Doctor insights on:
Can Children With Ear Infections Fly
There are three different types of ear infections that affect different areas of the ear. Outer ear infection (Otitis externa) affects the ear canal and the outside part of the ear. Middle ear infection (Otitis media) affects the middle ear and leads to fluid accumulation behind the ear drum. Inner ear infection (Otitis interna) is a less common inflammation of the inner ear that causes vertigo, ...Read more
Ear infections are inflammatory processes so flying and changing pressure in flight will most likely cause a great deal of pain. It can also cause the inflammation to worse, possibly cause the ear drum to rupture or cause further local damage.
If you have questions definitely see a specialist. ...Read more
Several factors: Young children have less developed immune systems and the eustachian tube that allows fluid to drain from the middle ears is smaller and more horizontal, so it does not function as well. Young children also are exposed to other children with illnesses and are notorious for not having good hand hygiene and thus transmit illnesses more readily. ...Read more
Maturity: Ear infections are thought to result from a poorly functioning eustachain tube which connects the middle ear to the nose. As one ages the tube matures. It gets larger making it less likely to obstruct. It is this blockage that causes ear infections. In addition, it is probable that the immune systems matures, fighting the infections off more efficiently. ...Read more
No.: There is pus in the middle ear, the eardrum is stretched tight. Pressure changes from flying may cause excruciating pain and potential rupture. Flight attendant patient told me they don't let her (nor pilots) work when they have ear or sinus infections. I caught a sinus infection on travel once, ear pain was unbearable, almost made a grown woman cry. ...Read more
Child ear infections: Ear infections in childhood include middle ear infection or otitis media and external ear infection or otitis externa. Otitis media occurs when the middle ear is infected by bacteria and/ or virus. via the eustachian tube. The eustachian tube connects the pharynx to the middle ear. In young children the tube is short and flat and does not drain well facilitating infection of the middle ear. ...Read more
Not the case: Adults, all though less frequent can get ear infections. Ear infections are normally more common in toddlers and infants, simply because they may get more uris. ...Read more
Vertigo: Flying may aggravate your pre-existing vertigo. Ideally you should cancel your trip. ...Read more
I finished my zpak for an ear infection on monday. I fly to la on friday but I still feel pressure in the ear as of tuesday. Will I be ok to fly?
Yes: The pressurized cabin of commercial aircraft will generally not bother most people with fluid/pressure in their middle ear. If anything, that fluid is not subject to decompression discomfort people with normal ears feel during landing. The fluid actually blocks this effect from occurring. ...Read more
My 17 month old son was diagnosed with a bilateral ear infection at urgent care this afternoon. We are scheduled to fly early Saturday morning. We have the option of cancelling our flight. What do you recommend?
Yes: It is safe, but may be uncomfortable for your child to fly with an ear infection. You may want to give pain medication such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen prior to take off. A dose of a decongestant nose spray may also help; as always check with your doctor before giving any medication. If possible, changing your itinerary will allow your child's ear to heal before travel. ...Read more
Could be a problem: Really need to see an ENT to help understand this issue. ...Read more
Painful: You "can" but it might be very painful with the pressure changes your ears will go thru. Normally when pressure changes, your ear adjusts to it, but if you have an ear infection this system of "adjustment" is not working. Try to postpone. If you can't, at least use specialized ear plugs for air travel (not sure how effective they will be). Good luck. ...Read more
Predisposed: Regular otitis media is a sequential event. The fluid made by the middle ear walls is trapped in that space by impaired drainage thru the eustacian tube. Germs from the throat enter that space & cause infection. Smaller kids/kids with allergies or colds/kids with cleft palate etc are predisposed to recurrence because the drainage doesn't improve until the head grows big enough to improve the drain. ...Read more
Yes, likely: Ear pain on descent is often a problem for people with active ear infections. Talk to your doctor about suggestions to minimize the pain. ...Read more
Have a pleasent trip: The middle ear fluid that is part of your ear infection/eustachian dysfunction will actually protect you from the regular cycle of middle ear discomfort with landing. The pressurization of the aircraft is not high enough to cause any change in the middle ear fluid or pressure therein. Of the many issues involved in today's air travel, this should be a pleasent surprise. ...Read more
No: There is no link between the two. ...Read more
Is the common cold in children something that should be followed by an ear examination to rule out an ear infection?
Some are some not: In general an infant with 5 or more in a year or one that will not clear after 90 days will benefit from tube placement. Other factors can increase or decrease the need. Growth in head size will eventually reduce the frequency of infections but that is slow and steady. Each kid must be assessed individually. ...Read more
None: There are no substances that naturally cure ear infections. The body's immune system may cure itself and when not, antibiotics are needed. No other things have been shown to cure these infections despite claims made. ...Read more
Infections are invasions of some other organism (fungus, bacteria, parasite) or viruses into places where they do not belong. For instance, we have normal gut bacteria that live within us without causing problems; however, when those penetrate the bowel wall and enter the bloodstream, ...Read more