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Ask Doctor Cory.

Dear Dr. Cory:

I get a stuffy nose a lot. Why do I sound like Kermit the frog when I have a stuffy nose?
Tricia R.
Waldorf, Maryland


Dear Tricia:

Inside the bones around your nose and eyes are eight air-filled spaces called sinuses. They are connected to the nose by small openings and drain fluids through the nose.

The main purpose of the sinuses is to lighten the weight of the bones in your skull. They also vibrate when you speak. This gives depth to your voice. If you place your hands on your face while you make vowel sounds, you can feel your sinuses vibrate.

The sinuses are lined with mucous membrane and tiny hairs called cilia. The membrane makes a thick liquid called mucus. The mucus and the cilia help to wash away bacteria, dust, and other particles that you might breathe in.

As a result of an infection like a cold, the sinus linings become swollen. This traps the mucus and blocks up your sinuses. When your sinuses are blocked, they don't vibrate as they normally do when you speak. This makes your voice sound flat.

Dear Dr. Cory:

Why do some people get less pox when they get the chickenpox and some people get more? What causes poliomyelitis, and what happens when you get polio?
Fanny Tang
New York, New York


Dear Fanny:

Chickenpox is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus. It is not known why some people have a milder form of the infection than others. Chickenpox is often more severe in adults and teenagers, as well as in people who are fighting another disease, such as cancer. It can also be more severe in other family members. For example, if a child caught chickenpox and brought it home to a brother or a sister, the brother or the sister would probably have a more severe infection.

A vaccine protects us from getting chickenpox. Babies can get this vaccine between the ages of twelve and eighteen months. Older children who have not yet had chickenpox can also get the vaccine.

Poliomyelitis or polio can be caused by three different types of polioviruses. Before the polio vaccine was available, many people had contact with the poliovirus. Often the infection was so mild that people did not know they had it. Occasionally some people developed a more serious form of the disease that caused paralysis. Paralysis means losing the ability to move or feel parts of the body. Before the polio vaccine, people lived in fear of the type of polio that paralyzed the breathing muscles. Only an iron lung machine could help them breathe. Thanks to the invention of the poliovirus vaccine, polio is rare in the United States.

Sincerely,

Cory SerVaas, M.D.

Send your health questions to: "Ask Doctor Cory," U*S*Kids, P.O. Box 567, Indianapolis, IN 46206. This column does not replace your doctor's advice.3
COPYRIGHT 1999 Children's Better Health Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:U.S. Kids
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:488
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