Flying and Your Sinuses
It’s that time of year, when many Americans travel great distances. With airfares continuing to drop each season, it’s no surprise that a record number of people are taking airplanes to see friends and loved ones throughout the winter months. But what can you do if you’re prone to sinus pain while traveling, or find yourself getting sick just before takeoff?
The best precaution is also the simplest: invest in a decongestant. These tried-and-true OTC medications are a fast and effective way to reduce congestion in your sinuses, cutting down the risk of developing unbearable pain after all those changes in cabin pressure.
Rinses can help as well, especially sterile saline solution that can help clear out the nose and moisten the airway during flight.
You also want to avoid anything that can dehydrate you, including coffee, alcohol and strenuous exercise. Bottom line: stay hydrated before, during, and after the flight.
Finally you should consider taking active steps to equalize the pressure in your skull, particularly during descent. The so-called Valsalva Maneuver is the most common remedy here: close your mouth and squeeze your nose shut with your fingers, then gently blow until you hear popping or squeaking in the ears. Don’t overdo it, however, as too much pressure from within can be just as bad as pressure from outside.
If you have experienced ongoing sinus symptoms and want a more aggressive approach to pain during your peak travel days, visit a sinus specialist in Los Angeles. We can help you achieve a more normal level of sinus health for every trip.