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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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How can chronic cough and earache be treated?

Hello, I am a flight attendant that happened to catch a bad cough. Phlem mostley at night, but will get an unexpected cough attack during the day. I ve had this cough for about a week now. Plus I am experiencing discomfort in my ear. Should I visit my physician?...Thank you
Mon, 5 Feb 2018
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Anesthesiologist 's  Response
Hello! Welcome to HealthcareMagic!

During flight travel, especially at take-off and landing, pressure difference occurs between middle ear and outside atmosphere which is the cause of pain and discomfort. Usually the eustachian tube that connects the middle ear with the nasal cavity adjusts these pressure differences. Discomfort and pain are quite normal. But when you are suffering from cold, sinus infection, chest infection, pain in the ear is the worst and may even lead to unwanted consequences like rupture of eardrum. So, you may need to get treated for the bad and chronic cough first. The following are the possible causes :

1) Respiratory viral infections
2) Allergic cough like eosinophilia
3) Tuberculosis
4) Bronchial asthma

Of course, there are other causes but above mentioned are more important. A detailed physical examination by an expert can easily diagnose your illness. A chest X-ray may help to arrive at a specific diagnosis. So, please go to an ENT or a general physician for appropriate treatment. If ear discomfort persists, even after treatment of respiratory infection, you can follow the below mentioned tips :

1) Persistent swallowing or chewing movements during take off and landing.
2) Valsalva manoeuvre : with the mouth closed, nose pinched, try to breathe out with the nose. Do it gently and repeatedly.
3) Nasal decongestant drops about 15min before take off and 15min before landing.
4) Avoid sleeping during take off and landing.

Hope my answer clarifies your doubts. For any further clarifications, please write to us. It is my pleasure to guide you.

Thank you.

Take care

Dr. Pallavi.m, Anesthesiologist
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