Are you planning to fly with a sinus infection? Wait! It is not advisable. Better check with an ENT specialist before you go through an unforgettable experience. Ask your doctor if there is any question about your safety. Before that, those who do not know if it is a sinus infection, let us go through the symptoms and know more about sinus.

What is sinus?

A sinus infection occurs when your nasal cavities become swollen, infected, and inflamed. It is medically known as Rhino sinusitis. Sinusitis is mainly caused by a virus and sometimes by bacteria or fungus. Several other conditions like nasal polyps, tooth infections and other kinds of allergies are also the reasons for sinus symptoms and pain. 

This is a world where we seldom get a chance to have a 360 degree observation about our health and fitness because time management is always an unsolved puzzle for nearly everyone. Sinus is a troubling and irritating problem. There are several do’s, don’ts and symptoms we must be aware of.

Symptoms

A quick read about some common sinus symptoms:

  • Reduced sense of taste or smell
  • Nasal inflammation
  • Thick, discolored discharge from the nose
  • Pain and tenderness around eyes or cheeks
  • Swelling on facial area, nose or forehead
  • Postnasal drainage- drainage down the back of the throat
  • Congestion
  • Cough

   Other advanced symptoms can include:

  • Headache
  • Toothache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Aching in the upper jaw and teeth
  • Ear pain
  • Bad breath

Complications:

  • Vision problems: Severe sinus infection is capable of spreading to your eye socket and cause permanent blindness.
  • Infections: Some serious skin infections or infection of the bone may occur.

Now moving on, here’s some light on whether it is ok and safe to fly with sinusitis infection or not?

woman having pain due to sinus

As per most of the doctors, it is best to avoid flying when you have any kind of infections, especially sinusitis. This is the best way to avoid pain and discomfort and any other possible complications. But in case if flying is essential and cannot be avoided, then the following things should be kept in mind.

Tips to relieve sinus pressure while flying

  • You can use decongestants as nasal sprays: 

These medicines provide relief from swelling and ease the heaviness due to sinus pressure and air pressure while flying. Such nasal sprays could be naphazoline, phenylephrine, oxymetazoline (Vicks sinus nasal spray). You are suggested not to use a decongestant nasal spray for more than three days. Talk to a doctor first.

  • Antihistamines: 

These medicines will ease sinus allergies and discomforts when taken along with decongestants while flying. This will relieve you from sniffing and sneezing and hence, aid sinus pressure from getting worse due to air pressure while being on a flight.

clear out nasal passage

  • You can use decongestants as oral pills: 

Decongestants also come in the form of pills that should not be consumed for more than 7 days without your doctor’s guidance and prescription. These can be phenylephrine (Sudafed PE, and others) and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). And these congestions should not be given to children under the age of 4 without a doctor’s consultation. 

  • Stay hydrated: 

You should keep drinking water and stay hydrated as dryness will cause building up that stiffness in your nose which might be a real nightmare while being on a flight. Studies suggest that drinking some warm liquid like herbal tea will help break that congestion in your nose and relieve you from pain. Also, it provides psychological comfort.
Stay hydrated

  • Do not drink alcohol: 

Consuming alcohol in the flight with your sinus problem will worsen the pain as it will dehydrate you and cause the lining of your nose to swell.

  • Rinse your sinuses: 

This is also known as nasal lavage. Clean your nose with a sterile solution in the flight washroom. This can be carried along in a small squeeze bottle. This will help to clear the nasal passage and avoid congestion due to air pressure.

  • You can use earplugs: 

This is a product developed for air force pilots. These earplugs allow the air pressure changes to take place slowly through a passage in the earplugs. Hence, it protects your eardrum from rapid and large ambient changes in air pressure while flying.
earplugs in flight

  • Learn the technique known as Valsalva Maneuver: 

This technique equalizes the air pressure within the ears. To perform this technique, you need to hold your nose closed and give a thrust of exhaling through the closed mouth. Thereafter, you will hear a faint popping or sometimes a high pitched noise in ears when you do this successfully. This will provide relief from congestion pain.

  • Keep yawning and chewing gum: 

Yawning and chewing gum especially while ascent and descent will help you in blowing your nose very gently. Hence, you will avoid sinus pain caused by blockage which usually occurs while take-off or landing.
Yawning in flight

Take Away

So, these are some simple tips you must consider if taking a flight is necessary while suffering from sinus. However, these tips will help you avoid congestion and pain that is caused due to air pressure while being in the air, do not forget to consult an ENT specialist before you fly.

Therefore, fly safe. Keep yawning and chewing. Stay hydrated to keep those nasal cavities clear and pain-free while flying.

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