Can You Fly With An Ear Infection

Heading to the skies with a throbbing ear may have you wondering, is flying with an ear infection actually safe? Here’s one fact: ear infections can turn your flight into a painful ordeal due to pressure changes.

Our blog is set to guide you through managing an ear infection so that discomfort won’t ground your travel plans. Read on—relief is in sight!

Key Takeaways

  • Ear infections can cause more pain and harm to your ears during a flight because of fast air pressure changes.
  • Talk to a doctor before flying with an ear infection; they might give you medicine or tips to make it safer.
  • Use filtered earplugs and consider decongestants or nasal sprays to help balance the pressure in your ears on the plane.
  • Kids have smaller Eustachian tubes, making them more at risk for ear problems when flying with an infection.
  • Stay hydrated and keep swallowing or chewing during takeoff and landing to ease ear discomfort.

Risks and Precautions for Flying with an Ear Infection

A Person Experiencing Ear Discomfort On A Crowded Airplane Surrounded By Fellow Passengers.

Stepping onto a plane with an ear infection can be more than just uncomfortable—it might actually pose some risks to your health. Before you buckle in for takeoff, let’s dive into the need-to-knows of air travel when your ears are not at their best, ensuring you can make informed decisions about flying with this condition.

Increased discomfort

The Photo Shows An Empty Airplane Cabin Window With A Cloudy Sky And Pressure Gauge.

Your ears might hurt more if you fly with an ear infection. The pain happens because the air pressure in the plane changes fast. This air pressure change can mess with your eustachian tubes.

When these tubes don’t work right, it’s hard for your middle ear to adjust to cabin pressure.

Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy can help a little bit. These actions make you swallow more often, which can open up the eustachian tubes. But, if your ears are already sick, they might not pop as they should.

That’s when the real trouble starts—serious pain and even harm to your ears could happen during takeoff and landing.

Increased risk of ruptured eardrum

A Close-Up Photo Of Airplane Window With Ears Blocking And Pop Medication, Aerial Photography, Different Faces, Different Hair Styles, Different Outfits.

Flying with an ear infection can put you at a higher chance of getting a ruptured eardrum. This is because the Eustachian tube in your middle ears may not work right due to swelling or blockage from the infection.

When the plane goes up and down, air pressure changes fast. If your ears can’t pop to balance this pressure, it puts extra stress on your eardrums.

For children and those with ear infections, this risk is even greater. A child’s Eustachian tubes are smaller and not as good at pressure equalization. Plus, illnesses like colds or swimmer’s ear make it harder for their little ears to deal with these quick air pressure changes in a pressurized cabin.

Bottle-feeding or using a pacifier during takeoff and landing might help them better manage the discomfort and reduce the risk of harm to their eardrums.

Difficulty equalizing pressure

A Close-Up Photo Of Airplane Window With Clouds, Featuring Diverse Faces And Hairstyles.

Your ears have a tough time during flights because the air pressure in the cabin keeps changing. This can be extra hard if you have an ear infection. The Eustachian tube might not work right, making it tricky to balance the pressure in your middle ear with that of the airplane cabin.

You might feel sharp pain or discomfort and hear less clearly.

Trying to make your ears pop can help but may not always work when you’re sick. Swallowing, yawning, or chewing gum usually does the trick, but it’s harder with an infected or swollen Eustachian tube.

If you don’t manage to equalize this pressure, there’s a risk of ear barotrauma which comes with dizziness and serious ear pain; it could even lead to a ruptured eardrum or long-term hearing loss.

Tips for Flying with an Ear Infection

A Person Wearing Earplugs Gazes Out The Airplane Window.

Navigating the skies with an ear infection can be a daunting prospect, but it’s not impossible—armed with the right know-how, you can minimize discomfort and protect your health.

Dive into our treasure trove of insider advice to keep your flight smooth and your ears happy, even when they’re under the weather. Let’s explore how smart moves like consulting healthcare experts and embracing preventative measures can be game-changers for air travelers braving an ear infection.

Consult a doctor before flying

A Doctor Examines A Patient's Ear In A Medical Office.

Flying with an ear infection can be risky. Your doctor will know best. They check your ears and tell you if it’s safe to fly. Sometimes, they might suggest medicine or other ways to make your flight easier.

Doctors often talk about things like eustachian tube dysfunction and how it affects flying. If you’re a parent, ask the doctor about flying with children who have ear infections. It’s important because their little ears are extra sensitive.

Your health is key for a good flight, so get that doctor’s appointment before heading to the airport!

Use filtered earplugs

Filtered Earplugs In Their Case Next To A Window With An Airplane Wing View.

Filtered earplugs are your friend on a flight, especially with an ear infection. They’re designed to slowly balance the pressure against your eardrums during takeoff and landing. This helps prevent that uncomfortable ear popping and reduces the chance of pain or even hearing damage.

Ear care on planes is important, so pop those plugs in before you get off the ground.

Imagine flying without wincing every time the plane climbs or descends – that’s what filtered earplugs can offer. They let air flow through at a controlled rate, easing the strain on your ears.

You’ll thank yourself for grabbing a pair because they make all the difference in managing symptoms and protecting your ears while high up in the pressurised cabin environment of passenger aircrafts.

Use decongestants or nasal sprays

A Person Using Nasal Spray In An Airplane Cabin.

If your ears feel clogged, decongestants and nasal sprays might help. These can relieve pain and open up your nasal passages. Always talk to your doctor before you try them. They will recommend the best type for you.

Flying with an ear infection is tough, but these treatments could make it easier. Decongestants shrink swollen tissues in your nose, making it less stuffy. Nasal sprays moisten dry airways and help clear mucus.

Use them right before takeoff and landing when ear popping often happens. This can protect against eardrum rupture—safe travels!


A Person Experiences Discomfort While Surrounded By Fellow Passengers On A Plane.

Flying with an ear infection isn’t the best idea. It can hurt and make your ears feel worse. If you must fly, talk to your doctor first and try things like earplugs or medicine to help.

Remember to stay hydrated and keep swallowing or chewing during takeoff and landing. Keep these tips in mind for a safer, more comfortable flight—even with an ear infection.

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1. Is it safe for children with ear infections to fly?

Absolutely, many children and adults with mild ear infections can safely fly. However, if the child has severe pain, fever or recently had ear tube surgery, you should consult a doctor first.

2. Can wearing ear plugs help during a flight if I have an ear infection?

Indeed – wearing ear plugs might prevent that uncomfortable ear-popping sensation often associated with flying. They work by balancing pressure in your ears and could be especially useful for people who have swimmer’s ear or otitis externa.

3. Should I avoid sleeping on a plane when I have an ear infection?

Yes – try to stay awake during takeoff and landing; this allows you to swallow more frequently and equalize pressure in your ears. If breastfeeding is part of the picture, it’s another great reason to keep active as it helps too.

4. Will my health insurance cover treatments for complications from flying with an infected ear?

It can vary widely between providers like United Healthcare or Bupa; some health insurance companies may cover such cases while others don’t—you should check before taking off whether you’re covered!

5. What are the risks of flying with vertigo or tinnitus due to an infected ear?

Flying when dealing with these symptoms carries risks since they can worsen mid-flight—this includes heightened feelings of imbalance (vertigo) and ringing in your ears (tinnitus). Folks battling heart disease or similar medical conditions should speak to their doctors before making any air travel plans.