September 20th, 2010
11:56 AM ET
How do I drain my ears?
Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Monday, it's Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician.
Question asked by Becky M. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: After taking antibiotics for a sinus infection or ear infection, what is the best way to help encourage drainage of the middle ear or eustachian tube?
I have seen many remedies online, some of which recommend using a neti pot, but I feared making the situation worse. Is it normal to still feel some congestion in the ear area even after finishing the antibiotics?
Expert answer: Thanks for your question. Sinus infections are very common, affecting more than 30 million adults in the United States each year.
In these infections, the sinuses (such as those found in the forehead, under the eyes and along the sides of the nasal bridge) become inflamed and may feel full or painful.
The eustachian tube is the channel that connects the middle ear with the back of the nose and throat. During colds, allergies, ear infections or sinusitis, the eustachian tube can become blocked by mucus and cause a person's ears to feel clogged, with a temporary loss of hearing. These symptoms may continue for a few weeks after a cold or other upper respiratory problem has resolved.
In many instances, the sinuses and eustachian tubes will clear on their own after a few days. Treating the underlying cause of the problem (sinusitis, allergies, etc.) is the first step. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help with the discomfort in the meantime. Some people require antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection of the ears or sinuses. In addition, it can be helpful to try other remedies to clear the head of mucus.
I consulted with Dr. Aaron Rogers, an otolaryngologist in Atlanta, Georgia, who shared the following information about some common remedies:
• Nasal washes: Saline rinses, sprays and neti pots don't directly treat the eustachian tube but can be a huge help for sinusitis and runny or stuffy noses. Be sure to clean neti pots with soap and water, and use commercial saline products or make the saline solution yourself with sterile or distilled rather than tap water.
• Nasal steroid sprays: These are available by prescription and can help open up the eustachian tube.
• Physical maneuvers: Chewing gum is a common way to try to keep the eustachian tubes open. You can also pinch your nose and swallow or close your mouth, pinch your nose and blow.
• Nasal decongestant sprays: These medications are available over the counter (such as Afrin) or by prescription and are especially helpful when flying (use 30 minutes before takeoff and landing). They are recommended to be used for no more than about three days at a time, since longer use can cause "rebound" swelling of the nasal passages. Of note, nasal sprays containing zinc should be avoided, as they have been reported to cause the permanent loss of the sense of smell in some cases.
• Oral decongestant medicines: Examples of ingredients include pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. While the problem of rebound is less common with oral decongestants, some people experience palpitations or a rise in blood pressure.
• Oral steroids and antihistamines are sometimes used, particularly in longer-lasting sinus infections; however, they may have side effects such as drying up the mucous membranes of the nasal tissue and thickening the secretions. These are not routinely recommended for the treatment of uncomplicated sinusitis or ear infections.
Since every person's situation may be a little different, it's always best to talk to your own physician for the most appropriate treatment for your case. Good luck!
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
viagra history https://jokviagra.com/ viagra for men for sale
I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something concerning this.
Diovan http://xlnpharmacy.com/ online pharmacy ordering
Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be helpful to read content from other writers and use a little something from other websites.
viagra 10mg https://llviagra.com/ – prevent headache viagra viagra skin rash
buycialis http://cialisee.com/ – cialis nex day delivery uk cialis daily vs 36 hour
Very good post! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.
Can I simply say what a relief to uncover someone that really understands what they are discussing on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people have to look at this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you're not more popular since you certainly have the gift.
It’s hard to come by knowledgeable people in this particular subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody having the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!
Good post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Continue the good work!
I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal blog now 😉
Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.
An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you should publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people don't speak about these topics. To the next! Kind regards!!
Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I truly believed you would probably have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you can fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.
An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been doing a little research on this. And he actually ordered me lunch simply because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your internet site.
This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Cheers!
homework help solutions classification essay on movies science homework help ks3 research paper to buy
cialis 5 mg https://rcialisgl.com/ generic cialis without prescription
Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be interesting to read content from other authors and use a little something from other sites.
Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!
An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me dinner due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this issue here on your web site.
It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people in this particular topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to revisit yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.
This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thank you!
buy avanafil online buy avanafil usa
buy cyclosporine cyclosporine ophthalmic
viagra challenge https://loxviagra.com/ when should you take viagra
buy avana avana india
This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Many thanks!
combigan side effects generic combigan
brimonidine generic brimonidine use
cialis online australia http://rcialisgl.com/ cialis prices at walmart
I want to to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I've got you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you post…
After I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!
Howdy, There's no doubt that your website could possibly be having internet browser compatibility problems. When I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, fantastic blog!
cialis no perscription overnight delivery https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis online delivery overnight