Updated July 2020
'Tis the season for spending time with family and friends. But it’s also the season for colds, flu, and the dreaded ear infection. If your winter requires air travel, and you think you’re getting an ear infection, read on for what you should know before you go!
Ear infections occur when your Eustachian tubes become swollen or blocked, causing fluid to build up in your middle ear. When you fly your ears pop when a small bubble of air enters the back of the nose, travels through the Eustachian tube, and enters the middle ear. This air is then absorbed by the middle ear’s lining, equalizing the pressure. If the pressure isn’t equalized, flyers can experience pain, and in some cases, temporary hearing loss.
It’s safer to avoid flying when you have an ear infection. The pressure that occurs during flying can place additional pressure on the eardrum. This is not only painful and uncomfortable but if there is continuous pressure on the eardrum, it can rupture.
If flying is unavoidable, you can log on to Amwell and talk to a doctor to receive a treatment plan customized for you. An ear, nose, and throat doctor will evaluate your condition. If the problem is caused by bacteria, and not a virus, your ENT doctor can prescribe antibiotics to help. In some cases, over-the-counter decongestants can be an option to alleviate the pressure as well.
Also, try to stay healthy leading up to the holidays by taking the following precautions:
- Wash your hands
- Get a flu shot
- Maintain your sleep schedule
- Eat healthy
The holidays are a great way to spend quality time with the people that you love. It’s important to try and stay healthy during this time, so you’re only sharing the holiday spirit and not the holiday germs. But if you do start to feel an ear infection coming on, get an online diagnosis, treatment plan, and electronically filled prescriptions from board-certified physicians 24/7 with Amwell today.