Skip to main content

Is it safe to travel with an ear infection?

Is it safe to travel with an ear infection?
Click to enlarge

What to do if you have an ear infection on the day of your flight

Air travel can be uncomfortable if you have an ear infection or other ear issue. But is it safe to fly when you have earache? We’ve pulled together some reliable advice on managing airplane ear.

Check with your usual healthcare provider about your ear pain before flying

If you have an ear infection or an ear injury, it’s best to check with a healthcare professional before flying. They will help you decide if you need to delay or cancel your trip because of your ear problem. Just speak with your normal healthcare provider about ear pain if you’re still at home. Or if you are abroad, see our advice on getting medical help while traveling.

What can I do to make flying with an ear problem less painful?

Ear pain is at its worst when the plane is taking off and landing. Try to be awake during these phases of the flight so that you can take steps to respond to the pressure changes that are causing ear pain. Ideally, you want to make your ears pop safely and comfortably to relieve the pressure.

Sucking a sweet or chewing gum, or drinking through a straw can help equalize the pressure in your ears, as can yawning or swallowing.

There are a couple of maneuvers you can do to relieve airplane ear. Ask a healthcare professional to teach you how to do the Valsalva maneuver or the Toynbee maneuver. Or you can read about how to pop your ears at the Cleveland Clinic.

It may be possible to prevent ear pain by relieving a blocked sinus in your nose. You can do this with a decongestant med, or by using a saline spray. Consider whether allergies may be contributing to a blocked sinus, and get necessary advice and treatment.

Will my travel insurance cover me if I cancel my trip because of earache?

When deciding whether or not to cancel your trip or change your flight dates, call up your travel insurer to see what they say. You may need to get a doctor’s note confirming that you have an ear condition and that you have been advised not to fly.

It’s really important to get travel insurance with good health coverage. This is because your regular health insurance may not cover you when you are abroad. Healthcare abroad can be pricy, as can medivac services. Falling ill while on holiday can also leave you with bills for accommodation and you may need to pay extra for amended flights.

Where can I get information about the health risks at my vacation resort?

Six to eight weeks before you travel abroad, make an appointment with a travel health professional. They can tell you what health risks you will be exposed to on your trip abroad. At Global Travel Health, we can provide the vaccines and antimalarials you need for any vacation or business trip.

We can also help with vaccine certificates that you may need to enter some countries. At our travel clinics we can administer yellow fever vaccines (YF-vax), polio vaccines (Adacel Polio) and the vaccine for meningococcal meningitis.

We can also provide a covid-19 testing service for travelers. We can help you work out the best covid test for your journey and advise on when is the best time to get your pre-travel covid test.

We have plenty of travel health appointments, and we can help with emergency travel shots, too. Make an appointment today at one of our convenient city center travel clinics.