Posts for: April, 2018
Dander is a common allergen made up of tiny flakes and particles of skin from common household pets like cats, dogs, birds and rodents. Dander is harmless to adults and children who do not suffer from allergies, however people who sneeze and become congested around certain animals might be allergic. Pet allergies can range from mild to severe, with treatment options ranging from over the counter antihistamines, to prescription medication from an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.
What You Need to Know About Dander and Pet Allergies
In addition to their skin, fur and feathers, animals like cats and dogs can also trigger allergic reactions in humans through proteins found in their saliva, urine and dried feces. So even the owner of a short haired or hairless cat may still experience an allergic reaction while cleaning out the cat litter or removing soiled newspaper from a dog's crate. Although many domestic animal breeds are marketed as non-allergenic alternatives, ENT specialists advise highly allergic adults or parents of children with allergies to exercise caution, given that allergens are not exclusive to fur and can still be found in the pet's saliva, regardless of their coat.
A few facts about dander and pet allergens according to the American Lung Association:
- Americans are more than twice as likely to report allergies to cats than to dogs
- Female cats produce more of the protein (Fel d I) associated with cat allergies in humans
- Pet allergens tend to remain airborne longer than dust mites and other sources, and can remain in the home for weeks and months at a time, even if the animal is removed
- Pet allergens travel easily through dust and on clothes, and can also be found in buildings and homes without pets
- Pet allergens can trigger asthma in people with the condition
Symptoms of pet allergies:
- Congestion and runny nose
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Rashes and skin irritation like eczema
- Difficulty breathing
Cancers that are categorized as head and neck encompass the areas from the nasal passage and sinuses in the head, down to the opening of the esophagus at the base of the throat. Also known as squamous cell carcinomas, this type of cancer affects the mucous membranes lining the nose, mouth, and throat. Treatment for this form of cancer is managed by an otolaryngologist, or ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).
Types of Head and Neck Cancers
- Oral Cavity - lips, tongue, gums, cheek lining, floor of the mouth, and the hard palette (roof) of the mouth
- Pharynx (throat) - nasopharynx (behind the nose), oropharynx (area made up of the soft palette, back third of the tongue, and the tonsils), hypopharynx (bottom or the pharynx, which connects to the esophagus)
- Larynx - (voice box, vocal cords)
- Sinuses and nasal cavity
- Salivary glands
A: Many of the symptoms for oral and throat cancers are similar to benign conditions. ENT doctors advise patients to pay attention to unexplained symptoms that persist beyond a few weeks, do not respond to treatment or clear up and then return frequently. The most common set of symptoms include:
- Sores in the mouth, gums or tongue that do not heal
- Chronic sore throat
- Hoarseness or changes in the voice
- Swelling and bleeding from the throat or nose
- Difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing
- Chronic headaches or earaches
- Hearing impairment
- Chronic sinus infections that do not clear up with antibiotics
- Numbness and/or facial paralysis
A: While this type of cancer can technically affect anyone, it is more common in men over the age of 50.
Q: Are head and neck cancers preventable?
A: The most common cause of oral cancers is tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. Abstaining from tobacco use (cigarettes and nicotine products) and avoiding or drinking alcohol in moderation is highly recommended. Good oral hygiene with daily flossing and brushing and regular dental check-ups, as well as a healthy diet can also lower the risk. Head and neck cancers can be treated successfully when caught early. Reporting suspicious symptoms to an ENT specialist as soon as possible is important for early detection.
Q: What are the treatment options for head and neck cancers?
A: Treatment varies from patient to patient depending on the type of cancer, location, stage at time of diagnosis and the patient's overall health. Most cancers are typically treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and/or targeted drug therapy.