woman with sore throat

Winter is the season for sniffles, scratchy throats, and earaches — often all at once!

And with good reason: our ears, nose, and throat all are connected and affect each other greatly. Otolaryngologists (also known as ear, nose, and throat doctors or ENTs) are physicians who specialize in caring for this complex, interrelated system.

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Test Your Ear, Nose, and Throat Knowledge with this Quick Quiz

Who gets earaches more often — children or adults?

Nearly every child experiences at least one ear infection between infancy and the age of five — something weary parents know firsthand. Because children have shorter, straighter Eustachian tubes (which connect the nose to the ears), it’s easier for bacteria to migrate into their ears.

Why are you more likely to get a nosebleed in winter?

The same heated indoor air that makes your home cozy in winter also can dehydrate the inside of your nose. It can become crusted or cracked, or can even bleed. A dry nose makes you more susceptible to germs, so exercise good nose care. Lightly coat the inside with petroleum jelly. Over-the-counter saline mists and sprays (not decongestants) also are helpful.

Will antibiotics cure laryngitis?

Most cases of laryngitis are caused by viral infections that make the vocal cords swell — so antibiotics are ineffective. Your best course of action? Drink plenty of fluids, rest, and cut back on talking. Straining your voice when you have acute laryngitis can damage your vocal cords.

About Ear Nose and Throat

Ear, Nose, and Throat Services at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside ranks among the best nationally on U.S. News & World Report’s listings. Our team includes board-certified physicians and highly skilled speech-language pathologists and audiologists. We treat a variety of ear, nose, and throat conditions in both children and adults and provide both surgical and non-surgical options. Our doctors also take part in research and clinical trials. We have locations throughout western Pennsylvania for patient convenience.