please, only ONE person in the office at a time, and one adult per minor. All patients (and staff) are being screened for illness (fever, etc.) and exposure to COVID. All staff and patients are required to wear a mask (school aged and above). Please bring a personal mask from home: due to the shortage, we cannot routinely provide patients with masks.  NO MASK, NO SHOT.  If you have asthma, bring your albuterol inhaler with you. 

This is allergy season! Pollen is now peaking for many trees. If you have allergy symptoms, we are here for you! We can diagnose and treat over video and send prescriptions to your pharmacy electronically.

Contact us via phone (410-573-1600) or on the portal on this webpage to see our providers. Let us make an appointment when it is convenient for you.

Annapolis Allergy & Asthma, LLC