Are You Suffering From Sinusitis
Sinusitis occurs when there is inflammation in the tissue lining the sinuses . The inflammation prevents the sinuses from properly flushing out toxins and draining. This can cause an array of symptoms that you may be experiencing if you have sinusitis, including:
- Sinus pressure
- Sore throat
Sinus infections can put a strain on your life, work, and family. Dallas Breathe Free Sinus & Allergy Centers, in Dallas, TX, can determine if you are suffering from sinusitis or another condition. If suffering from a sinus infection while flying, you may experience severe sinus pressure and pain. We recommend avoiding air travel when possible if you have a sinus infection. By treating the root cause of your sinus pressure and pain, you can avoid a lifetime of painful flights.
Explore how balloon sinuplasty from Dallas Breathe Free Sinus & Allergy Centers can serve as a long-term, minimally invasive solution to treat your recurrent or chronic sinusitis here.
However, if youâre suffering from sinus pressure and have not yet found a long-term solution, here are some tips to help you get through your upcoming flight.
What Do You Do If You Have A Sinus Infection
Try to avoid people you have cold and flu -like symptoms. If you have sinusitis, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands to avoid making anyone sick. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: Sinusitis Overview. CDC: Sinus Infection . Cleveland Clinic: Acute Sinusitis.
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Is Flying With Sinusitis Dangerous
Flying can wreak havoc on your ears and sinuses with the radical changes in air pressure.
If youre prone to sinus infections and have a flight planned, you are probably expecting to be in pain but it doesnt have to be that way.
Every day your body produces about one litre of mucus, which picks up and flushes out foreign particles, bacteria and air pollutants. When your body is functioning optimally, the mucus is simply flushed down your throat and into your stomach where the acid destroys the bad bacteria.
When your sinuses become infected, inflamed or congested, the mucus collects and your sinus cavities become blocked and painful.
Why you feel the change in air pressure
Its natural to be more acutely aware of changes in air pressure when youre flying, and the physics are quite simple. Air expands when the atmospheric pressure decreases. Take a balloon for example if it holds three litres of air on the ground, by the time a plane has reached cruising altitude, it will have expanded to hold four litres of air.
If your sinuses are blocked, the increase in air pressure will most likely cause you a great deal of discomfort.
Relieving the pressure
Fortunately there are easy ways to alleviate the pain associated with sinusitis during a flight. Dr Garrett Bennett, a rhinoplasty and sinus surgeon based in New York, suggests the following:
4. SteamThe dry cabin air will decrease the mucus flow in your nose, which allows bacteria and viruses to stick around.
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What Is Ear Barotrauma
Barotrauma typically affects the middle ear. The middle ear contains a pocket of air that is especially sensitive to changes in air pressure outside the body. When flying, driving through the mountains, or going scuba diving, your ears can begin the hurt due to this pressure change.
Common symptoms of ear barotrauma are:
- Pain or discomfort in your ears
- A feeling like your ears are stuffed
- Temporary hearing loss
- In rare cases, bleeding from the ear
If youre experiencing severe ear pain when flying, adults should contact their doctor if it lasts more than a few hours.
Best Tips For Flying With Sinus Infection
There are travellers who enjoy flying and people who hate it. But I dont think there is a single person who actually enjoys flying with sinus infection. Sinus infection, ear infection or sinusitis are frequent especially during the autumn and winter month, and can really spoil your mood before the flight.
I myself have enjoyed flying with sinus infection a pretty nasty one last Christmas. And although the flight still wasnt pleasant, it was not as bad as I would expect in my condition. And now having two small kids, who get runny noses and pain in their ears quite often, I need my strategy how to cope in case they develop some cold just before flying.
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How To Survive Flying With A Cold
These days, any time you are out in public with a runny nose or cough, someone is likely to give you a sideways glance. And you are likely to respond, Its just a cold. Its not Covid.
The CDC has a whole section on its website dedicated to questions about traveling in a time of the coronavirus. The bottom line: if youre sick, dont travel. That is particularly true if you have an infectious disease such as Covid.
But the reality is that sometimes we all have to travel even with a cold. So, if youre sure it isnt Covid and you decide to fly, these tips and advice are aimed at helping you get through the flight with the least amount of discomfort. And, we hope, youll wear a mask and do everything you can to keep from coughing and sneezing on your fellow passengers and the flight attendants.
What Causes Sinus Squeeze While Flying
When an airplane takes off, the body undergoes a change in pressure and elevation. In fact, the air pressure keeps changing throughout the flight.
Your ears and sinuses are supposed to adjust to the external change in pressure. It is when the sinuses are too slow to adjust that the pain occurs, and forceful pressure intensifies. Often aerosinusitis can be indicative of an underlying issue like acute, chronic, or recurrent sinusitis, ear infection, and flu.
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Anyone Had To Cope With Sinus Problems On The Flight Over
I have allergies and asthma, and about 12 years ago I had sinus surgery, and haven’t had too many major issues up uptil three months ago.
Four rounds of antibiotics, a couple of bouts on prednizone, and a patch of pnenomonia later I’m hooked up with an ENT who’s now doing the tests, got me started on some therapies, and continuing on another antibiotic!
I told him I’m panicing because we’ll be leaving for our “big trip” overseas in April! I’ve got 7 weeks to get this thing under control!
I didn’t get the impression I would have surgery… I don’t think I’d have enough time to recover. He’s not even going to be seeing me again for 2 weeks which means it will be 5 weeks to flight time.
He assured me he’d load me up with any medications I’d need but warned me I could be in pain during the flight.
Arrggg… this is beyond depressing! We timed this trip around my son’s school break so he won’t lose too much time in school, and of course we’d lose a bunch of money if we rescheduled… hotels not much of a problem, but the fees for the flights, and we already got our Eurostar tix etc… ug!
Anyway, thanks for letting me vent, and if anyone has had sinus problems during flights, if you could give me a heads up on what to expect, I surely would appreciate it!
Thanks… I need hugs! 🙁
Dr Bennetts 7 Tips For Minimizing Sinus Discomfort During Flights
Low moisture content, increased density of infectious agents on surfaces, and pressure changes during ascent and descent can all contribute to sinus problems. Take care to follow these SEVEN IMPORTANT TIPS as preventative measures to minimize the potential damaging effects that that air travel can wreak on your sinuses.
Use a saline solution during the flight to minimize the damage caused by the dry air and low humidity.
Pack a small bottle of saline solution in your carry-on luggage or stow-away bag , and use it approximately once an hour, in an effort to maintain moisture in the nose. Over-the-counter saline solutions are readily available in travel sizes. There are now saline gel sprays that will last longer than the saline spray alone.
Carry a decongestant spray with you to use before you board your flight and/or before descent.
If you have sinus pressure during flights then you should bring along a decongestant spray , found in the nasal aisle at the drug store, and use it approximately one hour before a flight of any duration. This will assist in clearing your nasal passages and ensuring proper sinus ventilation during and throughout your flight. You can alternatively take an oral decongestant like an hour before the flight as well. You need to use caution as decongestants can cause nasal dryness by opening the nose more and exposing the inside of the nose to dry air. A decongestant spray can also be used to slow a nosebleed should one occur.
Steam your Sinuses
How Does Air Travel Affect Ears And Sinuses
What do air travel, sinus infections, colds, and ear infections have in common? During air travel, the cabin pressure needed during ascent and descent can cause pain and pressure in the sinuses, face, and ears. Many have experienced popping in your ears or some other side effect of this cabin pressure while flying.
For those who have an existing ear infection, allergies, sinus infections, or congestion might experience added pain and pressure during air travel. Flying with a pre-existing ear infection or other ear, nose, or throat condition could even lead to complications in some cases. For this reason, many doctors will recommend avoiding air travel when experiencing a severe infection in the ears, nose, or throat.
Know Whether Or Not Youre Contagious
Sinus infections can be caused either by a virus or bacteria . Knowing the root of your sinus infection will help you decide whether youre going to risk getting all of your fellow passengers sick. Note that an untreated sinus infection can lead to an upper respiratory infection, which is also contagious.
For more information, check out this post: Can a sinus infection be contagious?
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What If You Need To Fly
People with sinus infections know that travelling by air can be quite painful. During a flight, the pressure of the air inside the sinuses and the middle ear must be equal to the cabin pressure of the airplane, which keeps changes during descending and ascending of the airplane.
Sinus infections tend to cause a blockage in the Eustachian tube.
A tube that connects the middle ear with the back of a nose and plays an important role in maintaining equal pressures on either side of the ear drum, thus the airflow is restricted leading to the disruption of the equalization of ear pressures, which results in severe pain.
Pain may not be the only symptom-taking place due to the blockage of the Eustachian tube. The pressure changes can also lead to vertigo or tinnitus that is ringing in the ears or even the loss of hearing ability sometimes. In times of severe cases, the tympanic membrane also gets ruptured.
Most doctors will advise people suffering from sinus infections to avoid flying to prevent pain and any other possible complications. However, if flying is your only option, decongestants should be used to overcome the blockage of air into the tube.
Consuming pain relievers will also help you to avoid discomfort. While flying chewing gum may provide people with sinus infections some relief as the flight ascents and descents. Giving a pacifier or bottle to susceptible infants will also help prevent pain.
Can I Fly With A Sinus Infection
Cramped seats, flight delays, questionable layoversairplane flights can have their own special set of challenges. But the pain that comes from flying with a sinus infection? That can be excruciating.
As a general rule, docs will tell you to avoid flying while you have a sinus infection. Whats the problem? Pressure. When your flight ascends and descends, air pressure changes rapidly, and your sinuses and middle ear have to adjust.
Adjustments cant happen properly when certain sicknesses, such as sinus infections, block your bodys mechanisms to help equalize pressure. The result: uncomfortable, painful pressure that can make your head feel like its about to pop. In the worst cases, when pressure changes frequently in a short time like with multiple layovers the eardrum can actually rupture.
If its unavoidable and you have to fly, there are a few measures to help tackle pressure problems both before the flight and once youre airborne.
From Dr. Robert Pincus: Using Afrin nasal spray 2 sprays in each nostril 1-2 hours before landing can help lessen the chance of the pressure change on landing causing sinus and ear pain.
If you have specific questions about flying with a sinus infection or if youre wondering whether youre well enough to fly give us a call. Each case is unique, and wed be happy to help you assess the situation before you take to the skies.
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Avoid The Pain Be Prepared
And yet here I am again, flying VERY congested . As you can imagine, Im just a teensy bit of apprehensive, but the difference is this time Ive done some research! I scoured the internet and came up with what seems to be a good strategy. I will shortly be able to tell you if common internet wisdom prevails, or if I suffered another 11 hours of pain and suffering.
Wish me luck, I board soon!
Air Travel And Your Sinuses Is It Safe
You may not be aware, but traveling on a plane when you have a severe cold or sinus infection can be quite painful. Air travel and sinuses dont always mix well, especially when you are feeling under the weather. Inside the planes cabin, air pressure changes during lift-off and when the plane descends which affects the air outside and inside your head. While this isnt usually a comfortable feeling to begin with, if you have congested sinuses, this can be a painful experience. However, its not just the changes in pressure you need to worry about. Increased infectious agents and low moisture can increase your chances of sinusitis. Inside the plane, everyone is in close quarters and the air is ridden with bacteria and viruses, so its no surprise that flying can contribute to your sinus troubles. Luckily, there are ways to balance air travel and your sinuses for those times when you have no choice but to fly.
While its advised to avoid air travel when you are sick, in some cases, it may be unavoidable. When this occurs, it is crucial to tackle this problem head-on before and during the flight. If you are looking for ways to balance air travel and your sinuses, check out these helpful tips that can help minimize or prevent sinus pain and pressure while flying.
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What Do I Do If Flying With Allergic Reactions Is My Only Option
It is best to avoid complications and pain by not flying if there are active sinus infections or ear infections. But what if you must fly? There are steps you can take to relieve the symptoms and prevent you from having to fly if you have sinus problems.
- To avoid any blockages, take either topical or oral decongestants prior to your flight
- To reduce pain due to high air pressure, you can use over-the-counter pain medication
- To pop your ears, chew gum or swallow often
- The Valsalva maneuver To pop your ears, hold your nose and exhale through a closed jaw.
- Use Ear Planes, earplugs that regulate the air pressure in your ears.
Can Children Suffer From Sinus Infections
- Your childs sinuses are not fully developed until age 20
- However, children can still suffer from sinus infection
- Although small, the maxillary and ethmoid sinuses are present at birth
- Sinusitis is difficult to diagnose in children because respiratory infections are more frequent, and symptoms can be subtle
- Unlike a cold or allergy, bacterial sinusitis requires a doctors diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to prevent future complications
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Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute
There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:
- Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
- Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
- Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
- Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.
For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.