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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Throat problems

01/26/2010

Question:

I have been feeling sick since the beginning of November. I have a cough producing mucous, have a hoarse voice, am short of breath, have a low-grade fever(100*), a sore throat, snot running down the back of my throat, chills that come randomly, plugged ears, my chest hurts, i`m extremely tired and feel like my heart is beating really fast. I have been diagnosed with Bronchitis and Laryngitis back in November and have been on 3 antibiotics(2 Z-packs and Amoxicillan) with no relief. I do take singulair and proventil as needed for exercise induced asthma. What could this be, and what can I do to treat the symptoms and get rid of this once and for all? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time.

Answer:

While it is difficult for me to develop a working diagnosis based on limited information and no physical exam, I will give you my immediate thoughts.  Whenever I encounter a story like this, I immediately think of acid reflux as a major contributor to the story.  Acid reflux will present with many of your symptoms and does not respond well to antibiotics.  It does not typically give low grade temps but that could be caused by a cold which you very easily could have had at some time over the last 2-3 months.  This diagnosis is best made by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who can look at your voice box thoroughly and make sure that these problems are not indicative of something more serious.  The treatment is with antacid medications like Nexium, Protonix and even Zantac.  Alternatively, you could be treated with supplements and herbal products.

I also think about food allergies and stress contributing to your overall state of malaise.  Many people have food allergies and are not aware of them until they are tested.  Dietary changes can make a huge difference in the way you feel if indeed certain foods are at fault.

Vitamin D deficiency in the United States is at epidemic levels.  This vitamin (hormone) is responsible for many normal pathways in the body such that its deficiency leads to many breakdowns and disease processes.

I suggest starting with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist because that might bring about the quickest relief for you.

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Response by:

Keith M Wilson, MD Keith M Wilson, MD
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Head and Neck Division
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati