Monday, November 28, 2011

Ask Us Anything: Am I Getting Sick?

"I've been waking up every morning with a dry, scratchy throat that goes away in the mid-afternoon. Am I getting sick?"

Registered Nurse Robert Mages Responds:

Your dry scratchy throat may not actually be you getting sick at all, but could have other root causes, such as allergens, irritants, dry air or excessive snoring.

My recommendations are as follows:

First, you may want to use a humidifier. If the air in and around your sleeping area is excessively dry, the increased humidification of the air would help to moisten and possibly sooth your throat. In the cooler months, we often turn on the heat, which causes increased dryness in the home and can lead to increased discomfort.

Second, try increased dusting, cleaning and vacuuming, especially if you own pets. Pet dander or dust could be the culprit.

Third, talk to your primary doctor to see if you may need a sleep study. The soreness could be from a partial obstruction of the respiratory structures that occurs when we are sleeping and vibrations from our breathing result in noise or snoring. Sleep studies are available at the Catholic Health sleep labs and in your own bed through some doctors' offices. Sleep studies can help to diagnosis sleep apnea and possibly help you to sleep more comfortably each night.

— Robert Mages, RN

Robert Mages is the Nurse Manager of the Open Heart Unit and Critical Care Unit at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo.

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