Refilwe Moloto spoke with ENT specialist Dr. Sibulele Cezula about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the trends she’s been seeing as we emerge from two years of lockdown.

Doctors who treat ear, nose and throat (ENT) infections are seeing more and more patients with respiratory tract infections.

When the lockdown started in 2020, ENT specialists saw a drastic decrease in the number of patients and a reduction in other respiratory tract infections.

Indeed, upper respiratory tract infections have spread in the same way as the COVID-19 virus.

Refilwe Moloto spoke with ENT specialist Dr Sibulele Cezula about the impact of the Covid pandemic and the trends she was seeing as we emerged from two years of lockdown.

With everything opening up, it’s like we’re back to normal. We start to see a lot of infections affecting the sinuses, tonsils, pharynx or larynx.

Dr Sibulele Cezula, ENT specialist

If you have had a severe case of COVID-19, you are more than likely to have long covid. ENT doctors are increasingly seeing patients with nasal congestion, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, eustachian tube dysfunction, and reduced odor, as a result of COVID-19.

The nerves responsible for smell come out at the top of the nose and are quite exposed to the environment. We find that people’s sense of smell is also affected by other respiratory tract infections. Sometimes the smell comes back.

Dr Sibulele Cezula, ENT specialist

Importantly, if you have odor reduction, you should see an ENT specialist. The reason for this is that there could be other things causing the odor reduction. You might have growths, polyps, or brain tumors, causing a reduction in smell.

Dr Sibulele Cezula, ENT specialist

Early detection and regular visits are vital. Dr Cezula urged people to pay attention to their bodies for signs of illness. The field of ENT is not only specific to the ears, nose and throat, it also includes all aspects of the mouth. If there are bumps on the neck, these could also be indicators of a condition in the throat.

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