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Flying while sick hurts! #5320644 01/12/20 10:39 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
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ZZman Offline OP
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Went to Colorado for Christmas to see my daughter and grandson. While there that little bugger made me sick. My head was stuffed up and unfortunately my ears as well.

On descent on the way back my ears were killing me and my head felt like it wanted to explode! Had muffled hearing for 2-3 days after.

I tried popping my ears over and over, opening and closing my mouth etc and nothing worked.

This is the first time I experienced this.... Ouch!

Anyone else have this problem?


2007 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD.
2005 Toyota Avalon XLS
Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320648 01/12/20 10:44 AM
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skyactiv Online Content
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Wax build up in your ears?


Wife: 15' Audi A4 quattro 6 speed manual
Me: 18' Elantra Sport 6 speed manual
The rude guy that points out reality


Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320649 01/12/20 10:48 AM
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Yes. I tried those plastic ear plugs that slow down the pressure equalization during landing and they help. Many drugstores have them. Same situation. Plugged sinus from a cold.

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 01/12/20 10:50 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320652 01/12/20 10:51 AM
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MrMoody Offline
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Yes. Too late for this time, but pseudoephedrine is the answer. The stuff you have to sign for at a pharmacy, not the phenylephrine they sell as a substitute.


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Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320670 01/12/20 11:13 AM
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SevenBizzos Offline
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Yes, I had a month long sinus infection that my doctor wouldn't treat until my third visit. In the interim, I had a trip planned. A couple of the most painful flights I've had. I couldn't hear properly for a day or so. It was miserable.


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Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: MrMoody] #5320687 01/12/20 11:42 AM
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JLTD Offline
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Originally Posted by MrMoody
Yes. Too late for this time, but pseudoephedrine is the answer. The stuff you have to sign for at a pharmacy, not the phenylephrine they sell as a substitute.


Yep, the "real" Sudafed does help. The kind they can make meth out of...


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Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320693 01/12/20 11:51 AM
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Kestas Offline
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I had the same problem when I lived in the hills of Berkeley and was stuffed up. Driving down to sea level was painful. That's when I learned to hold my nose and blow for instant relief.

Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320698 01/12/20 12:02 PM
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Cujet Offline
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As a pilot, I have to deal with this regularly. I've been able to clear my ears most of the time. However, an allergic reaction can be impossible to overcome. Spend time sightseeing during ash tree pollen season and Eustachian tubes can become so inflamed that no drug treatment and no amount of blowing will solve the problem quickly.

The pain may be a combination of the inflammation and the pressure. But oh man it can be awful.

Of note, a 2 hour descent rate from 8000 feet (typical cabin altitude) is still too fast for those with the worst blockages. 5 hours is acceptable.

Last edited by Cujet; 01/12/20 12:04 PM.

People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320703 01/12/20 12:13 PM
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wwillson Online Content
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I was flying with a student of mine one time from Chicago to Springfield MO in a Turbo Arrow, which is unpressurized. We were above 12,500' for a while and when we came back down, I had horrible (and that's not an exaggeration) pain in my right ear. I didn't realize at the time that I had an ear infection. I seriously thought I was going to pass out it hurt so bad. It's a good thing the student was working on his instrument and we weren't IMC. He could handle everything fine on his own in VMC. We landed and were on the ground for a couple hours. My ear stopped hurting so bad, but hearing was difficult and some pain was still there. When we flew back to Chicagoland, we didn't go above 3,000', the pain wasn't nearly as sever. The Dr. confirmed an ear infection the next day. I will never forget how much that hurt

Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: wwillson] #5320707 01/12/20 12:22 PM
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4WD Offline
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Same thing but as a passenger of a Twin Otter in Africa … fortunately on the way home …
what my ENT got out of my ear could make you miss a meal

Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320710 01/12/20 12:28 PM
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Earaches and toothaches are the worst. The upper respiratory infection I was treated for recently was 7-8 years old - never went away and never got so bad, that I needed to visit the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care Center. It went from my middle ears to my chest and was only discovered during an Appendectomy I had 8-9 weeks ago. I was taking Nasal Spray, Decongestants and Allergy Pills for the past 3-4 years.

Now I'm fine. No more hoarse throat when I need to yell or sing loudly. No more stuffy nose. No more dark brown wax discharge from my right ear. No more shortness of breath. No more moderate pain, ear-popping in high-rise elevators that I ride weekly.

Life Is Good...... for the first time in a long-long time.

Last edited by Triple_Se7en; 01/12/20 12:33 PM.

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Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320781 01/12/20 01:58 PM
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Onetor Online Content
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Hope you are doing better! Good health is most important.


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Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320784 01/12/20 02:04 PM
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I have found that chewing something throughout the course of the flight helps me a lot...used to use gum and got tired of having to dispose of it when it got nasty, so now I usually chew Mentos slowly at least on the ascent and (especially) descent. It ends up being a lot of sugar, but that's better than pain.

On my second or third flying trip ever, the pain in my right ear was so bad on the descent that I kept grabbing involuntarily at my head...I'm sure I looked like a loony. Didn't want to fly ever again after that, but I got over it.


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Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320842 01/12/20 03:04 PM
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Flying with ear infection or sinus infection is a horrible experience which I've gone through a few times. Very bad. Nowadays, if I'm clogged up in my head and have to fly, I take a 12-hour Sudafed (need to ask a pharmacist behind the counter for it). It's 120 mg of pseudoephedrine HCl and it definitely helps relieve the pressure and makes air travel a lot more bearable.

EDIT: Looks like MrMoody beat me to it. thumbsup


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Re: Flying while sick hurts! [Re: ZZman] #5320857 01/12/20 03:25 PM
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Cressida Offline
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I wonder if flying out of Denver makes it worse because that is the one and only time I remember and it was horrible. I didn't have any signs of being ill but on the decent the pain started just above my eye sockets. I had to take my glasses off and tried everything with no relief. It was a couple of years ago but so bad it's something I'll not forget. For me it wasn't in my ears but in those sinus cavities in your forehead and felt like my head was going to explode. It was a couple of days before I was pain free.

Last edited by Cressida; 01/12/20 03:26 PM.
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