My Blog

By Steven M Dawson, MD
June 10, 2021
Category: Sleep Conditions
Tags: sleep apnea  

Sleep apnea, more specifically, obstructive sleep apnea (OTA) occurs when your airway becomes obstructed as you sleep. A number of factors put you at greater risk for sleep apnea. They can be managed with the help of your doctor. If you would like to learn more, contact Dr. Steven Dawson in Kirkland, WA.

Risk Factors

A recurring theme among risk factors is the way they can interfere with your airway's regular function. Being overweight is one of the most common factors as fat deposits around the neck can constrict your airway. Your tongue can also obstruct your breathing, which can happen if you have a large tongue or have an overbite. This is because of the position of your lower jaw.


Because of the way sleep apnea affects your ability to sleep, the more immediate problems you may face are those related to sleep deprivation. Such as irritability and drowsiness during the day. Forgetfulness, problems with concentration, and even headaches are possible. Sleep apnea can also put you at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.


Weight loss and exercise are always excellent first steps toward managing your risk factors. An oral appliance can help when the condition is not as severe by keeping your airway clear as you sleep. Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) is also very effective, using a machine that connects to a mask you wear at night that keeps a constant flow of air coming in to help you sleep. Severe conditions may require surgical intervention.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Kirkland, WA

If you are having trouble sleeping, if you snore, or suspect sleep apnea then come into the office for a consultation today. Make an appointment with Dr. Dawson in Kirkland, WA, by dialing 425-899-3838.

By Steven M Dawson, MD
March 04, 2021
Category: ENT
Tags: Sinus Surgery  

Are you allergic to just about everything, experience signs of hay fever almost daily, or have sinuses that act up when it gets wet outside? Sinus problems could be the cause. When symptoms like nasal congestion, lethargy, headaches, runny nose, or mouth-breathing become chronic (they bother you for longer than three months), Dr. Steven Dawson can help you reach a diagnosis and do something about it.

Sinus surgery might not be a favorite phrase for Kirkland, WA, patients to hear, but it has the potential to reduce pain, improve sleep quality, and alleviate other-related symptoms.

Is Sinus Surgery Right for Me?

If you sneeze more often than not, it could be due to an underlying sinus infection, sinusitis, polyps (growths) with the nasal cavity, or structural problems, such as a deviated septum. One or more of these issues can disrupt daily activities for hours on end, and cause frustration for the sufferer.

When decongestants, antihistamines, and irrigations, such as flushing with a neti-pot don't offer any relief, Dr. Dawson may recommend sinus surgery to improve your drainage system. But first, he'll perform a physical exam that consists of x-rays that allow him to see all the structures inside your nose and nasal passages. If you're able to move forward with sinus surgery, this non-invasive endoscopic procedure designed to clear blockages and remove excess mucus takes place in our Kirkland, WA, office. Dr. Dawson will also address any questions or concerns during your initial visit.

If you've been plagued by frequent sinus infections or sinusitis, it might be time to discuss treatment options. Whether it be via sinus surgery or another method, the goal is to open the sinuses' natural pathways, equipping you with relief and comfort.

If you've never visited an ENT and would like to learn more about other conditions treated and services provided in our Kirkland, WA office, visit our website. Please call 425-899-3838 for appointment scheduling.

By Steven M Dawson, MD
January 06, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Ear Infection  

Ear infections are one of the more common acute ENT problems. At Dr. Steven Dawson's office in Kirkland, WA, we see and treat scores of ear infections--from swimmer's ear to otitis media and problems associated with the internal ear. Let us help you or your child feel better and stay healthy.

The middle ear

It's composed of the eardrum, a movable membrane that receives sound, and tiny bones that move sound waves to the auditory nerve. Your outer ear consists of the ear canal and the outer structure which is visible.

Bacteria or viruses from upper respiratory infections, the common cold, or the flu invade the ear and cause infections. Middle ear infections are known as otitis media. An outer ear infection, or swimmer's ear, results from retained water and sand in the cartilage of the ear and ear canal.

Signs of an ear infection

Otitis media has distinct symptoms, particularly in children. They include:

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Irritability
  • Pulling at the ear
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Drainage
  • Muffled hearing

Dr. Dawson will look inside the ear with a lighted otoscope. With otitis media, the eardrum typically looks bulging and dull, and the presence of fluid may impede its movement. Also, he may perform a simple, painless tympanogram which sends a tone into the ear and notes the amount of rebound from the eardrum.

Treating an ear infection

Be sure to control fever with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Rest, and apply a warm compress to the affected side. Also, Dr. Dawson may prescribe an antibiotic if symptoms do not resolve within two to three days.

Additionally, some children who suffer repeat ear infections may benefit from ventilation, or tympanostomy, tubes. These tiny tubes keep the eardrums patent, avoiding the accumulation of fluid and microbes. Also, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that children benefit from pneumonia and flu vaccines to protect against the illnesses themselves and the ear infections which often follow them.

Contact our ENT office in Kirkland, WA

Dr. Steven Dawson and his team will help you or your child feel better and have all the benefits of healthy ears. Call us right away if ear pain and fever persist. We know how to help. Phone (425) 899-3838.

By Steven M Dawson, MD
September 08, 2020
Category: Sleep Conditions
Tags: sleep apnea  

Loud snoring and daytime fatigue are things you shouldn’t ignore, as they may be signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common condition in which you unconsciously stop breathing for short periods as you sleep. If left untreated, it could lead to major health issues.

With this in mind, a thorough evaluation with Dr. Steven Dawson here at Steven M Dawson MD in Kirkland, WA, is needed to check your sleep apnea risk and your particular symptoms. Fortunately, you can try various treatment options to manage your condition.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Sleep Apnea

If you are dealing with a mild case of sleep apnea, your Kirkland ENT may advise you to make lifestyle changes including:

  • Keeping a Healthy Weight. Being over a healthy weight could heighten your risk of having narrow nasal passages and airway obstruction. On the other hand, keeping a healthy weight has been proven to significantly minimize the symptoms of sleep apnea.
  • Changing your Sleeping Position. This might seem like a minimal change, yet it can still be effective in reducing your symptoms. Try sleeping on your side since sleeping on your back could aggravate your condition.
  • Refrain from Drinking Alcohol. Alcohol intake can worsen your symptoms since it relaxes the muscles in your throat, which contributes to poor airflow.
  • Do Not Smoke. Smoking can cause inflammation in your airway, thus, obstructing proper airflow. Not to mention all the nasty risks it poses to your overall health.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

As the most common form of treatment for keeping sleep apnea under control, CPAP is used to treat moderate to more serious sleep apnea cases. It involves wearing a mask over your nose and mouth as you sleep. The CPAP device provides constant airflow that keeps your airway open, helping you breathe properly.

Other Breathing Devices for Treating Sleep Apnea

For individuals who can’t stand CPAP therapy or are not an eligible candidate for it, your sleep apnea doctor in Kirkland, WA, may suggest these alternatives for managing your sleep apnea:

  • Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP or BPAP). This functions similarly to the CPAP device but instead utilizes a particular amount of pressure upon inhalation and a lower amount of pressure upon exhalation.
  • Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP). These devices are placed on the nostrils to aid in keeping your airway open. They can only be used once.
  • Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV). This device records details about your regular breathing pattern and utilizes airflow pressure to keep your airway open or to provide you with breath when necessary.

Oral Appliances

Custom-created dental devices are also an effective and comfortable way to keep your airway open. The two most typical types of oral appliances used for sleep apnea management are the tongue retaining device (TRD) and the mandibular advancement device (MAD). These function by holding your lower jaw and tongue forward while you sleep.


A variety of available surgical procedures can be done to alter the size of your airway. These usually involve the removal of excess tissue inside your nose or the back of your throat, tonsils, or adenoids, inserting plastic rods to your soft palate, and redefining your jaw to expand your upper airway.

Need Help Managing Your Sleep Apnea in Kirkland? We Can Help

Arrange a consultation here at Steven M Dawson MD in Kirkland, WA, with our ENT doctor, Dr. Steven Dawson, by calling 425-899-3838, now.

By Steven M Dawson, MD
August 19, 2020
Category: ENT
Tags: Sinusitis  

Here are some ways to help you breathe better all year long.

Some people are more prone than others to sinus infections. Of course, nasal congestion, pressure, and trouble breathing is unpleasant and sometimes downright miserable. Luckily, our Kirkland WA otolaryngologist Dr. Steven Dawson specializes in treating sinusitis and other conditions that affect the sinuses and nasal cavity. If you’re looking to avoid these dreaded sinusitis symptoms this year, here are some tips for how to prevent this problem from happening to you.

Rinse Out Nasal Cavities Every Day

If you are prone to sinus infections, then one of the best ways to prevent congestion and to remove nasal-clogging mucus is to rinse out the nasal passages daily. While you can use simple running water through the nose, most people prefer the ease and convenience of a Neti pot, which makes it easier to thoroughly clean out the sinuses at home. It's highly recommended by your Kirkland sinusitis specialist.

Stay Hydrated

Have you ever noticed how thinned out mucus gets in the back of your throat after you drink a lot of water? The same holds for the mucus that develops within the nasal cavity. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you are getting enough water every day and staying properly hydrated to help thin the mucus. Not sure how much water to drink every day? Mayo Clinic has a helpful guide. Since 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, chances are good you aren’t getting enough water every day. Drink up for better nasal health.

Get Allergies Under Control

Do you deal with allergies? Many people do. Unfortunately, untreated or uncontrolled allergies are also more likely to wreak havoc on your sinuses. To prevent sinusitis, it’s important to talk with our Kirkland WA ENT doctor about ways to control your allergies through simple lifestyle changes and medications. If you battle severe allergies, you may want to consider other treatment options such as allergy shots.

Keep Nasal Cavities Moist

There are many ways in which to do this. You can rinse your nasal passages out with a Neti pot in the morning and use a saline nasal spray throughout the day. Enjoy a long, steamy shower after work or inhale the steam from a pot of boiling water (put a towel over your head to keep the steam in). Set up a humidifier at your office or in your bedroom (or both!) to avoid time spent in dry, irritating environments.

If you’re dealing with recurring, persistent, or severely painful sinusitis symptoms it’s a good time to talk with our Kirkland WA ENT specialist about other treatment options that could finally provide you with long-term relief. We offer telemedicine visits, so you can talk to a doctor on your smartphone or computer. To schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with Dr. Steven Dawson, call (425) 899-3838.

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