Allergy Home Remedies

By | Allergies, Nose | No Comments

Peak allergy seasons in the south Fort Worth area tend to be in the fall and the spring.

While the most noticeable culprits are ragweed in the fall and Mountain Cedar blowing up from the Hill Country in the winter, seasonal allergy sufferers may experience symptoms year round. Knowing what you’re sensitive to makes it easier to avoid certain allergy triggers, but there’s always something in the air in Texas. For minor symptoms, try these home remedies. If you have chronic or severe allergic reactions, give us a call.

Rinse your sinuses

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Call it a Neti Pot or a sinus rinse, irrigating your nasal passages with a gentle, sterile saline solution washes away any pollen you may have breathed in throughout the day, minimizing the amount of time it has to become an irritant or make its way deeper into your respiratory system. Rinse your sinuses at the end of each day or after you’ve been exposed to something you know you’re sensitive to (e.g. pet dander, weeds, a dusty attic, etc.).

Shower before bed

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Changing clothes and showering before you go to bed serves the same purpose for the outside of your body that rinsing your sinuses does for your nasal passages. You’re simply washing off pollen that would otherwise be transferred to your bedsheets and pillows where you will breathe it in while you sleep.

Change the air filter regularly

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The HVAC system in your home is a primary line of defense against re-circulating allergens. Changing the air filter routinely keeps dust, pests, animal dander, and other allergens from circulating through your vents and into your home. It also helps your HVAC system run more efficiently.

Clean the air ducts

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If you live in an older home or you purchased your home from a smoker or pet-owner, a thorough air duct cleaning might be in order. Theoretically this process clears the ductwork of what air filters may have missed over the years.

Keep doors and windows closed

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Spring and fall are the best seasons in Texas to have your doors and windows open… unless you’re sensitive to pollen. Keeping the doors and windows closed minimizes the amount of pollen that blows into your home environment. In a situation where you need to air out your home, check the pollen count for the day to find the best day to do so.

Opt for indoor seating or activities

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For the same reasons, avoid patio seating and extended time outside. Believe it or not, Joe T’s has indoor seating.

Address leaks and water damage immediately

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Even individuals who aren’t sensitive to ragweed or Mountain Cedar may have a mold allergy. If you see any evidence of leaks under your sinks or in your ceiling, get them fixed as soon as possible. Mold spores thrive in a warm, moist environment. Texas humidity is a big enough challenge for those sensitive to mold spores without having to battle leaky plumbing, too.

That’s a lot of avoidance. It’s often inconvenient and can hinder social outings. These tips don’t solve the problems, but they help make life a bit more tolerable.

Of course, for medical advice on your specific allergy triggers and potential long-term solutions, call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Benke. He knows the south Fort Worth area (and all the allergy triggers here) well.

Strongly Recommended

By | Hearing Loss | No Comments

The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery strongly recommends you see an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.

Please call us so we can help you hear better!

How does the hearing sense work?

The aural or hearing-sense is a complex and intricate process. The ear is made up of three sections: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. These parts work together so you can hear and process sounds. The outer ear, or pinna (the part you can see), picks up sound waves and the waves then travel through the outer ear canal.

When the sound waves hit the eardrum in the middle ear, the eardrum starts to vibrate. When the eardrum vibrates, it moves three tiny bones in your ear. These bones are called the hammer (or malleus), anvil (or incus), and stirrup (or stapes). They help sound move along on its journey into the inner ear.

The vibrations then travel to the cochlea, which is filled with liquid and lined with cells that have thousands of tiny hairs on their surfaces. The sound vibrations make the tiny hairs move. The hairs then change the sound vibrations into nerve signals, so your brain can interpret the sound.

What can I do to improve my hearing?

  1. Eliminate or lower unnecessary noises around you.
  2. Let friends and family know about your hearing loss and ask them to speak slowly and more clearly.
  3. Ask people to face you when they are speaking to you, so you can watch their faces and see their expressions.
  4. Utilize sound amplifying devices on phones.
  5. Use personal listening systems to reduce background noise.

Tips to maintain hearing health

  1. If you work in noisy places or commute to work in noisy traffic or construction, choose quiet leisure activities instead of noisy ones.
  2. Develop the habit of wearing earplugs when you know you will be exposed to noise for a long time.
  3. Earplugs quiet about 25 dB of sound and can mean the difference between a dangerous and a safe level of noise.
  4. Try not to use several noisy machines at the same time.
  5. Try to keep television sets, stereos and headsets low in volume.
Reprinted from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Web site with permission of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, copyright © 2003.

Hearing – Fine

By | Hearing Loss | No Comments

Your hearing is fine. No action is required.

How does the hearing sense work?

The aural or hearing-sense is a complex and intricate process. The ear is made up of three sections: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. These parts work together so you can hear and process sounds. The outer ear, or pinna (the part you can see), picks up sound waves and the waves then travel through the outer ear canal.

When the sound waves hit the eardrum in the middle ear, the eardrum starts to vibrate. When the eardrum vibrates, it moves three tiny bones in your ear. These bones are called the hammer (or malleus), anvil (or incus), and stirrup (or stapes). They help sound move along on its journey into the inner ear.

The vibrations then travel to the cochlea, which is filled with liquid and lined with cells that have thousands of tiny hairs on their surfaces. The sound vibrations make the tiny hairs move. The hairs then change the sound vibrations into nerve signals, so your brain can interpret the sound.

What can I do to improve my hearing?

  1. Eliminate or lower unnecessary noises around you.
  2. Let friends and family know about your hearing loss and ask them to speak slowly and more clearly.
  3. Ask people to face you when they are speaking to you, so you can watch their faces and see their expressions.
  4. Utilize sound amplifying devices on phones.
  5. Use personal listening systems to reduce background noise.

Tips to maintain hearing health

  1. If you work in noisy places or commute to work in noisy traffic or construction, choose quiet leisure activities instead of noisy ones.
  2. Develop the habit of wearing earplugs when you know you will be exposed to noise for a long time.
  3. Earplugs quiet about 25 dB of sound and can mean the difference between a dangerous and a safe level of noise.
  4. Try not to use several noisy machines at the same time.
  5. Try to keep television sets, stereos and headsets low in volume.
Reprinted from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Web site with permission of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, copyright © 2003.

Ringing in the New Year?

By | Hearing Loss | No Comments

Do it without ringing in your ears…

If you’re one of the 36 million Americans who suffer from annoying ringing in the ears, you might be suffering from tinnitus or abnormal ear noise. In almost all cases, you’re the only one hearing the noise. It could be chirping, whistling, buzzing, or ringing—high pitched or low pitched.

But the good news is—tinnitus is very common and there is something you can do about it.

You can start by making an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) like Dr. Ted Benke of Benke ENT Clinic in Cleburne. Dr. Benke starts by looking at your medications and making sure there’s not an underlying medical issue causing the tinnitus.

Once Dr. Benke rules out any medicine or medical issue, he will schedule you to see our university-trained Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) to see if you’re experiencing hearing loss, because often hearing loss is the reason for tinnitus.

“We narrow it down and then talk to the patient about their options to make tinnitus easier to live with,” Benke said.  “If it’s just from hearing loss, there’s no total cure for it, but we can work with the patient to give them strategies for living with it—to make it more bearable.

“One of the best ways is with a hearing device, which may seem odd, because the patient thinks the sound is in their ear, but it’s really in their brain. With a hearing device, we re-introduce those sounds to the brain again and give your brain something else to listen to so you don’t notice the tinnitus as much.

“Some of the devices even have sound generators that produce white noise, which over time has been shown to reduce the irritation caused by tinnitus.”

Our audiologist recalls  “one patient who was so stressed out over the ringing in her ears that she couldn’t sleep. She came to see me in tears, because it was so bad. She ended up getting the hearing device that created white noise, and she came back six months later and was almost a different person. She said the combination of the hearing device and talking to someone helped her deal with her tinnitus.”

In many cases the hearing device is enough to make the patient’s tinnitus more bearable.

“In some cases, we need to add the hearing aid with a customizable tinnitus sound generator to give you a tailored solution.”

If you’ve been living with abnormal ear noise or tinnitus and don’t want to live with it anymore, call Benke ENT today for an appointment and to schedule a complete diagnostic hearing test.

They offer free hearing screening when you call the Audiology and Hearing Center at Benke ENT at 817-641-3750. Their office is located at 1317 Glenwood Drive, next to Dr. Michael Glover’s dentist office.

Benke ENT accepts most insurances and Medicare.

Is it cold or sinus? Dr. Benke knows the nose

By | Nose, Sinusitis | No Comments

By Jami Shelton

If you’ve ever had a cold or allergy attack that just wouldn’t go away, there’s a good chance you may have actually had sinusitis. Over 37 million people get it each year, making it one of the most common health conditions in America, but how do you know you have it, and how do you get relief? Just ask Dr. Benke; he knows the nose.

As a board certified pediatric and adult otolaryngologist/head and neck surgeon, Dr. Ted Benke is a physician concerned with medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck.

In other words, he’s the go-to-guy for all things ‘nose,’ and since colds, allergies and sinusitis all affect the nose, Benke can tell you which one you have and how to treat it.

“Symptoms of sinusitis sometimes mimic those of colds and allergies, so you may not even realize you need to see a doctor,” Benke said. “Colds are characterized by a runny nose, coughing and nasal congestion and can go away on their own or with over-the-counter medication, but allergies can also cause a runny nose.

“Allergies can be a big nuisance, especially now with mountain cedar levels high, but with sinusitis, a patient needs an appropriate antibiotic.”

Benke said patients with sinusitis often complain of facial pain or pressure, sometimes even pain in their upper teeth.

“They may have fever, headache or swelling around their eyes. But the main thing we notice is color of their nasal discharge. It’s typically a thick yellow-green color.

“If a person has what they think is a cold, but it lasts more than 10 days, it’s probably sinusitis. It can start out as a cold, allergy attack or nasal irritation caused by something in the environment—in fact, many times those lead to a sinus infection.

“Normally mucus that collects in the sinuses drains into the nasal passages. But, when you have a cold or allergy attack, your sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain properly, and that leads to congestion and often, infection.”

Benke said with bacterial sinusitis, patients need an antibiotic, coupled with saline nasal spray. We often add a nasal steroid for acute sinusitis as well as for most chronic sinusitis patients.

“Of course, to prevent your cold or allergy attack from turning into sinusitis, remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So keep your sinuses clear using an oral decongestant or a short course of nasal spray decongestant for no more than three days, gently blow your nose, blocking one nostril while blowing through the other, and drink plenty of fluids to keep the nasal discharge thin, or use a saline spray three times a day.”

He also said to try to avoid contact with things that might trigger an allergy attack, but if you can’t, then use over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines and/or a prescription nasal spray to control allergy attacks.

If you have sinusitis frequently or when the infection lasts three months or more, Benke said, it could be chronic sinusitis, which can cause irreversible changes that may require surgery to repair.

“If surgery is necessary because the nasal obstruction cannot be corrected with medication, we do it using an endoscope, where we can look directly into the nose, while at the same time, removing diseased tissue and polyps and clearing the narrow channels between the sinuses.”

For more information or an appointment for sinusitis, allergies or other chronic problems like ear infections and hearing loss, snoring and facial and neck lesions and tumors or audiology services, including for infants and children, diagnostic hearing tests, a complete line of hearing aids and evaluation and treatment for vertigo, call Benke ENT Clinic at 817-641-3750 or go to contact us.

Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic is located at 1317 Glenwood Drive, next door to Dr. Michael Glover.

Warm Weather means more cases of Swimmer’s Ear

By | Hearing Loss | No Comments

As more and more people hit the beach or pool in an attempt to stay cool this summer, they may get an earful—of water, that is. And that earful just may cause swimmer’s ear.

But Dr. Ted Benke of Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic has some tips and a home remedy to help.

“Water can get into the ear for a variety of reasons,” Benke said. “It’s not just after swimming; it can be after washing your hair or simply showering. Usually the water runs back out and the ear dries out, but if it doesn’t the ear can stay soggy and that’s when bacteria and fungi grow and flourish and cause problems.”

Benke said symptoms of swimmer’s ear may include an ear that feels blocked or itchy, or the ear may begin draining a runny milky liquid.

“The ear can become painful and tender to touch, especially on the cartilage in front of the ear canal. And sometimes, the ear can become so swollen that it can swell shut.”

If a person is experiencing those symptoms or if the glands in the neck become swollen, Benke says it’s time to call your doctor.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, however,” Benke said. “If your ear feels like it has water in it after swimming or showering or if it feels blocked, try this home remedy.

“Make a solution of a 1:1 ratio of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar and put it into a dropper. The alcohol will evaporate the water and the vinegar kills the germs. Then, tilt your head sideways with the ear up, pull the ear upward and backward and put a drop in each ear.”

A dry ear is much less likely to get infected, he said, but he insists there are better ways to dry the ear than using a cotton swab.

“You shouldn’t use Q-tips because they pack material deeper in the narrow ear canal, irritate the thin skin of the canal and can make it weep or bleed.”

If swimmer’s ear is a recurrent problem, Benke recommends putting oily or lanolin ear drops in the ears prior to swimming to protect them from the effects of the water.

“If you have an ear infection or have had a perforated eardrum or otherwise injured eardrum or have had ear surgery, it’s best to consult an ear, nose and throat specialist before swimming or using any type of eardrops.”

Benke said people with itchy, flaky ears or ears that have wax build up are more likely to get swimmer’s ear.

“Those people need to be especially conscientious about using the alcohol ear drops whenever water gets trapped in their ears. It may also help for them to have their ears cleaned out each year before the swimming season begins.”

Another ear problem that he sees a lot, Benke said, is itchy ears.

“Itchy ears are a common complaint, I hear, and they can be very frustrating. Sometimes it’s caused by fungus or allergies, but most commonly, it is a chronic dermatitis or skin inflammation of the ear canal. One type is a condition similar to dandruff. The wax is dry and flaky—and there’s lots of it. I tell patients to avoid foods that aggravate it, like greasy foods, sugars, starches and chocolate.”

Benke said that although there is no cure, it can be controlled by a cortisone eardrop used at bedtime when the ears itch.

For more information or an appointment with Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic, call 817-641-3750.

Secure Horizons & AARP update on Hi Health Innovations

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WARNING CONCERNING HEALTH INNOVATIONS HEARING AID BENEFITS 

WARNING to all United Healthcare (UHC) members with hearing aid benefits from hi Health Innovations through the following plans:  Secure Horizons and AARP Medicare Complete from Secure Horizons.   This letter is to inform you of our policy with Secure Horizons concerning hearing aid benefits, as well as providing you information concerning hi Health Innovations for hearing aids.

Our clinic is not contracted with Secure Horizons for hearing aids.  In the past, we were honoring our patient’s Secure Horizons’ hearing aid benefits, but at this time we are no longer able to do that under the new program, hi Health Innovations .  Under this new program, hi Health Innovations , we are still able to bill for annual hearing tests and other Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) services provided by Benke ENT.  The new program has affected how we can handle benefits concerning the purchase of hearing instruments.  Basically, the new program removes us completely from the process of helping you select the right hearing instrument/s for your particular hearing loss, along with the process of fitting and service to your hearing instrument/s concerning the care and maintenance of your hearing instrument/s.

According to the new program, “As a UHC MEDICARE ADVANTAGE plan holder…you can pay smaller, predictable co-pay for hearing aids from hi Health Innovations. ” This means that you will receive your hearing instruments/hearing aids from this program and not from any local provider, audiologists, or hearing aid specialists.   The new program, hi Health Innovations , offers hearing aids at two different copayment options.  They offer $110 co-pay for behind the ear hearing instruments and another offer of $160 co-pay for open fit in the canal aid, which is limited to two aids per year.

Each part of the hearing aid process goes through hi Health Innovations program, so at this time our hands are tied.  Based on the information for policy holders, “ hi Health Innovations offers a variety of popular models that are programmed to your personal hearing needs.  You can also enjoy the convenience of having your hearing aid sent directly to your home.”  They provide you with very limited information concerning the entire process of purchasing hearing aids and any further services provided after purchasing the hearing aids through their program.

You are not obligated to use your UHC benefits.  If you so chose, you may purchase hearing aids directly from Benke ENT; however, you will not be able to use your UHC benefits.  The patient is totally responsible for any hearing aid or hearing instrument services provided by Benke ENT.  Benke ENT Clinic, strongly recommends that you carefully read over your plan and options concerning hearing instruments that are available through hi Health Innovations before you decide to purchase hearing instruments through this program as part of UHC.

We want you to be happy, healthy, and well informed patients and we want to provide you with the best quality of service possible; therefore, we feel that it is our responsibility to inform you of these changes and how these changes affect your benefits concerning the purchase of hearing aids.

Hearing Aids: Why won’t Dad get them?

By | Hearing Loss | No Comments

Advice worth “hearing”by Katy Cosse
University of Cincinnati Magazine

Initial warning signs that a parent may need hearing aids are often misleading: Dad insists you never told him about an upcoming event, or Mom does not want to eat in restaurants anymore. The real issues are that Dad did not hear your announcement, and Mom can no longer hear in crowds.

Hearing aids may seem like a simple solution to the kids, who crave any device that can improve their lives, but Mom and Dad are rarely eager to embrace this particular technology.

“Unfortunately, Dad’s idea of hearing aids probably involves a large, boxy device that emits feedback, has to be turned down for loud noises and whose use may have been discouraged by his physician,” says John Greer Clark, assistant professor of audiology at the College of Allied Health Sciences.

He also probably thinks that they will not help him. Decades ago, most hearing aids did not help “nerve deafness,” or its more accurate term “sensorineural hearing loss,” Clark says.

But more than 95 percent of those who successfully wear hearing aids today have nerve deafness. Newer digital circuitry in the aids not only tailors sound to an individual’s hearing loss, but also compresses intense sound before it reaches the amplifier, automatically reducing the sound level. This innovation has largely done away with volume controls on aids.

“There are also many older people who weren’t guided properly in the selection and use of hearing aids and who failed to adapt to the new sounds they were hearing,” Clark says. That outcome is rare today with the new technology, he adds, but if Dad has heard of one person who failed with hearing aids, it can be difficult to believe that it won’t happen to him.

In that case, he should be reminded of the many benefits hearing aids now provide. “The use of hearing aids does more than just improve hearing,” Clark says. “Research has shown that hearing aid use increases the satisfaction of one’s home and social lives, employment productivity and overall health status.”

If a friend or family member is reluctant to try hearing aids, Clark recommends encouraging them to talk with an audiologist, who can arrange for a fitting or a even 30-60 day trial period with hearing aids. Many audiologists will offer patients a refund if they don’t find the aids beneficial.

“I know that both my reluctant mother and my uncle, who was similarly averse to the use of hearing aids, now readily provide strong testimony to all of their friends of the improvements better hearing has brought to their lives.”

Articles

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Did you read about us in the News?

Ringing in the New Year?

If you’re one of the 36 million Americans who suffer from annoying ringing in the ears, you might be suffering from tinnitus or abnormal ear noise.

Get a Free Hearing Screening at Benke ENT During Open House

If you’ve been putting off having a hearing test, Benke ENT is giving you a good reason not to put it off any longer.

10 Years of Dizziness Cured in 10 Minutes

Cleburne resident Garland Hunt had been walking into walls for 10 years, suffering from severe dizziness. But he had been walking into walls figuratively, too, as he sought help from doctor after doctor to no avail.

Benke Ear, Nose & Throat moving to new Cleburne location

Dr. Ted Benke is on the move. But not just him. His whole medical practice is moving. The medical ENT practice he opened in October 2000 after retiring from the Air Force will be moving to a new location later this month.

Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Opens New Hearing & Balance Center

If your hearing isn’t as good as it once was, you may be thinking of getting a hearing aid. But with all the different choices of assistive listening devices on the market today, where do you go to find out what’s right for you?

Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Welcomes new Doctor of Audiology

Lots of exciting things are happening at Benke Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic in Cleburne. Construction on their brand new building, located next to Dr. Michael Glover, has been going on all summer and they will be relocating late this year. But there’s more.

Benke ENT Taking Appointments

Have you ever been with family or friends, listening to a story or laughing at a joke—only to miss the punch line because you can’t hear as well as you used to. Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic wants to help you change that so you can join in the conversation like you used to.

Beware of the Q-tip

If you’re like many people, after your shower you reach for a Q-tip to dry your ears. But did you know that simple practice could cause the wax in your ears to get impacted? It can.

Can’t Hear as Well as You Used To?

The painless process of hearing loss develops gradually over a period of years, and that’s why sometimes the last person to realize the problem is the person suffering from it.

Check Those Tonsils!

Chronic infectious tonsillitis, sinusitis, snoring, behavior problems, breathing problems, bed wetting.

Cosmetic Plastic and Reconstructive Skin Cancer Surgery

Whoever said too much of a good thing can be a bad thing probably wasn’t talking about the hot Texas sun, but ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr. Ted Benke, said he could have been.

Delta Hearing Device

Dr. Ted Benke of Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic is proud to announce the introduction of the new Delta hearing device.

Is it cold or sinus? Dr. Benke knows the nose

If you’ve ever had a cold or allergy attack that just wouldn’t go away, there’s a good chance you may have actually had sinusitis. Over 37 million people get it each year, making it one of the most common health conditions in America, but how do you know you have it, and how do you get relief? Just ask Dr. Benke; he knows the nose.

Do Noses Run in Your Family?

If you’ve suffered with allergies for years but have put off treatment and opted instead for over-the-counter remedies, it’s time to get serious about treating your allergies.

Don’t Ignore Your Snore Anymore

Feeling tired and don’t know why? Maybe it’s because you’ve been snoring. Yes, you! It may not be your spouse’s snoring that’s keeping you up. Maybe it’s your own.

Dr. Benke’s Otomobile Brings Mobile Hearing Screenings to Area Businesses

When Dr. Ted Benke received a call four years ago from Barbara Rose, Human Resource Director of then Ponderosa Pine Energy, now Brazos Electric, asking if he did mobile hearing screening for companies, his answer was, “not currently.”

Dr. Ted Benke Happy to Call Cleburne Home

From his earliest days as an altar boy, Eagle Scout and later as a student at Jesuit High School in Dallas, Dr. Ted Benke was always comfortable in uniform. So it was only natural that after graduating from Baylor with a degree in biology, he’d accept an Air Force scholarship to attend medical school in return for a few years of service.

Get Serious About Treating Your Allergies

Do noses run in your family? Then, get serious about treating your allergies by calling an ENT allergy specialist right here in Cleburne.

Lump in Your Throat? You Could Have Acid Reflux

If you feel a lump in your throat and you’re not crying, you may be like Cleburne resident Jan Swanson. She had the annoying feeling of having a lump in her throat for months before she sought help.

Relief for Chronic Stuffy Noses Without Medications

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffers from allergies or similar conditions, you know the frustration of not being able to breathe properly because of a stuffy nose. It can also be frustrating because some medicines offer only temporary relief.

Sun-related Skin Cancer on the Rise

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, affecting over 1 million people this year in the US alone. It is the number one cause of cancer deaths in women aged 25-30 but can target anyone.

Warm Weather Means More Cases of Swimmer’s Ears

As more and more people hit the beach or pool in an attempt to stay cool this summer, they may get an earful—of water, that is. And that earful just may cause swimmer’s ear. But Dr. Ted Benke of Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic has some tips and a home remedy to help.