Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Can You Fly With An Ear Infection

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Any Tips To Avoid Ear Infections On The Lead

Getting on a plane with an ear infection

Unfortunately, ear infections can be hard to avoid. The most common causes of ear infections are the typical bugs associated with coughs and colds. The best advice is to keep up good hygiene with plenty of hand washing and avoid play with other sick kids where possible.

For more information about research investigating ear infections at Telethon Kids, please visit our Ear Health page.

What Causes The Pain

The pain is caused by unequal pressure that develops between the air in the middle ear and the air outside the ear.

The small space in the middle ear behind the eardrum is normally filled with air. This air space is connected to the back of the nose by a tiny channel called the Eustachian tube. The air on either side of the eardrum should be at the same pressure. Air pressure is highest nearer the ground. So as a plane descends, the air pressure becomes higher. This pushes the eardrum inwards which can be painful. To relieve this, the pressure inside the middle ear has to rise quickly too. Air needs to travel up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear to equalise the pressure.

Symptoms Of Ear Infections

  • The main symptom is an earache.
  • Younger children will cry, act fussy or have trouble sleeping because of pain.
  • About 50% of children with an ear infection will have a fever.
  • Complication: In 5% to 10% of children, the eardrum will develop a small tear. This is from the pressure in the middle ear. The ear then drains cloudy fluid or pus. This small hole most often heals over in 2 or 3 days.

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Equalize Your Ear Pressure On Take

One of the other steps you can take against Airplane Ear is to do eustachian tube exercises during takeoff and landing. These exercises help your middle ear pressure to equalize — which is commonly known as getting your ears to pop.

Examples of eustachian tube exercises include yawning, chewing gum, sucking on hard candy or lozenges, and pinching your nose while gently blowing forward. Doing these exercises every few minutes while your plane is ascending, and descending can help you avoid excess ear pressure and pain.

Ask Dr Sears: Air Travel After An Ear Infection

What to Do If an Insect Flies Into Your Ear

Q. Were flying cross-country in a few days to visit my parents, but my baby was just diagnosed with an ear infection. Is it okay to fly, or will the cabin pressure make her ear infection worse?

A. Usually, doctors ask parents to use caution when flying with an infant or child suffering from an ear infection, and this is because the normal air-pressure-regulating system in the middle ear can be affected. The fluid that clogs the Eustachian tube during an infection may prevent its normal opening during changes in cabin pressure and, theoretically, may increase discomfort. That said, based on the severity of the infection and unless youre advised otherwise by your childs doctor, its usually okay to fly.

Follow your doctors advice. Give your childs medication exactly as your doctor prescribes, even if she seems back to her healthy self after a day or two on the medication. Also, dont be alarmed if your doctor says her eardrum has ruptured. This simply means the fluid collected behind the middle ear has leaked through the eardrum. In fact, rupturing of the eardrum during an infection relieves the pressure and discomfort on the middle ear and theoretically, there should be less discomfort during flying. This is also why you may see some drainage from the ear following an infection. Also, be sure to inform your doctor of your travel plans within a few days after the infection in case further advice is needed.

Enjoy your trip!

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If Flying Is Unavoidable What Can Be Done

For people who fly frequently for business or are in the travel industry, flying with ear infection may be unavoidable. However, they may be able to avoid pain and complications by taking an over-the-counter decongestant or with frequent swallowing.

1. Take OTC Decongestant

If you have a mild ear infection, taking a decongestant may help you get through a flight. Many decongestants come in form of a capsule to be taken orally or you can also find decongestants in a liquid form, which is applied in the nose with a dropper or sprayed.

A decongestant can be taken before or during a flight, but to get the best results, it should be taken the day and evening before. This allows the inflammation in the sinuses and ear canal to ease, which can help reduce pain. If you have a severe ear infection, it is best to seek medical attention before flying.

2. Swallow Frequently

Swallowing can also help reduce the discomfort of an ear infection during a flight. Many people will chew gum or suck on a piece of hard candy. This helps to produce extra saliva in the mouth, which leads to more frequent swallowing and helps to ease some pressure in the ears.

3. Popping Your Ears

4. Try Pressure-Regulating Earplug

If you haven’t had any success with these methods, you may want to try buying a pair of earplugs that will help regulate the pressure when flying with ear infection. Earplugs can be bought in pharmacies or at airport gift shops and worn during the plane’s ascent and descent.

Cause Of Ear Infections

  • A bacterial infection of the middle ear
  • Blocked eustachian tube, usually as part of a common cold. The eustachian tube joins the middle ear to the back of the throat.
  • Blockage results in middle ear fluid .
  • If the fluid becomes infected , the fluid turns to pus. This causes the eardrum to bulge out and can cause a lot of pain.
  • Ear infections peak at age 6 months to 2 years. They are a common problem until age 8.
  • The onset of ear infections is often on day 3 of a cold.
  • How often do kids get ear infections? 90% of children have at least 1 ear infection. Frequent ear infections occur in 20% of children. Ear infections are the most common bacterial infection of young children.

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Why Are Some People Affected More Than Others

The Eustachian tube is normally closed but opens from time to time when we swallow, yawn or chew. In most people, just normal swallowing and chewing quickly cause air to travel up the Eustachian tube to equalise the pressure. Some airlines offer sweets to suck and eat when the plane is descending, to encourage you to chew and swallow.

However, the Eustachian tube in some people does not open as easily and so the pressure may not be equalised so quickly. For example, some people may have a more narrow Eustachian tube than normal. Also, if you have any condition that causes a blockage to the Eustachian tube then the air cannot travel up to the middle ear. The common cause of a blocked Eustachian tube is from mucus and inflammation that occur with colds, throat infections, hay fever, etc. Any condition causing extra mucus in the back of the nose can cause this problem.

Why Do Kids Get Ear Infections

Air travel & Ear Infections

Kids get ear infections more than adults do for several reasons:

  • Their shorter, more horizontal eustachian tubes let bacteria and viruses find their way into the middle ear more easily. The tubes are also narrower, so more likely to get blocked.
  • Their adenoids, gland-like structures at the back of the throat, are larger and can interfere with the opening of the eustachian tubes.

Other things that can put kids at risk include secondhand smoke, bottle-feeding, and being around other kids in childcare. Ear infections are more common in boys than girls.

Ear infections are not contagious, but the colds that sometimes cause them can be. Infections are common during winter weather, when many people get upper respiratory tract infections or colds .

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About Telethon Kids Institute

The Telethon Kids Institute is based within the Perth Childrens Hospital, and is one of the largest, and most successful medical research institutes in Australia, comprising a dedicated and diverse team of around 1,000 staff, students and honoraries.

We’ve created a bold blueprint that brings together community, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and funders, who share our vision to improve the health and development of children through excellence in research, and the application of that knowledge.

The Institute is headed by leading paediatrician and infectious diseases expert Professor Jonathan Carapetis, with Founding Director Professor Fiona Stanley now Patron.

Telethon Kids is independent and not-for-profit. The majority of funding comes from our success in winning national and international competitive research grants. We also receive significant philanthropic support from corporate Australia and the community, most notably through our Principal Partner, Telethon.

Causes Of Middle Ear Infections

Infections may be caused by a virus or bacteria. Viral infections will not respond to an antibiotic, and clear up without treatment.

Most middle ear infections occur when an infection such as a cold , leads to a build-up of mucus in the middle ear.

This causes the Eustachian tube to become swollen or blocked.

This means mucus cant drain away properly. This makes it easier for an infection to spread into the middle ear.

An enlarged adenoid can also block the Eustachian tube. The adenoid can be removed if it causes persistent or frequent ear infections.

Younger children are particularly vulnerable to middle ear infections as:

  • the Eustachian tube is smaller in children than in adults
  • a childs adenoids are much larger than an adults

Certain conditions can also increase the risk of middle ear infections, including:

  • having a cleft palate a type of birth defect where a child has a split in the roof of their mouth

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Flying With An Ear Infection It May Not Be As Safe As You Think

Web: www.stevenfrischling.com E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

12/10/2009 Flying With An Ear Infection? It May Not Be As Safe As You Think

Ears popping on flights is common. As the pressure in the cabin changes during the assent and descent you might find the pressure in your ears irritating, but it is not dangerous under normal conditions. When flying with an ear infection and clogged eustation tubes what is irritating can turn into severe pain and permanent damage to your ear.

The story is usually the same, whether I receive it by e-mail, read it in an online forum or get a phone call regarding flying with an ear infection . The story begins I have to fly to a meeting/assignment/wedding/vacation tomorrow and I have an ear infection/sinus infectionyadda yadda yadda yaddawhat can I do to relieve the pressure for the flight?

First offI am NOT a doctor, I have never claimed to be a doctor, and I am not qualified to check out anyones ear to determine the seriousness of an ear infection.

now that my disclaimer is out of the wayIf you have a serious ear infection, or a double ear infection, or an impacted sinus you should check with your doctor. If your doctor says you should not fly, then you should not fly. There is no magic pill or elixir that reduces ear pain or pressure, if there was your doctor would be prescribing it to you, regardless of your plans to fly.

Happy Flying!

Who Is At Higher Risk For Ear Infections

Bug In Ear: 7 Ways To Deal With Ear Pain and Discomfort in Ear
  • Babies born prematurely.

  • Younger children because they have shorter eustachian tubes.

  • Children who attend daycare because they tend to have more colds.

  • Children with allergies or exposed to cigarette smoke. Smoke can irritate the eustachian tube, making ear infections more likely.

  • Children who were not breastfed. Breastmilk has antibodies that help fight infections.

  • Children who are bottlefed and who swallow milk while lying down. Milk can enter the eustachian tube, which increases the risk for an ear infection.

  • Children of First Nations and Inuit descent.

  • Children with cleft palates.

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Why We Experience Ear Pain On Airplanes

Its a hard question to answer for a lot of people and I wanted to investigate why this happens to help provide tips for your child. The middle ear experiences a mini-trauma from the pressure difference between the air in the middle ear and the outside air during take-off and landing. Adults can easily open equalize the pressure by swallowing or yawning. Children have a difficult time knowing how to equalize the pressure and help themselves by swallowing or yawning.

As a parent, you can help. Judy shared valuable tips on helping your child cope with this potentially painful ear pressure, especially because young children have more problems with ear pain during airplane travel, than adults.

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Can I Fly With An Ear Infection

Ideally it is advisable NOT to fly if you have an ear infection, such as otitis media or otitis externa. However, if you do have to fly, there is no evidence that you are likely to come to any serious harm. The pain you have in your ear may be worse and it may take longer to settle. You may be more likely to have a perforated eardrum. If you do have to fly with an ear infection, may help prevent problems. It may also be worth taking regular painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen during the flight.

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Flying With A Perforated Eardrum

When you fly, the air pressure around you changes quickly, especially during take off and landing, which can cause pain or discomfort in your ear.

When you have a perforated eardrum, the air pressure in your middle ear can balance out more easily with the pressure of the surrounding air, as the air is able to pass through the hole. This means flying with a perforated eardrum may actually cause less discomfort than usual.

Why Does Airplane Ear Happen

Ear Infections? Do This! | Dr K & Dr Wil

Since you are flying at high altitudes in an airplane, the pressure of the air versus the pressure of the middle ear dont align, which impacts how the eardrum vibrates. Since air pressure changes rather quickly, particularly during takeoff and landing, this is often when people experience bouts of airplane ear. Some people may find that yawning helps open the eustachian tubes to equalize pressure in the ear to alleviate symptoms.

Of course, flying in an airplane isnt the only time that you may experience this problem. If you are in the mountains, ride an elevator or go scuba diving, you may also notice that your ears get plugged up. This is usually a minor occurrence of ear barotrauma.

Some people may be more prone to airplane ear than others. Newborns and toddlers are at risk because they have smaller eustachian tubes. Other risk factors include ear or sinus infections, allergies, or having a cold.

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Seattle Childrens Urgent Care Locations

If your childs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.

Treatment for an Ear Infection

  • What You Should Know About Ear Infections:
  • Ear infections are very common in young children.
  • Most ear infections are not cured after the first dose of antibiotic.
  • Often, children donât get better the first day.
  • Most children get better slowly over 2 to 3 days.
  • Note: For mild ear infections in older children, antibiotics may not be needed. This is an option if over 2 years old and infection looks viral.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
  • Keep Giving the Antibiotic:
  • The antibiotic will kill the bacteria that are causing the ear infection.
  • Try not to forget any of the doses.
  • Give the antibiotic until it is gone. Reason: To stop the ear infection from flaring up again.
  • Fever Medicine:
  • For fevers above 102° F , give an acetaminophen product .
  • Another choice is an ibuprofen product .
  • Note: Fevers less than 102° F are important for fighting infections.
  • For all fevers: Keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids.
  • To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product .
  • Another choice is an ibuprofen product .
  • Cold Pack for Pain:
  • Put a cold wet washcloth on the outer ear for 20 minutes. This should help the pain until the pain medicine starts to work.
  • Note: Some children prefer heat for 20 minutes.
  • Caution: Heat or cold kept on too long could cause a burn or frostbite.
  • Limits on Activity:
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    Top Tips For Travelling With An Ear Infection

    The Christmas break is fast approaching and many families are counting down sleeps until their well-earned summer getaway. The bags are packed and the online check-in is complete but what happens if your little one develops an ear infection in the lead-up to jetting off?

    Good news â Dr Chris Brennan-Jones, Ear Health Researcher from the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, based at Telethon Kids Institute, says that a badly-timed ear infection doesnt need to dampen your holiday plans.

    Here are his top tips for travelling with an ear infection so that the kids can fly safely and hit the pool in no time.

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    What Is Airplane Ear

    Airplane ear happens when your ears are affected by air pressure inside an airplane. Normally, air pressure inside and outside the ears is the same. However, when a plane takes off or starts its descent to land, the rapid change in altitude changes the air pressure inside the cabin.

    When this happens, you may notice an uncomfortable pressure or blockage in the ears. Others may hear a pop within the ears or feel temporary pain. Once the ears adjust upon landing, airplane ear goes away. In a small number of cases, the pain or blocked feeling may remain. If this happens, you should talk to a healthcare provider.

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