Ask the Doctor: Tinnitus, tonsil stones, back-to-school sleep schedule

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 1:08 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every week on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1 (from Janelle): “I have tinnitus. I have had an MRI and have been treated with Flonase. It isn’t improving. What’s the next step?”

DR. BOB: Tinnitus is a very difficult problem to treat. Occasionally, it is due to a treatable problem, but for most people it is something that just happens as you age.

Unfortunately, we don’t have great treatments for it apart from distraction. The note you made about dizziness brings up one possibly diagnosis called Meniere’s disease.

Part of our ear deals with hearing and balance. There are fluid-filled structures. In Meniere’s disease for reasons that are not entirely known this fluid builds up too much. This then causes difficulty with hearing, tinnitus, and dizziness.

This can be treated with dietary changes or medicines, so it would be worth discussing with your doctor.

Question #2 (from Maggie): “I keep getting tonsil stones and they cause chronic sore throats. What is the best way to get rid of them?”

DR. BOB: Tonsil stones are collections of minerals, debris from food and bacteria that harden on the tonsils. They appear like little white stones on the tonsils and can cause bad breath.

The general approach to treating them is to ensure good oral hygiene with brushing your teeth and flossing. It is also important to control acid reflux if it is a problem. Finally, you can dislodge them with a toothbrush or flushing with water.

Ultimately, if these measures don’t work, some people will have their tonsils removed to help control the problem.

Question #3 (from Karen): “My child is having a hard time adjusting to his back-to-school sleep schedule. This is a problem every year. any tips on making the transition easier?”

DR. BOB: Karen, I hear you on this one. My family is going through the same thing right now.

The basic advice I would give you is that if children are tired, they will fall asleep. So generally, if you want to get your kids to bed earlier, you need to wake them up earlier.

It is best to try to do this a week or so before the schedule needs to be in place. Ultimately, your child will adjust, although there will probably be a period where things are difficult.

If your child needs help falling asleep during the transition period, you could try giving a pediatric appropriate dose of melatonin.

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