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## Can You Skydive with an Ear Infection?

Skydiving is an exhilarating activity that offers breathtaking views and an adrenaline rush like no other. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved, including the impact of ear infections on your ability to skydive safely.

### What is an Ear Infection?

An ear infection, also known as otitis media, is an inflammation or infection of the middle ear. It can be caused by bacteria or viruses and often accompanies a cold or flu. Symptoms of an ear infection may include:

– Ear pain
– Drainage from the ear
– Hearing loss
– Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
– Dizziness

### Why Skydiving with an Ear Infection Can Be Dangerous

The primary concern with skydiving with an ear infection is the potential for barotrauma. Barotrauma occurs when there is a significant difference in pressure between the air inside the ear and the external environment. This can cause the eardrum to rupture or damage the inner ear.

During skydiving, there is a rapid change in air pressure as you ascend and descend. This change in pressure can put stress on the eardrum and trigger barotrauma, especially if the ear canal is blocked due to swelling or fluid from the infection.

### Signs and Symptoms of Barotrauma

If you experience any of the following symptoms during or after skydiving, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately:

– Severe ear pain
– Hearing loss
– Tinnitus
– Dizziness
– Nausea and vomiting

### Risks of Skydiving with an Ear Infection

In addition to barotrauma, skydiving with an ear infection can also increase your risk of:

– Dizziness or disorientation during the jump
– Inability to equalize ear pressure
– Difficulty communicating with other skydivers
– Increased susceptibility to further ear infections

### When to Avoid Skydiving with an Ear Infection

It is generally recommended to avoid skydiving if you have an active ear infection. The risk of barotrauma is significantly higher when the ear is inflamed or blocked.

You should also avoid skydiving if you have any of the following conditions:

– Severe ear pain
– Persistent drainage from the ear
– Hearing loss
– Tinnitus
– Dizziness

### If You Must Skydive with an Ear Infection

If you absolutely must skydive with an ear infection, it is vital to take the following precautions:

– Inform the instructor: Make sure the skydiving instructor is aware of your ear infection and any symptoms you are experiencing.
– Use a decongestant: Take a decongestant before the jump to help open up the Eustachian tubes and reduce swelling.
– Equalize frequently: Practice equalizing your ear pressure frequently during the ascent and descent.
– Use earplugs: Wear earplugs to help protect your ears from the sudden changes in air pressure.
– Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids before and after the jump to help thin mucus secretions.

### Tips for Preventing Ear Infections Before Skydiving

To reduce your risk of developing an ear infection before skydiving, consider the following tips:

– Treat colds and flu promptly: Seek medical attention for any colds or flu symptoms to prevent them from turning into an ear infection.
– Use nasal sprays: Use nasal sprays to help keep your nasal passages clear and prevent congestion.
– Avoid smoking: Smoking can irritate the Eustachian tubes and increase your risk of ear infections.
– Get vaccinated: Get vaccinated against common respiratory infections, such as influenza and pneumonia, to reduce your chances of developing an ear infection.

### Conclusion

Skydiving with an ear infection can be dangerous and should be avoided if possible. If you must skydive with an infection, it is essential to take precautions to minimize the risk of barotrauma. By understanding the risks and following the recommended safety measures, you can enjoy the thrill of skydiving while protecting your hearing.

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