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Booster dose of covid-19 vaccine

Regardless of the variant, a significant number of COVID-19 symptoms are associated with the ears, nose, and throat including sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, changes in taste, smell, and hearing, and headache. In fact, in one study, 90% of patients with COVID-19 had ENT-related symptoms.)

Long-term symptoms of COVID-19 such as loss of taste and smell, tinnitus, and vertigo also affect the ear, nose, and throat.

As a physician specializing in otolaryngology, I have a vested interest in seeing my patients protected from the short and longer-term effects of COVID-19 on the ears, nose, and throat. 

While there are still breakthrough infections, vaccinations have proven to be effective in reducing the severity of these symptoms, especially among people over 55, those with significant medical issues, and those who are immunosuppressed.

Vaccines: Personal Choice with Public Impact

virus protection

In the past two years, few subjects have been as divisive in America as vaccines, despite their being part of the backbone of public health for decades. 

The decision of whether or not to be immunized should be a personal choice, however, individual choices in all aspects of life affect those around us. 

Immunizations have been used worldwide to get infectious diseases under control since the development of the smallpox vaccine in 1797. More than half of Americans will receive a flu shot annually. And it wasn’t that long ago that chickenpox was circulating unchecked through America’s classrooms (95% of American adults have had it), but today just two doses of the varicella vaccine are 90% effective in preventing it

COVID-19 Vaccines By the Numbers

As a physician, it’s important to look at what the numbers say when we consider the benefits of immunization. Think of boosters (sometimes called a “third dose”) as an extension of your primary dose or series of vaccinations. Over time, the protective benefits of vaccines wane, however, boosters remind your body to defend itself against infection. 

Because vaccines have been formulated for different strains, there will be breakthrough infections for those who have been vaccinated. However, people who have been vaccinated tend to have fewer symptoms and milder infections.

Staying up-to-date on your vaccinations will give you the best protection from COVID-19. Here’s why:

1. Vaccines Prevent Deaths from COVID-19

According to a study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, it’s estimated that 19.8 million lives have been saved by the COVID-19 vaccine, reducing the potential global death toll by two-thirds.

The CDC’s COVID data tracker compares death rates among those 50 and older who are unvaccinated with those vaccinated with a primary series and two or more boosters and in May of 2022 the unvaccinated were 29 times more likely to die. 

2. Vaccines Reduce Hospitalizations

COVID-19 boosters were shown to prevent related emergency department and urgent care visits, as well as hospitalization, during periods when the Delta and Omicron variants were prevalent. 

  • 94% (Delta) and 82% (Omicron) reduction in emergency department and urgent care visits 
  • Hospitalizations were down by 94% (Delta) and 90% (Omicron)

According to the CDC, in June 2022, COVID-19-related hospitalizations were 4.6 times higher among unvaccinated adults 18 and older than those who were up-to-date on their series.)

3. Boosters May Prevent Long-Term COVID

While studies continue to emerge, one study of healthcare workers suggested that a combination of two primary doses and a booster may reduce the odds of long COVID to 16%.

Am I Eligible for a COVID-19 Booster?

The CDC recommends that eligible people over the age of five who have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccination series get their first booster. (To determine if it’s time to get your booster, the CDC has an online tool.) For people who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccination, you can opt for either a Pfizer or Moderna booster.

Adults 50 and over, and immunocompromised individuals over the age of 12 are eligible to receive a second booster.

One exception to this recommendation would be individuals who have a severe reaction (anaphylaxis) to any component of the mRNA vaccine. If you have questions about the vaccine or your risk, speak to a trusted physician.

Has COVID-19 Affected Your Ear, Nose, or Throat?

We are continuing to learn about COVID-19 and evolving variants with time and research. Vaccination is your personal choice and your doctor can help you make an informed decision.
If you’ve had a COVID-19 infection and are still having lingering issues with your hearing, sense of taste or smell, or balance, an otolaryngologist can work with you to diagnose and address your condition. To schedule an appointment today contact our office.

back to school infections

Back to school usually means new backpacks, a lot of anticipation, and unfortunately, more exposure to germs and viruses, especially as COVID-19 protocols have been lifted. As art supplies are passed and noses are blown, infections can circulate around the classroom. And then your home.

How do you know when your child just caught a bug or their symptoms may indicate a chronic condition? Let’s learn more about some of the more common infections that spike when the school year starts.

Continue reading What You Need to Know About Back-to-School Infections

Treating Swimmer’s Ear

There’s nothing like a dip in a cool pool on a hot summer day. But unfortunately for some, the price of refreshment is a painful ear infection commonly known as “swimmer’s ear.”

Swimmer’s ear is more prevalent in children and young adults, however, anyone can suffer from it. Non-contagious and different than a middle ear infection, swimmer’s ear is caused by a growth of bacteria when water stays in the outer ear canal for a long time. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms of this infection can include:

  • Pain when the outer ear is tugged or when pressure is put on the part of the outer ear that sticks out in front of the ear canal
  • Itchiness inside the ear
  • Drainage from the ear (often yellow and foul-smelling)
  • Redness and swelling in the ear
  • Muffled hearing
Continue reading Preventing and Treating Swimmer’s Ear During Pool Season

COVID-19 Long Term Effects

It is believed that more than one hundred million people experienced health consequences from COVID long after they were negative for infection. According to one study, more than 40% of people who have had COVID have or have had long-term effects after their recovery from the initial infection.

The lingering symptoms, sometimes referred to as long-haul COVID (or if you want to get scientific: post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, or PASC) can be both frustrating and uncomfortable.

Continue reading What Are COVID-19’s Long-Term Effects on the Ears, Nose, and Throat?

Best Hearing Aid

In part two of our series on your questions about hearing aids, we’re seeking to dispel some of the confusion and miscommunication about them. Let’s continue our conversation with ENT Memphis audiologist, Dr. Chris Hylander, to learn more about choosing hearing aids, where to purchase them, and how you can take them for a test drive.

How Do I Choose Which Hearing Aids are Best for Me?

No two (or ten) hearing aids are alike so it’s time to narrow down your choices. One of our hearing care professionals will guide you through the options and help you understand the pros and cons of the various brands, styles, and technical features of hearing aids.

At ENT Memphis we consider your lifestyle, your hearing loss, and your goals for using hearing aids to recommend options to fit your unique listening needs. We work with major manufacturers and offer hearing aids of all types and styles from custom fit to small behind-the-ear devices to get you the best result for the most reasonable cost.

Continue reading How to Choose (and Where to Buy) the Best Hearing Aid for Your Lifestyle

About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids. In fact, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, fewer than 30 percent of adults aged 70 and over who could benefit from hearing aids have used them.

This gap suggests there is a lot of misinformation, confusion, and even reluctance when it comes to using hearing aids. We sat down with ENT Memphis audiologist, Dr. Chris Hylander, to find out the answers to some of the top questions people have about hearing aids.

Continue reading Everything You Wanted to Know About Hearing Aids from an Audiologist

hearing aids

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) approximately 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids. When worn consistently, hearing aids can help combat the loneliness and social isolation that many people with hearing loss can experience. Withdrawing from others and avoiding social situations can have an impact on cognitive function as we age.

Continue reading Before Buying Hearing Aids, Consider These Three Things

hearing loss and the covid-19 vaccine

If you’re been paying attention to the news, or have experienced a recent change in your hearing, you may be aware of a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery that explored a possible connection between COVID-19 immunization and sudden hearing loss. Let’s take a closer look and see if this is something you should be concerned about.

Continue reading Is Sudden Hearing Loss Linked to the COVID-19 Vaccine?

tonsillectomy

Most parents have been there. You’re putting your child to bed and they begin complaining that their ear is hurting. Your pediatrician’s office closed more than two hours ago so your options are racing to the after-hours clinic or waiting until morning.

Or maybe this is the fourth sore throat your child has had this year. Not only has she missed several days of school, but you’re not excited about the thought of putting her on antibiotics again. Between allergies, the common cold, strep throat, and now COVID-19, it can be hard to figure out what’s going on with your child. And while unpredictable, illness often strikes at what feels like the worst possible time.

Continue reading Why a Tonsillectomy May Help Your Child’s Chronic Ear and Throat Infections

Approximately one in 10 Americans undergo a Computed Tomography (CT) scan each year in order to detect abnormalities, injuries, or diseases. A highly regarded diagnostic imaging tool due to its ability to detect minute differences in tissue as well as its multiplanar reformatted imaging capabilities, CT is used to diagnose conditions of the neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, extremities, cardiac and vascular system, and sinus and temporal bones.

There are many factors that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on CT imaging. The training and experience of both the operator performing the procedure and the interpreting physician, the type of CT equipment used, adherence to radiation dose guidelines, and the quality assessment metrics each facility is required to measure, all contribute to a positive patient outcome. IACaccreditation is a “seal of approval” that patients can rely on as an indicator of consistent quality care and a dedication to continuous improvement.

Continue reading ENT Memphis Earns CT Reaccreditation by the IAC