Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction and flying.
To avoid middle ear problems associated with flying you should not fly if you have an acute upper respiratory problem such as a common cold, allergy attack or sinus infection. Should you have such a problem and must fly, or should you have a chronic eustachian tube problem, you may help to avoid ear difficulty by observing the following recommendations:
Obtain from your druggist (a prescription is not necessary) the following items: Sudafed tablets; plastic squeeze bottle of ¼% Neo-Synephrine nasal spray.
Following the container directions, begin taking Sudafed tablets the day before your air flight. Continue the medication for 24 hours after the flight if you have experienced any ear difficulty.
Following the container directions, use the nasal spray shortly before boarding the aircraft. Should your ears "plug up" upon ascent, hold your nose and swallow. This will help suck excess air pressure out of the middle ear.
45 minutes before the aircraft is due to land again use the nasal spray every five minutes for 15 minutes. Chew gum to stimulate swallowing. Should your ears "plug up" despite this, hold your nose and blow forcibly to try to blow air up the eustachian tube into the middle ear (Valsalva maneuver).
Remember that it is unwise to fly if you have an acute upper respiratory infection. Should flying be necessary under these circumstances do not perform the Valsalva maneuver mentioned above.
None of these recommendations or precautions need be followed if you have a middle ear ventilation tube in your eardrum membrane.