1lawflying’s Blog

November 1, 2008

To Chew or not to Chew

Filed under: accidental,flying,safety — 1lawflying @ 12:02 am
Tags: , , ,

Newswise — The holidays are a popular time to fly to visit family and friends. Many people have problems with their ears when flying, especially during takeoff and landing.

When there is a sudden change in air pressure in the airplane, a person’s ears will try to adjust, which causes the feeling of fullness or pressure in the Eustachian tube and middle ear chamber.

The House Ear Institute (HEI) has tips to make air travel more comfortable.

• Chew gum, suck on candy, drink liquid or yawn vigorously during the descent, to stimulate swallowing and equalize pressure in the middle ear.
• We swallow less when asleep, so children often wake up crying when the plane begins to descend due to the uncomfortable build-up of pressure in their ears. Parents can prevent their child’s discomfort by waking them at the start of the descent.
• Place a pacifier or bottle in an infant’s mouth during take off and landing, to encourage the baby to swallow.
• Avoid flying with an ear infection, or when congested due to a sinus infection, a cold or an allergy attack.
• If congested and flying is unavoidable, it may help to pretreat with pseudoephedrine and/or a decongestant nasal spray before takeoff.

Physicians at the House Clinic recommend seeing an ENT physician or otologist if a person experiences:

• Significant pain after or during a flight
• Changes in hearing after a flight
• Discharge coming out of the ear after a flight

For more information, please visit the institute website, http://www.hei.org.


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