No one wants to feel sick because it disrupts schedules. Runners share the same fate, but people want to know, can I run with an ear infection?
Yes. But there are so many reasons why people prefer to wait and rest until they heal. Also, unlike other physical ailments you can ignore and continue with your training, an ear infection can disrupt your balance.
You may find it challenging to perform some physical activities because we rely on the ears for positional awareness and feedback. Without these essential characteristics, one may experience dizziness and fall.
Depending on the level of ear infection, you may experience fatigue and fever, making you unable to perform strenuous physical activities like running.
Loss of balance
An ear infection can lead to a loss of balance. Inside the ear, the three vestibular systems may lose efficacy when you have an ear infection. The three loops provide motion in various axes, allowing the brain to relay information from the eyes.
Minus a reliable vestibular system, the body can't maintain its balance as it should. For example, you might perceive jogging or walking as natural or easy motions. But without balance, it can be a complex task regardless of age and fitness.
When you first experience an ear infection, consider switching from jogging to walking as you try to establish your balance. If walking also becomes a challenge, take a break from exercising until you heal and regain equilibrium.
Balance disorder might lead to motion sickness and vertigo. These conditions happen when your eye's perception fails to meet the inner ear input and will make a runner feel disoriented.
If the mismatch of the eyes and ear continues, you may feel nauseated. People that suffer from motion sickness experience may experience nausea when trying to read a book in a moving boat, train, or vehicle. It's an uncomfortable experience that may lead to vomiting.
Usually, a motion shouldn't cause dizziness or motion sickness. But if you have an ear infection, the inner eyes feed false perception, and the mismatch from the brain signals causes disorientation.
An ear infection may make you nauseous when running, walking, or standing, even though these are normally physical activities.
When you experience any infection, your body provides a natural reaction to try and fight it, which might make you feel exhausted. For example, running requires lots of energy, and when battling an ear infection, you might feel drained and low on energy.
Even when fit and can usually run 5 miles, an ear infection might make you feel fatigued and challenge you to maintain your pace and distance. Consider changing your workout routine and making it less strenuous for the body. Change routes, and cut on activities that consume your energy, like traveling.
Pain and pressure
Extreme causes of ear infections can cause pain and pressure that worsens with every head movement. Therefore, reduce exercises that utilize head movements, as this will only make the pain unbearable and the pressure immense.
Exercises like swimming when you have an ear infection may also cause additional pressure that leads to more pain and should be avoided.
Self-Care Tips for An Ear Infection
Unless you take care of an ear infection early, it may only worsen. Here are ways to aid you in recovering from an ear infection.
Continuing to stress your body while you have an ear infection might only exacerbate the condition. More stress on the body may lead to irritability, depression, or mental and physical exhaustion.
All these adverse effects might worsen your condition and make you feel sicker. So instead, take the time to relax by watching a movie or sleeping.
Avoid becoming frustrated
An ear infection steering you away from your daily routine might easily make you frustrated and fussy over tiny whims. Even though these frustrations are normal, understanding that an ear infection is a temporary situation that will pass is an encouraging thought.
Consider over-the-counter medicines if you have a prescription to help you with the pain. For example, antibiotics counter infections, and you can take pain relievers if you experience pain and pressure.
In many instances, ear infections don't seem much of an emergency, and you can probably overcome them naturally or by taking antibiotics. But if the symptoms persist, consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist—otolaryngologist.