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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


Is it safe for a 2-month-old child to travel fly with regards to the increase in altitude and the pain it causes on the eardrum . . . does anyone know of any type of medication which can prevent the child's ears from popping?
    
Parents should avoid air travel with infants when possible. . . . But not for the reason you might think. The air in planes is not filtered and recirculates throughout the cabin. All the viruses and other nasty germs circulating through the cabin will increases your infant’s chances of getting an infection. If you must fly with a young baby, turn off the air nozzle about your seat or redirect it away from your infant.

Flying is also accompanied by ear pain in babies and adults because of the changes in air pressure. Take off and landings cause the tube that connects the back of the throat and the middle ear (eustachian tube) to close causing pain. We usually suggest that a parent have the baby nurse, suck on a pacifier, or drink from a bottle during takeoffs and landings.

If ear pain during flight is making the baby cry, use salt water nose drops to clear nasal passages, and bring along some acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra). Ironically, the baby's crying sometimes helps to open the Eustachian Tubes and the problem takes care of itself. We also encourage parents give their infant lots of fluids to improve hydration. Some doctors use nose drops and decongestants but I would not recommend them for a young infant. Older children can chew gum or suck on a lollipop or blow up balloons to equalize the pressure.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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