The United Kingdom has recently seen a surge of ear, nose, throat, and lung complications among the population and a lot of that has to do with the rising air pollution in the country. As London is experiencing very poor air quality these days, it is important to take note of certain ear, nose and throat problems that happen to be the most common and recurrent in the UK, so that we can take preventive measures and treat them accordingly.

Ear Infections

It may come as a surprise to many that ear infections are so common in the country, but once we take a look at the actual situation, the reasons become clearer. While most of the population is aware of the fact that the air outside is particularly toxic at certain times of the year and take precautions, such as wearing air filters and covering up their nose and mouth in the middle of London, the same cannot be said about ear protection. The air pollution does actually affect the ear canals as well, by clogging the Eustachian tube, and therefore, we have more cases of ear infections in the country than before.

If you or anyone else in your family is experiencing any of the symptoms of an ear infection such as pain, feeling of pressure inside the ear, discharge from the ear, nausea, fever, hearing problems and even loss of balance, you need to visit the team of ear specialists at 150 Harley Street ENT as soon as possible. The clinic is located right opposite to The London Clinic on 150 Harley Street in Marylebone, London. Not only does the clinic have some of UK’s top ENT specialists like Professor Tony Wright working there, but they even have the latest diagnostic and treatment equipment in the field as well. Do visit their website or put a call in to make an appointment first though.

Sore Throats

Sore throats can be symptomatic of a number of diseases, but most commonly, it is caused by the streptococci bacteria. In order to be sure of the cause, the nose and throat consultants at ENT 150 Harley Street will always perform a strep test first and just in case your doctor skips the test, it is best that you remind him/her of the same. After all, symptoms such as swallowing difficulties, swollen tonsils and lymph nodes, red and white dots on the tonsils, fever, pain, throat irritation, rashes, etc., can also be caused by viral infections, or even bacterial infections from a different strain.

However, you will likely not develop a runny nose if it is indeed a case of strep throat, but there is no guarantee of the fact that you have not caught the common cold virus and the streptococci infection at the same time, in which case, all symptoms will be there and you will need immediate medical attention.


Sinusitis is often triggered by pollution but can also be a result of catching a bad cold. If the bacteria manage to make their way into the sinus cavity, expect swelling, congestion, feeling of pressure and acute pain inside, as well as outside on the face, near the eyes and nose. Sinusitis can be made worse or triggered by a combination of catching a cold, being exposed to air pollution, and having an allergic reaction to the germs and pollutants. Those with chronic sinusitis should visit specialist nose and throat consultants to get the condition treated before it takes a more serious turn.

Sleep Apnea

The symptoms of sleep apnea are usually along the lines of sore throat and headaches in the morning, frequent breaks in sleep during the night, restless sleep and even mood swings or depression. Unlike all the other ENT problems mentioned on this list, sleep apnea can be caused by a birth defect or growth disorder known as a deviated septum, where the nasal septum is significantly crooked or deformed enough to make breathing through the nose difficult.

Snoring and sleep apnea are by far the two most common symptoms of a deviated septum, along with frequent throat infections, which are caused when the patient mostly breathes through his/her mouth due to the blockage. Other causes of sleep apnea include obesity, tonsil inflammations, and hypertension.

It is to be noted that the ENT health issues that we just discussed are not exclusive to the UK, nor have they only been on the rise in the UK. Air pollution is a worldwide problem, with some other places in the world suffering from practically unbreathable air quality outdoors. The good news is that in recognition of the problem, the UK Government has taken steps and they are proving to be effective in controlling the deteriorating air conditions in major cities.