Airplane ear - both ears

Old Oct 28, 22, 12:33 pm
  #1  
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Airplane ear - both ears

I figure this community would be particularly sympathetic to the following situation.

I had to take a flight while nursing the onset of a head cold. I didnít have any Earplanes with me, so sure enough, both my ears popped and then plugged up with the head congestion.

Iím doing all the things youíre supposed to do - treat the underlying congestion (Sudafed, Mucinex, Nasonex), steamy showers, yawning, chewing gum, Valsava maneuver, etc., but the muffled hearing is really not budging.

Itís not painful, but persistent and distracting. I would be fine to ride it out save for the fact that I have to fly again in three days. My concern is that if I donít get this problem under control, my next flight is just going to make it worse.

I guess my questions are:

1.) For you folks whoíve found yourself in a similar predicament, anything that worked for you thatís not listed above?

2.) Is there anything an urgent care center can really do for you? I have a feeling if I run out to one, theyíre just going to tell me to ďstay the courseĒ with the OTC meds. But if thereís something they can do that I canít do for myself, Iíd love to know what it is.

Please and thank you!
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Old Oct 29, 22, 9:00 pm
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I’ve recently gone through this. I’ve been taking Flonase (1 spray in each nostril 2x/day) and it seems to be helping.
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Old Oct 29, 22, 10:02 pm
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Are you using the kind of Sudafed that works, or the kind that doesnít work? (Need to make sure itís pseudoephedrine not phenylephrine)
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Old Nov 2, 22, 11:08 am
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I'm a swimmer and sometimes get water trapped in my ears. For a while I was going to urgent care 2x a year to get treated. I'm in the US, and kind of prefer to just use the CVS MinuteClinic. They normally have LPN's, so can write prescriptions, and have been very helpful (as opposed to a traditional urgent care, where a nurse will see you, take down symptoms, then you have to wait for a doctor to actually look in your ears, then the nurse comes back to treat the condition, and the doctor has to verify it all looks good). An LPN can diagnose and treat, so it saves tons of time. Then if you need a prescription, the pharmacy is right there to get it.

So in short--yes, I would recommend for a first timer to go to an urgent care.

If this is a recurring issue for you, then I would recommend chatting with your normal doctor during a visit. Years ago I got ear infections quite often and they gave me drops that changed the pH in my ears, and suddenly no more infections. So there could be preventative options.
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Old Nov 2, 22, 4:21 pm
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Originally Posted by aztimm View Post
I'm a swimmer and sometimes get water trapped in my ears. For a while I was going to urgent care 2x a year to get treated. I'm in the US, and kind of prefer to just use the CVS MinuteClinic. They normally have LPN's, so can write prescriptions, and have been very helpful (as opposed to a traditional urgent care, where a nurse will see you, take down symptoms, then you have to wait for a doctor to actually look in your ears, then the nurse comes back to treat the condition, and the doctor has to verify it all looks good). An LPN can diagnose and treat, so it saves tons of time. Then if you need a prescription, the pharmacy is right there to get it.

So in short--yes, I would recommend for a first timer to go to an urgent care.

If this is a recurring issue for you, then I would recommend chatting with your normal doctor during a visit. Years ago I got ear infections quite often and they gave me drops that changed the pH in my ears, and suddenly no more infections. So there could be preventative options.
not to dispute the core point but I assume they are using nurse practitioners or physicians assistants rather than LPNs?
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Old Nov 4, 22, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
not to dispute the core point but I assume they are using nurse practitioners or physicians assistants rather than LPNs?
Correct. LPN/LVN cannot write prescriptions.
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Old Nov 15, 22, 1:21 pm
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Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
not to dispute the core point but I assume they are using nurse practitioners or physicians assistants rather than LPNs?
I would guess that is correct. LPNs can't write prescriptions in the US.
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Old Nov 15, 22, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
Are you using the kind of Sudafed that works, or the kind that doesn’t work? (Need to make sure it’s pseudoephedrine not phenylephrine)
I had been using the good behind-the-counter kind, but it didn't seem to be helping.

Originally Posted by aztimm View Post
I'm a swimmer and sometimes get water trapped in my ears. For a while I was going to urgent care 2x a year to get treated. I'm in the US, and kind of prefer to just use the CVS MinuteClinic. They normally have LPN's, so can write prescriptions, and have been very helpful (as opposed to a traditional urgent care, where a nurse will see you, take down symptoms, then you have to wait for a doctor to actually look in your ears, then the nurse comes back to treat the condition, and the doctor has to verify it all looks good). An LPN can diagnose and treat, so it saves tons of time. Then if you need a prescription, the pharmacy is right there to get it.
I did indeed wind up going to the Minute Clinic. Turns out I had a pretty severe middle ear infection in both ears. So, she (NP) told me to discontinue the Sudafed, continue with the Mucinex, and switch from Nasonex to Flonase (as Buster recommended), and prescribed a 10-day course of amoxicillin.

2.5 weeks after my original post, I am still bumping the Nasonex, but am finally on the tail end of this. I don't get sick very often at all, but when I do, it's usually a doozy.

Thank you all for the replies!
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Old Nov 15, 22, 7:57 pm
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Couple suggestions that work for me:

1. Plenty of fluids
2. Ear plugs / noise cancelling headphones / earbuds —> preventive
3. Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to reduce swelling in the passage-ways
4. Camphor/Eucalyptus/Corn Mint inhaler blend (or diffused in steam)

Good luck friend. I know the pain. My last resort is to relax and sleep.
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Old Nov 16, 22, 2:44 am
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I had a blocked left ear following a series of flights, swimming and more flights recently, and my normal trick of deep and prolonged yawning didn't work, so I suspected it might be due to a wax 'plug' that had got lodged in place.

I got myself a combi pack of ear drops with a small bulb syringe, and after a couple of days of ear drops, followed by a syringing of the affected ear with warm water, I had full hearing restored. Hurrah! I had been getting fed up having to ask people to repeat what they had just said!

This may not be appropriate in every case, but it is a fairly benign process, and certainly did the trick for me.
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Old Nov 16, 22, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
Are you using the kind of Sudafed that works, or the kind that doesnít work? (Need to make sure itís pseudoephedrine not phenylephrine)
Pseudoephedrine is a controlled substance in some states. Might be hard to get.
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Old Nov 16, 22, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by Buster View Post
Iíve recently gone through this. Iíve been taking Flonase (1 spray in each nostril 2x/day) and it seems to be helping.
I secont this recommendation.
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Old Nov 17, 22, 1:02 am
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Originally Posted by rxgeek View Post
Pseudoephedrine is a controlled substance in some states. Might be hard to get.
Yes it was the same in NZ, easier to get morphine

phenylephrine isnít worth the bother if so, just skip entirely (medical opinion)
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