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Flying with congestion

Flying with congestion
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Is flying with a sinus infection dangerous?

Congestion caused by a head cold or sinus infection can result in pain during air travel because of pressure changes. Is there anything flyers can do to alleviate head and ear pain caused by congestion? Here is our advice.

Is it safe to fly if you have congestion?

Anyone who has concerns about the effects of flying on a health condition like congestion should speak with a healthcare professional. They can tell you about any red-flag symptoms, and advise on managing less serious symptoms. You can ask for a doctor’s letter, which will help if you need to change your flight or make an insurance claim.

You may be worried about spreading your respiratory infection to others. If you can’t change your flight to a later date when you’re feeling better, be sure to wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of it considerately.

What causes congestion pain during a flight?

Congestion affects the body’s ability to deal with changes in pressure. When you go from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure, your ears pop. This is your body’s way of equalizing the pressure in your ears. But congestion and inflammation can prevent your ears from popping.

How can I relieve pain caused by congestion during air travel?

There are a few steps you can take to ease the discomfort of traveling when you have congestion. The first thing to do is ahead of your flight, take steps to relieve your congestion. Some people swear by a steamy shower. Others use decongestants, either tablets or sprays. Talk to a pharmacist to find a congestion remedy suitable for your trip. Treat any allergies that may be causing congestion, too.

During your flight, stay hydrated and encourage your ears to pop by yawning or by chewing or sucking candy.

After your flight, a shower can help also. But if the pain persists after your flight, seek medical advice.

Protecting your health on vacation with a good pre-travel routine

We recommend making a travel health appointment six to eight weeks ahead of your trip. A travel health adviser can tell you about the health risks you are likely to encounter on your trip abroad and suggest ways of reducing the chances they will make you sick.

This may include getting vaccinated against some diseases that are rarely encountered in the US, including tick-borne encephalitis,yellow fever and hepatitis A.

It’s best to get an appointment six to eight weeks before departure because you’ll need several shots of some travel vaccines to ensure the best protection. The good news is that some travel vaccines will boost your immunity for years to come, which represents excellent value for money if you’re a frequent traveler.

Global Travel Clinics has plenty of convenient downtown locations and lots of appointments. Use our clinics page to find your nearest travel health center. You can even make an appointment early morning or at the end of the day so you don’t have to use PTO for your travel shots.