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Mat74UK's avatar

I need advice. I went Scuba Diving last week and cannot now unblock my ears.

Asked by Mat74UK (4649points) December 10th, 2009

It’s not the first time I’ve been. This time I couldn’t get the pressure equalled in my left ear so remained at the 5–6 metre level (where I felt comfortable).
The right ears is just about fine but the left is constantly blocked.
The gross bit is that when I wake my left nostril is blocked and when I clear it it comes out a horrible orange colour!

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16 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Chew gum, take an antihistamine/decongestant, and spray some Afrin all at once (well chew the gum about an hour after taking the drugs, so they have time to take effect). Don’t do it for days though, just for a day (so probably two doses of the drugs if necessary, follow the package instructions).

JLeslie's avatar

Not sure what the orange color is? I am assuming you would know if it was blood? If it does not clear up in through the weekend I would go to the doctor probably, or at least give a doctor a call.

Mat74UK's avatar

I take antihistamines on a daily basis and also have a nasal spray. I’ve also chewed a full pack of gum!
Booked in a the Docs next tuesday.

JLeslie's avatar

Crap. I used to have a lot of trouble with my left year, especially when I flew. It started after I had had strep throat that was hard to get rid of, and then for the next 5 years, every time I flew I suffered with a blocked ear for days. Sometimes it would get blocked for no apparent reason for a day or two. Over a week is a long time though. It is so annoying, I feel for you. I wonder if you blew out the drum or something?

Maybe as Hearkat, she would know.

CMaz's avatar

Shake your head real hard. No kidding. It works for me.

Take an antihistamine. Once you feel it is kicking in take a steamy shower.

Usually when I go diving I take a antihistamine before I go in. Otherwise I might not be able to come up or I get the same problem you have.


ew. blow your nose ! LMAO

Darwin's avatar

I would go to the doctor because you have been able to dive and clear your ears before, so this is a change. It could be as simple as swelling due to allergies, but you might have an infection.

hearkat's avatar

Hello; I’m an Audiologist.

You say you take antihistamines every day… do they contain a decongestant also? (e.g. Claritin-D, Allegra-D). If not, (and after ensuring that you have no medical contra-indications) you may want to try taking a decongestant (e.g. Sudafed/pseudoephedrine) and/or expectorant (e.g. Mucinex/guaifenesin) to help loosen, drain and dry up your congestion. Orange is not a color I’ve experienced or heard about for mucus… I’m wondering if it might be a fungus. If you can, you might want to get in to see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist as soon as possible.

JLeslie's avatar

I was just thinking that if you take an antihistamine every day, you probably are typically a little inflamed, so it might take you longer then the average person to recover from a pressurization (is that word?) event. Also, if your daily nose spray is just saline or some other non-addictive type of medication then some Afrin might be helpful as I suggested in my first post. I stand by my first suggestion, and avoid whatever you are allergic to if possible (I assume you have allergies since you take daily antihistamines) if it is dust maybe wear a mask while you sleep, or if it is pets and you have one, maybe spend the night at a hotel or friends house for a night.

Mat74UK's avatar

The Doctor reckons it’s a common condition called Otitis externa.
He’s given me Sofradex to use 4 times a day in my left ear for 10 days or until it clears and only 4 days in my right ear.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mat74UK Interesting. Thanks for the update. Let us know if the treatment works.

hearkat's avatar

OK, so there’s debris and possibly an infection in your ear canal. But what about the orange snot?

Darwin's avatar

Apparently orange snot must be a benign condition, possibly related to snorting powdered Tang.

Mat74UK's avatar

The Snot cleared itself after a few days so we put that down the the cold I can’t shake!

hearkat's avatar

@Mat74UK: If you can’t shake a cold, then it is probably not a cold. Most viruses run their course and the body deals with it in short order. If it has persisted for over 2 weeks, your doctor should be investigating other potential causes. (I am still concerned that the snot was orange, but glad that it is no longer so. I hope you feel better soon!)

JLeslie's avatar

Wait, you went scuba diving when you had a cold you couldn’t shake? I would avoid pressurization type conditions when you are congested or super premedicate myself at minimum before going, similar to what flight attendants do. That includes Afrin spray and a decongestant/antihistemine to avoid ear drum rupture, pain, and/or days of having my ears blocked.

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