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Sleep apnea and ringing in ears accompanying illness
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Sleep apnea and ringing in ears accompanying illness

About 5 days ago I became ill. The symptoms are unusual - ringing in my ears, loss of appetite, and horrible lethargy - I just didn't care about anything. Also some agitation - I couldn't sit still and spend a lot of time slowly pacing. I also noticed some breathing discomfort - when I sit still, I feel as if I can't catch my breath, but it's minor and goes away if I get up. I don't sleep well because of the ringing in my ears.

Today is day 5. I really feel much better. The first two days were so horrid! The ringing in my ears has subsided, though is still somewhat present. My appetite has mostly returned. The lethargy is gone. I have a temp of 98.9, very minor fever.

However - last night I developed sleep apnea - every time I doze off, my breathing slows down and stops and I wake up gasping. My sinuses are mostly clear, there are no obstructions in my throat, my throat does not close up, I don't snore. I demonstrated it for my wife - she says that as I doze off, my breathing slows down and then I stop breathing for about three breaths. Then I wake up and take a deep breath. I did this three times in about five minutes while she watched. I did this all night long, and hardly slept at all last night. I have *never* done this before! I sleep like a baby!

Is there any reason not to expect these final symptoms to subside? I feel so much better, everything else is mostly gone. Is there any reason not to expect the ringing in my ears and the sleep apnea to completely go away? These seem like such strange symptoms for a viral infection - yet it all hit together, and I've never had this before.

I might add that the lethargy symptoms is something that my wife experienced for a few days, my daughter had it, and some of our friends also are reporting it, so there does indeed seem to be a bug going around causing that specific symptom. When my daughter had it, she couldn't sleep - she said she kept waking up, but I don't know if she had breathing problems or not.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Any degree of inflammation (due to allergies or viral infections) can bring on breathing pauses, especially in people who are anatomically susceptible. Since your family members are all related, I'm not surprised. It can take a while for swelling to subside, and in general, your ringing should go away as well. If you're not better in the next few weeks to months, then you should see an ENT doctor in your area.
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Avatar_m_tn
As the day proceeded, I began to understand the sleep apnea. For a period of time of about 18 hours, I found that if I just sat still and let my breath out, there was no automatic intake of breath following. I would sit there not breathing until I felt dizzy and started gasping for breath. When I tried to sleep, as I drifted off I would stop breathing and that would wake me up. So I would have to be conscious of my breathing. If I got up and did something, I would feel OK - it was just at rest only.

So I'm not sure if this is sleep apnea, or if sleep apnea is just one of the symptoms of this.

This went away about mid day. I took a three hour nap this afternoon, and my breathing is pretty much normal. I still have a mild fever (99.1), and my ears still ring. Very much wishing it would all go away :)

So my question remains - is ringing in the ear and breathing difficulties normal for viral infections, and can I expect the symptoms to completely go away?

BTW, went to see doctor, doctor said I have viral infection in sinuses/ears. Lungs are clear.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your response. I went back to my doctor, and he prescribed zolpidem tartrate 10mg and told me to take it at bedtime for a few weeks to restablish proper sleeping patterns (this has seriously disrupted my sleeping, I get just 2-3 hours a night). He feels the breathing problem will very quickly go away
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