Ear, nose, throat

Ear, nose, throat Articles

COVID-19 basics

As we continually learn more about coronavirus and COVID-19, it can help to reacquaint yourself with some basic information. For example, understanding how the virus spreads reinforces the importance of social distancing and other health-promoting behaviors. Knowing how long the virus survives on surfaces can guide how you clean your home and handle deliveries. And reviewing the common symptoms of COVID-19 can help you know if it's time to self-isolate. Coronaviruses are an extremely common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections. More »

If you are at higher risk

If you are at increased risk for serious illness from COVID-19, you need to be especially careful to avoid infection. You may have questions about your particular condition or treatment, how it impacts your risk of infection and illness, and what you need to do if you become ill. Your doctor is best equipped to provide individual advice, but we provide some general guidelines, below. Older people, especially those with underlying medical problems like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart failure, or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. More »

Coping with coronavirus

Perhaps you're older, worried that you may become infected and seriously ill. Maybe you're doing your best to keep your family healthy while trying to balance work with caring for your children while schools are closed. Or you're feeling isolated, separated from friends and loved ones during this period of social distancing. Regardless of your specific circumstances, it's likely that you're wondering how to cope with the stress, anxiety, and other feelings that are surfacing. A variety of stress management techniques, which we delve into below, can help. This webinar series was created to support the students and staff of the Harvard Medical School community, yet the lessons will be broadly applicable to all who are feeling the emotional strain of this unprecedented crisis.  More »

Coronavirus outbreak and kids

Children's lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic. Between schools being closed and playdates being cancelled, children's routines are anything but routine. Kids also have questions about coronavirus, and benefit from age-appropriate answers that don't fuel the flame of anxiety. It also helps to discuss — and role model —  things they can control, like hand washing, social distancing, and other health-promoting behaviors. Children, including very young children, can develop COVID-19. However, children tend to experience milder symptoms such as low-grade fever, fatigue, and cough. Some children have had severe complications, but this has been less common. Children with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe illness. More »

Coronavirus Resource Center

The rapid spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has sparked alarm worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and many countries are grappling with a rise in confirmed cases. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising people to be prepared for disruptions to daily life that will be necessary if the coronavirus spreads within communities. Below, you'll find answers to a number of questions about coronavirus and COVID-19. We will be adding new questions and updating answers as reliable information becomes available. More »

Endoscopy

Endoscopy describes many procedures that look inside the body using some type of endoscope, a flexible tube with a small TV camera and a light on one end and an eyepiece on the other. The endoscope allows doctors to examine the inside of certain tube-like structures in the body. Many endoscopes transmit the doctor's view to a video screen. Most endoscopes have attachments that permit doctors to take fluid or tissue samples for laboratory testing. Upper endoscopy allows a doctor to see inside the esophagus, stomach and top parts of the small intestine. Bronchoscopy examines the large airways inside the lungs (bronchi). Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy examine different parts of the lower digestive tract. Each type of endoscopy uses a slightly different endoscope with a different name — an upper endoscope for upper endoscopy, a bronchoscope for bronchoscopy, a sigmoidoscope for sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscope for colonoscopy. Other endoscopes allow doctors to see inside the abdomen and inside joints through small incisions. (Locked) More »

Rapid Strep Test

A throat infection with streptococcus bacteria (called strep throat) needs to be treated with an antibiotic. A test is commonly used to find out whether streptococcus bacteria are present on your throat surface. The traditional test for a strep throat has been a throat culture, which takes two to three days to produce results. Several different types of rapid strep tests, however, can produce results within minutes to hours. A rapid strep test can only detect the presence of Group A strep, the one most likely to cause serious throat infections; it does not detect other kinds of strep or other bacteria. No preparation is necessary. A cotton swab is rubbed against the back of your throat to gather a sample of mucus. This takes only a second or two and makes some people feel a brief gagging or choking sensation. The mucus sample is then tested for a protein that comes from the strep bacteria. (Locked) More »

Throat Culture

A throat infection with streptococcus bacteria (called strep throat) needs to be treated with an antibiotic. A throat culture is the traditional test used for identifying streptococcus bacteria on your throat surface. Throat cultures also can identify some other bacteria that can cause sore throat. No preparation is necessary. A cotton swab is rubbed against the back of your throat to gather a sample of mucus. This takes only a second or two and makes some people feel a brief gagging or choking sensation. The mucus sample is then placed on a culture plate that helps any bacteria present in the mucus grow, so they can be examined and identified. (Locked) More »

Preventing seasonal maladies

Older adults are especially susceptible to winter illnesses. This is partly because of a weakened immune system. Common winter illnesses include the common cold, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, influenza, and stomach bugs. To ward off winter illness, one should get the proper vaccines, wash hands before eating or touching the face, carry hand sanitizer, avoid close contact with people who’re under the weather, and stay away from shared food like potlucks and buffets. More »