I've learned something useful this week which I'd like to share with others -- especially if they're susceptible to ear infections, as I am.
Earlier this week, I was suffering from a cold (it's still hanging on) and I could feel my ears starting to fill up and become stuffy, the early warning signs of an ear infection. I really, REALLY did not want to have an ear infection over Thanksgiving, so I got online and started looking up information about our friend otitis media. A Wikipedia article on the subject led me to an article on the Valsalva maneuver, which is used by pilots and others to re-establish ventilation in the middle ear. It seemed pretty simple, and if it would help me avoid getting an ear infection I was all for it, so I did it a few times. It seemed to clear out my inner ear, so I was all smiles.
The next day I discovered two things:
1. The Valsalva maneuver does indeed dislodge infected sinus matter blocking the Eustachian tubes, but that matter has to go somewhere; if you perform the maneuver several times with gusto and vigor, you are most likely to blow that goop into your eye cavity.
2. The same bacteria which cause ear infections also cause conjunctivitis, or pinkeye.
So, you guessed it, for the last several days I've had a rip-roaring case of pinkeye. I've already managed to give it to my husband, poor man, and I'm going to try to quarantine myself to keep it from spreading any further. Today the doctor handed me some antiseptic eyedrops and a sign reading LEPROUS and kicked me out of his office, so I'm hoping I should be on the mend soon.
Having had both, I think I can say I'd rather suffer another ear infection than go through pinkeye again. At least with an ear infection you can get some things done. Not being able to see very well puts me into a world of hurt. I can't do much of anything requiring good eyesight, including reading or messing around online, and bright light of any kind hurts right now. Mostly I've been lying around with a damp washcloth over my eyes, muttering about my own stupidity.
Learn from my folly. Don't do this.