According to WHO,
‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’
The ears, nose, and throat are important parts of our body that we use on a daily basis for the basic activities like hearing, smell, breathing, swallowing, speaking and providing us with a sense of balance. Dysfunction of any of them may affect the quality of our life dramatically.
This new year, let us take a resolution to achieve a healthy Ear, Nose and Throat. The things to do list can be enormous. But we can start with adopting only 3 habits for each, Ear, Nose and Throat, and yet successfully achieve our goal.
1. Keep ear dry.
• Moisture allows suitable medium for bacteria and fungus to grow.
• Dryness ensures the opposite.
• Gently towel drying the ears after a bath or swim, and wearing protective ear plugs while swimming, are sufficient measures.
2. Quit self cleaning.
• Ear is self cleaning.
• Any method of cleaning ear ourself with ear buds or any other object can only cause harm to the ear.
3. Protect ears from excess noise.
• Wear protective earplugs when in loud work or leisure environments.
• Give ears time to recover when exposed to prolonged loud noise, as in concerts or clubs, by stepping outside for 5 minutes at frequent intervals.
• On an average, our ears need 16 hours of quiet to recover from one loud night out.
• When listening to headphones, 60/60 rule should be followed. This means we may listen with headphones at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.
1. Avoid nose picking
• Recurrent nose picking can lead to repeated fingernail trauma and damage to nasal tissues.
• Damage may lead to frequent nose bleeds.
• This habit can also lead to inflammation and infections.
2. Avoid forceful blowing off nose.
• Nose is very well connected with all the sinuses and the middle ear cavity.
• Forceful nose blowing can lead to pressure changes allowing the secretions and infection to spread or build up in such potential cavities.
• Even if nose cleaning is required, it should be gentle and one nostril at a time.
3. Make a habit of steam inhalation.
• Steam being warm and moist air, keeps nasal mucosa healthy and moist.
• Being in vapour form, it can reach the sinuses keeping it well ventilated and healthy as well.
• Moist and healthy mucosa defends infections and allergies way much better than the dry and unhealthy mucosa.
• Inhaling steam twice for 10 minutes should be sufficient.
1. Maintain hydration
• Drink plenty of water.
• Snack on fruits with high water content: melon, pears, plums, peaches, apples and grapes.
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
2. Avoid vocal abuse.
• Avoid screaming, yelling and talking loudly.
• If extended use of voice is needed, take frequent vocal naps.
• Steam is good, unnecessary gargling is bad.
3. Eat right.
• Eat food at regular fixed intervals.
• Maintain a gap between meals and sleep.
• Avoid unhealthy oily and spicy food.
• All such measure can reduce acid related throat damage.
1. Stay fit
• Cardio exercises like walking, running, jogging and cycling gets the blood pumping to all parts of the body, including the ears, nose and throat.
2. Manage stress
• Stress never helps, only harms.
• Can trigger migraines, acid reflux, tinnitus and so many systemic illness that can indirectly affect ear, nose and throat.
3. Quit smoking
• Smoking is a die hard enemy of ear, nose and throat.
• Is harmful in active as well as passive forms.
• It can lead to chronic sore throat, allergies, hearing problems and even cancers.
Any change, small or big, that can lead us to a better living is always worth a try. We will only thank ourself in our future for the effort. Let us get rid of all the bad habits and thinking,and start the new year with a clean slate. This new year, let us all reward ourself with a good and happy health.
Dr. Shreha Pathak