My Blog

By Victor Strelzow, MD
January 15, 2021
Category: ENT
Tags: COVID-19  

Be able to recognize some of the early signs of COVID-19 in you or a loved one.
 
With the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in California, our Irvine, CA, Otolaryngologist Dr. Victor Strelzow and his staff, understands the concerns his patients have about their health and safety. Of course, the symptoms of COVID-19 are not unique to this virus only. Many of the early signs of the same signs you might get with the flu or cold, and it’s important to be able to spot signs of potential COVID-19 so you can take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and those you love.
 
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that often present with respiratory symptoms. While there are people who may have exposure to or early infection with COVID-19, they can unknowingly continue to spread the actual virus but not experience symptoms for days to weeks, but most  people will finally often experience some respiratory complaints but also  may include,
 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Sore throat
  • Chest congestion
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea

 
While many younger and healthier people will experience mild symptoms, serious signs of COVID-19 that require emergency medical attention include,
 

  • Pressure or pain in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue lips or face
  • severe tiredness
  • extremes of sleepiness

 
It’s important to call your primary care doctor, if you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms that you think may be related to COVID-19. While the 'usual flu' and COVID-19 may cause similar symptoms, they are caused by completely different viruses.
 
COVID-19 also seems to spread much more easily than the flu and can cause serious and even deadly infections in certain individuals. Those with preexisting health conditions, those with weakened immune systems and the elderly tec., are more at much more risk for serious COVID-19 infections.
 
What should I do if I’m sick?

If you are experiencing symptoms that may be COVID-19, it’s important that you immediately call your primary care doctor or Urgent Care or Walk-In facility for further instructions and or testing recommendations. Until the diagnosis is complete, federal authorities suggest: you stay home, Socially distance, wear a mask at all times and self-isolate. Do not go out in public and avoid contact with family members.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?
There are ways for us to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Some of the steps we can take right now include,
 

  • Wearing a mask especially when out in public
  • Avoiding crowds and minimizing contact with others
  • Staying at least six feet away from anyone not in your household
  • Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Staying away from unnecessary travel/social & work exposures

 
Due to the threat of COVID-19 in and around Irvine, CA, Dr. Strelzow and his ENT team have modified hours. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please do not call or try to come into our office. Instead, call your healthcare providers to discuss your symptoms and treatments. Those not at risk of Covid 19 exposure, and not experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus, however, can still turn to us for all of their Ear, Nose and Throat care needs.

By Victor Strelzow, MD
December 30, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: snoring   sleep apnea  

Could your nighttime antics be warning you of a more serious health problem?

Does your partner complain that you snore like a freight train? While this might seem funny (after all, we see lots of sitcoms that make fun of snoring), this problem can actually be serious. You could have a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. Our Irvine, CA, Stanford fellowship-trained Otolaryngologist Dr. Victor Strelzow specializes in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, so if you or someone you love is dealing with loud, disruptive snoring most nights of the week, then it’s time to see a doctor to find out if it could be due to obstructive sleep apnea.

Do all snorers have sleep apnea?

Not exactly. While it’s true that the vast majority of people with sleep apnea also snore, this doesn’t mean that everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnea. Of course, to determine whether sleep apnea is to blame for your snoring, you’ll need to visit our qualified ENT professional, Dr. Strelzow, for an evaluation.

Why does snoring happen?

Snoring occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat is too relaxed, which can cause it to block the airways. There are a few things that can constrict the airways, leading to snoring. These factors include,

  • Enlarged tonsils or uvula
  • Nasal congestion
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Taking sedatives
  • Being overweight or obese

When should I see a doctor about my snoring?

While snoring is something that everyone will experience occasionally if this is something that you deal with regularly then it’s time to consult your doctor. Snoring may be a concern if you are also,

  • Feeling exhausted throughout the day
  • You don’t wake up feeling refreshed despite getting enough sleep
  • You wake up with headaches
  • You have brain fog and memory problems

It’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you believe that you are dealing with sleep apnea, as untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk for accidents, heart attack, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke.

If you suspect that you or a loved one might have sleep apnea, you must seek treatment right away. Our Irvine, CA team can address your snoring and sleep problems and provide you with the Personalized Healthcare you need to get a better night’s rest. Call us at (949) 753-9299 to schedule an appointment.

By Victor Strelzow, MD
December 14, 2020
Category: ENT
Tags: Nasal Breathing  

Here’s what you should know about your nasal passages and common problems.

Are you having trouble breathing out of your nose? Whether you are a notorious mouth breather or you simply feel like your nose is blocked, there are many reasons why you may have trouble breathing normally through your nose. Here in Irvine, CA, our Stanford fellowship-trained Otolaryngologist Dr. Victor Strelzow specializes in treating snoring and sleep disorders that may affect your breathing.

Why don’t I feel like I can fully breathe through my nose?

This is a very common complaint. Of course, it’s necessary for our Irvine, CA, ENT team to be able to determine what’s causing your symptoms such as snoring or a stuffy nose and what could be causing it (e.g. sleep disorders; infection; structural abnormalities). The most common causes of a blocked or stuffy nose include,

  • Allergies
  • Common cold
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps

When you come into our office, our team will perform a thorough examination and inspect the inside of the nose to look for signs of a deviated septum or nasal polyps. We will also ask you various questions about your symptoms to determine whether your symptoms could be viral, bacterial, or due to allergies.

If our Irvine, CA team believes you may have allergies, allergy testing can be performed to determine what you’re allergic to. From there, allergy medication can be provided in the form of nasal steroid sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, or even allergy shots (for more severe allergy symptoms).

Structural abnormalities such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum may require surgery to remove the polyps or to correct the crooked septum. This is something that Dr. Strelzow and his team can discuss with you before you decide to undergo minor nasal surgery. In many instances, correcting these issues can greatly improve nasal breathing.

If you are having trouble breathing through your nose and this is something that you deal with regularly our Irvine, CA, clinic specializes in snoring, sleep disorders, and breathing problems. Call us today at (949) 753-9299 to schedule an evaluation.

By Victor Strelzow, MD
December 10, 2020
Category: General
Tags: head cancer   neck cancer  

Head and neck cancer is expected to affect more than 65,000 people in the U.S. this year, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. As with all types of cancer, prompt treatment is crucial. Your Irvine, CA, Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist, Dr. Victor Strelzow can often help determine the cause of your head and neck issues and perform further necessary testing and recommend appropriate treatments if cancer is the source of your problems.
 
Where do head and neck occur?
Head and neck cancer may affect the:

  • Throat
  • Neck
  • Larynx (voice box)
  • Tongue
  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Mouth
  • Salivary glands
  • Tonsils
  • Adenoids
  • Nasal cavity

What are the symptoms of head and neck cancer?
Symptoms vary depending on the type and location of cancer but might include:

  • Trouble swallowing or eating
  • A lump or bump in your head, neck, mouth, nose, or throat (Lumps should be evaluated even if they aren't painful.)
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • A cough that doesn't go away
  • Headaches
  • Trouble hearing
  • Ear pain
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Frequent sore throats
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness or voice changes

These symptoms can be caused by many conditions and illnesses, not just cancer.

What causes head and neck cancer?
It's not always possible to tell why someone has developed head and neck cancer. Drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking cigarettes, or using any form of tobacco can increase your risk of developing these cancers. In fact, at least 75 percent of head and neck cancers occur due to alcohol and tobacco use, according to the National Cancer Institute.

But other risk factors can include human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, radiation exposure of the head and neck, a family history of head and neck cancer, eating some types of salted or preserved foods during childhood, poor oral hygiene, or years of on-the-job exposure to formaldehyde, wood dust, asbestos, synthetic fibers, and other industrial materials.
 

How is head and neck cancer treated?
Many of the same therapies that work for other types of cancer are often also effective for head and neck cancer. Depending on the location and stage of cancer, your treatment plan may include chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy, and/or surgery.

Although surgery may be needed to save your life, it can affect normal function and appearance. During a visit to the Irvine ENT office, your doctor - who has advanced training from Stanford University, will usually recommend the least radical but still effective micro-invasive/Least destructive tissue-sparing techniques and often simultaneous reconstructive surgery to repair and restore the surgical site and function.
 
If you worried that you or a family member may have head and neck cancer, call a specially trained ENT in Irvine, CA, Dr. Victor Strelzow, MD., FACS, at (949) 753-9299 to schedule an appointment.
By Victor Strelzow, MD
December 09, 2020
Category: ENT
Tags: sinusitis  

Dealing with a sinus infection this winter? Relief is on the way!
 
During the wintertime, we often can’t turn on the TV without seeing a variety of commercials talking about cold and sinus medications. That’s because the colder weather mixed with the dry indoor air can often wreak havoc on your sinuses and make sinusitis worse. Fortunately, our Irvine, CA, 'Stanford fellowship trained Otolaryngologist'- Dr. Victor Strelzow MD, FACS, provides a wide range of sinusitis treatment options to help you get the relief that you need. Here’s what you should know about sinusitis.

Wintertime Makes Sinus Symptoms Worse

So, why are you dealing with more uncomfortable sinus symptoms during the colder months? There are several factors that you can blame:

Dry air: The air is definitely drier during the winter, which can cause the nasal passages to dry out. The best ways to combat this is by putting a humidifier in your home (the bedroom is one of the best places) and taking steam or hot showers to help open up the passageways.

Increased humidity or changes in air pressure: If winter brings a lot of rain and precipitation you better believe that these changes in air pressure are also going to cause problems for your sinuses. If you are dealing with sinus pain and pressure that gets worse during the wintertime, then these changes in air pressure may be to blame.
 
Dust: Now that it’s a bit colder out, everyone is rushing to snuggle up under blankets; however, everything from our carpeting and rugs to these blankets and winter bedding can easily collect dust, which can trigger sinus symptoms. It’s important that all bedding, rugs, blankets, and carpeting are properly and regularly cleaned to avoid getting dusty.

Using fireplaces and indoor heaters/furnaces: There’s a nip in the air so it’s time to cozy up next to a fireplace or turn up the heater, right? While this might sound much more comfortable, this can also further inflame the nasal passages. This is why an Ultrasonic humidifier and a HEPA air filter can go a long way to improve the quality of your indoor air.

Dietary changes: Wintertime is a time for comfort foods, especially during the holidays. You may find yourself drinking more red wine/beer/cocktails, grabbing bowls of chips & dip, or festive sweets; however, dairy, sugar, and alcohol can all increase inflammation within the body, which can make sinus problems worse. Try to avoid or at least moderate these inflammatory foods, whenever possible.


Viruses: Yes, the cold and flu that go around every year can also lead to sinus infections, so if you find yourself dealing with lingering sinus problems after recovering from a cold, this is a sign that a virus could be to blame.
 
Ways to Ease Sinusitis Symptoms This Winter

There are ways to tackle your sinusitis symptoms on your own. Based on the information above, you may have already found ways to improve your environment to improve your symptoms and that’s great! Other ways to treat your sinusitis, including sinusitis treatments our Irvine, CA, ENT doctor may provide include,

  • Pain relievers such as acetaminophen to ease sinus pain and pressure
  • Steroid nasal sprays to reduce inflammation
  • A neti-pot to clear congested nasal passages
  • Alter and adjust your home to improve air quality
  • Change your diet
  • Prescription-strength nasal sprays and decongestants
  • Antibiotics, if your sinusitis is due to a bacterial infection (not a virus)

If your at-home care isn’t giving you the relief you need, then it’s time to sit down with our Irvine, CA, ENT Nasal & Sinus specialized doctor to discuss sinusitis treatments to find the one that will best control your symptoms. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Victor Strelzow, call us today at (949) 753-9299.





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