21 answers

Advice on Flying with Toddler After Ear Infection

I am a very worried mother right now because a while back I bought plain tickets for me and my 3 yr old to go visit my parents in Europe. They are non refundable and expensive for my budget. About a week and a half ago my son got a ear infection ( his 4th since last September when he started going to preschool)and the ENT said we should not fly, even if the infection clears because it may still be fluid in his ears and that can cause his ear drum to burst. I felt a big empty ball in my stomach when he said that because this trip is very important to us and I would not be able to buy tickets till next year since I can't afford them , plus the timing has a lot to do with the plans to etc. so now I am terrified of the decision I have to make. I did as much research as I could on line on medical websites and some are quite reassuring and give advice on being well prepared for the take of and landing with meds, ear-popping techniques, special ear plugs etc. and even say that if it goes as far as the eardrum rupturing it's still not the end of the world and my son won't loose his hearing but I still am so very stressed and ridden with guilt as (right now) I still plan on getting on that airplane with him. He has been on antibiotics for the last 8 days and he's doing fine now , he's going for a hearing test FRI but if the fluid is still around (as in some kids-and he might be one-it takes a while to drain) WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?? I am so scared he will be in terrible pain while stuck in a plane and even with medication or exercises for ear he won't be consolable. There is nothing in this world that hurts me more than my own child's pain and if i could feel it for him, at least this one time I would but that's not possible so I am am so torn apart by this decision. So if anyone here can tell me about their experiences with flying with kids in somewhat similar circumstances PLEASE!!! tell me. Am I making a terrible mistake at my child's expense or it might not be as bad as my ENT put it?
There's nothing better than to hear form people who went trough it that's why I need your advice since as mothers you know where I am coming from.
thank you in advance and any story is welcome.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Thank you very , very much to all of you for taking time to write me, I really appreciate your kind advice. I think at the time I posted the request I was very stresses but I feel better now, the pediatrician said he should be fine since the actual infection has cleared and since he did fly before (not same situation thou, not after an infection) and never complained of ear pain on landing or take off she thinks he'd pull though just fine and I will see a doctor while we're there to make sure for the return back to US. I guess flying with a small child on such a long trip is a stress in itself (first time we fly without my husband) , plus the added worry of swine flu (we live in NYC), plus the recent aviation accident (gee!!) made everything else seem worse and I have to admit I am a bit of a paranoid mama :). We still have two weeks till we go so hopefully things will keep improving, I even pulled him out from preschool for the remaining weeks (I know, paranoia again, but I can't help it)

PS: Had his hearing test today and it came back normal, the infection is gone and there's very little fluid left so the ENT gave him the OK to fly in 2 weeks from now. Phew! What a relief! Thanks again for your advice.

More Answers

B. my daughter has a hole in her eardrum and has not been healing for months now, and it's not due to eardrum rupture. that's one, it is a very heartw renching situation as it is and i would not put a child at risk for having one ruptured

2. i just cancelled my overseas trips, 4 tix, cost me 800, 200 per ticket, so you won't lose all your money just 400 for both of the tickets. i know it's a lot but it's still less than the full ticket which i am guessing ran around a 1000 for each tix.

3. if you can get your ENT to say in writing no flying for your child, the agency nor the airlines will charge you this cancellation fee. get that letter, fax it to your travel agency, and if needed fax it to your airline (doubt you'll need to do that unless you bought it from the airline directly).

no matter what others say, it's your son's doctor who said it, and he is the one you should listen. no flying for your son. i know it hurts and i know you're homesick. i am going through exact same turmoil having cancelled my trip to see my family, and there is not a night i don't feel like i am carrying a one ton sack of potatoes in my heart. but your son's health comes first
good luck

1 mom found this helpful

I had typed this whole response, but lost it...errrr...!

My pediatrician has always recommended Sudafed...the kind you have to get from behind the counter...even though it has been reported to have no or negative effects on children. I can tell you from personal experience that this is NOT true. It has helped my kids so much more than anything else on the market. My ped. gave me the correct dosages for their weight and we have never had a problem. It helps dry up the fluid behind the ears and in the sinus' thus relieving the pressure. (I still have the sheet with the dosages at home. I could email them if you want.)
My son also sees an allergist. He said claritan or zyrtec will essentially do the same thing, helps dry up the fluid and prevents more from being produced.

Long term, after you get back, you should think about tubes. Best decision we ever made for my kids. Improved their speech the very next day!

You need to know why your boy is getting ear infections all the time. Obviously the current treatment is not a solution. Most ear infections are due to consumption of pasteurized dairy products. Avoid these and he will likely be fine. They cause inflammation in the body and ears.

Since you're going to Europe, while you're there get some Otitis media injeel ampules from Heel from the pharmacy. You may need to order it so do it soon after you arrive. Take one 8 hours before flying, one half an hour before and he will be fine for the way home. I'd stock up on these for possible future ear infections. You need 3 per infection, one every 12 hours. It's homeopathic and it works. Just break off the top and put a tiny straw, the European drinking box straws are effective for this.

Xylitol is also good for ear infections. Google it and get some Xylitol gum--if he can be a responsible gum chewer that it--otherwise get some Xylitol sweetened candies. Just don't go overboard since it can cause diarrhea. Believe me you don't want that on a plane!

Supplementing with a good quality fish oil can be helpful for inflammation as well. We like Barleans Lemon Zest (contains Xylitol too). It tastes good. Not one bit fishy and no aftertaste. Use full adult strength. Available in many health food stores (look in the refrigerated area).

If you can afford to see a homeopath before you go, that would be a good idea. Homeopathy is excellent for ear infections and works considerably faster than antibiotics and won't cause any damage. I hope you've given him probiotics. If not you can message me with your email for my recommendations. The majority of probiotics are a rip off and don't work. You can even put liquid probiotics directly into the ear. Ear infections are usually accompanied by yeast and you need to get rid of that.

Enjoy your trip and relax, don't worry. Please do what you can to keep your child off antibiotics for his future health. They will eventually cause immune system breakdown. Avoid sugar. Tough to do in Europe so warn ahead of time that he shouldn't have any. Trust me, he will feel a lot better without it and along with avoiding dairy (raw dairy should be fine and also available in cheese form in most European countries) you'll have likely removed the cause for future ear infections.

Hi. I was in the same exact situation as you with my daughter, who was similar in age. While I trust my pediatrician 100% and respect everything he tells me, I chose to fly to Europe to visit my inlaws, and she was fine. If you can, maybe you can give her a decongestant, if necessary. That said, you know your child best. Have a nice time!

Most Airlines will give you a credit, less a small penalty, for medical emergencies, ask your doctor to write a letter as to why you cannot fly at this time. Sometimes if you reschedule at the same time as cancelling there will be no penalty. Be strong on the phone with the agent, their job is to say no. Ask for a supervisor if you cannot get what you deserve.

Hi....when my son was 2 years old he had ear tubes inserted cause of the fluids so when we travel we put on ear tubes which you can buy anywhere....your son won't feel a thing. Matter of fact the whole family wears them and never a discomfort... it helps alot...By the way my son is now 13. I hope this information helps you..

I was worried about my daughter when we flew to Texas from PA. She gets ear infections all the time.

What I did was make sure she had her sippy cup and some snack crackers to eat when we took off and when we landed. The chewing helped relieve the pressure.

Good luck and have a safe flight.

This is a hard situation for you. I would agree with the suggestions that you consult your doctor in detail about exactly how much risk there is in your son flying, making sure that he fully understands how hard it is for you to cancel this trip so that if he tells you not to go then it is not "just a precaution". If it really is out of the question to go, to ask him for a letter to get your flights changed or refunded.
Do you have any travel insurance you could claim on? We get it through my husband's job which I discovered when I recently had to cancel a trip as my mom was seriously ill - I got all my money back that way.
The other thing I would add is that my daughter's eardrum ruptured because of an ear infection when she was about 10 months old (nothing to do with flying). We didn't realise what was wrong with her until after the eardrum had already gone. She was obviously in a lot of pain just before it happened, but afterwards she was much better, and the doc said it would have been because the pressure was relieved. Anyway, it healed up fine and she has never had any hearing diffuculties, so in some ways it is not as dreadful a thing as it sounds at first - in my daughter's case it was the infection which caused all the trouble not the ruptured eardrum itself.

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