Skip to Content



Barotrauma is an injury to your body caused by a pressure change. You may have an injury to your ears, sinuses, or teeth. It can also affect your lungs, stomach, or intestines. It is also called ear, sinus, lung, or gut squeeze.



  • Medicines can help decrease pain or swelling. They can also help dry fluid in your nose or sinuses. You may also need medicine to make it easier to have a bowel movement.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for hearing, blood, or other tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Decrease the risk of future barotrauma:

  • Do not fly or scuba dive following a cold or ear infection. Ask your healthcare provider if and when it is safe for you to do these activities.
  • Follow guidelines about the recommended time between flights, scuba dives, skydives. Do not exercise or take a hot bath right after you scuba dive.
  • Keep your ears clear when you fly or scuba dive. Avoid earplugs and tight-fitting hoods when you dive. Swallowing, yawning, or moving your jaw sideways may help your ears adjust during pressure changes. Do not sleep during take-off or landings. You may also pinch your nose, close your mouth, and gently push air out as if you are blowing your nose. You may also pinch your nose and say the letter K over and over again.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are dizzy, feel nauseated, or vomit.
  • You have a headache, face pain, or feel like one or both of your ears are blocked or painful.
  • You have swelling or pain in your abdomen or rectum.
  • You have extreme pain in a joint or muscle.
  • You have swelling in your face, legs, or feet.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have blood or fluid coming from your ear or nose.
  • You have skin changes, such as a rash or red or purple patches.
  • You cough up blood, have trouble breathing, or have chest pain.
  • You feel drowsy, there are changes in the way that you act, or you have trouble thinking clearly.
  • You have odd eye movements, or you have trouble keeping your balance.
  • You have changes in your hearing.
  • You cannot feel your arm or leg.
  • Your neck, shoulders, or chest swell, and your voice changes.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Barotrauma (Aftercare Instructions)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.