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Ear emergencies

  • Prevention
    • Never put anything in the ear canal without first consulting a health care provider.
    • Never thump the head to try to correct an ear problem.
    • Teach children not to put things in their ears.
    • Avoid cleaning the ear canals altogether.
    • After an ear injury, avoid nose blowing and getting water in the injured ear.
    • Treat ear infections promptly.

    If you tend to feel pain and pressure when flying, drink a lot of fluid before and during the flight. Avoid the use of alcohol, caffeine, or tobacco on the day of the flight. Chew gum, suck on hard candy, or yawn during take-off and landing. Talk to your doctor about taking a decongestant or using a nasal spray before you fly.


    References

    Thomas SH, White BA. Foreign bodies. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 57.

    Byyny RL, Shockley LW. Scuba diving and dysbarism. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 141.