Sinus's, flying and you.

907

Well-Known Member
When your sinus's are stuffed or something, do you usually postpone any flying? I mean, when my ears pop while decending and I'm sick, they usually stay popped for a good day and it sucks because I can't hear and I have this nice pain in my ear. What do you guys usually do?
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
When your sinus's are stuffed or something, do you usually postpone any flying? I mean, when my ears pop while decending and I'm sick, they usually stay popped for a good day and it sucks because I can't hear and I have this nice pain in my ear. What do you guys usually do?

Depends, most of the time no, because most of the time my sinuses will still somewhat work, and the pressure will be somewhat relieved, however, if I can't pop my ears on the ground with valsalva then I try not to go, or at least stay below 500AGL.
 

Av8trix

Well-Known Member
Yeah, if I can't pop my ears at all on the ground, I generally won't go flying. Things that can help are to drink a lot of water, use a neti pot or other saline rinse (I swear by this! My sinuses hate me less than they used to!), and as a last resort, a nasal spray such as afrin might help you open up enough to make it thru a descent if you get caught with a sinus block up there.

Trust me you don't want to fly with a serious ear block. The pain of an eardrum before it ruptures is worse than a toothache or broken bone (at least it was for me).
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Evil Landlord Capitalist
Trust me you don't want to fly with a serious ear block. The pain of an eardrum before it ruptures is worse than a toothache or broken bone (at least it was for me).
I'll second that. Some of the worst pain I've ever experienced was right before my eardrum ruptured. It's weird, but the actual rupture is a relief, because the pain from the pressure is so intense that it's wonderful for the eardrum to pop and relieve the pressure. Of course, then it takes weeks to heal, and you lose a few percent of your hearing in that ear permanently. It took me six weeks to get back to work after I blew out my eardrum, and it still wasn't completely healed at that point. The ringing sound was still there for a couple more weeks.

Moral of the story: don't fly with even a hint of a sinus infection. It ain't worth it. Sick time is there for a reason.
 

moxiepilot

Well-Known Member
a friend blew out his eardrum on a 135 flight and was unable to fly for the next 6 months. is it worth it?
 

flyguydaniel

New Member
After you experience your first ear block while flying, you won't do it again. I had an infection of some sort a while back that blocked my ears. I flew with it anyway despite the discomfort. I must have ruptured my ear drum because I would get fluid mixed with a tiny bit of blood when I climbed. It wasn't fun and I'll never do it again. I carry a bottle of Afrin in my flightbag just in case now.
 

granlistillo

Well-Known Member
A sinus block is different than what you are describing with your ears.

In the Navy we learn to do the old valsalva manuever to equalize pressure.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valsalva_maneuver

Lean your head back (to stretch the eustachian tube open), close your nose with your thumb and forefinger and blow a quick burst until you can feel the pop in your middle ear. If done properly you shouldnt be blowing that hard, IE dont blow out your eardrum! Might want to talk to flight surgeon if you arent familiar with the technique.

It can help you avoid a perf'd eardrum.

The best way to avoid a sinus block is to not fly with a headcold or hayfever. Afrin may be able to help in an emergency, but again, if you dont fly sick you shouldnt have that problem. Using Afrin habitually can actually make your sinus problems worse.
 

RWH1986

Some Guy
I had a fractured nose from a soccer ball when I was younger so now I always have sinus and congestion problems. I've just have had to learn to deal with it.
 

TXaviator

Well-Known Member
I had a fractured nose from a soccer ball when I was younger so now I always have sinus and congestion problems. I've just have had to learn to deal with it.
same here, always have had sinus problems, you learn to cope...

and i blew an eardrum riding in the back on a 121 flight once. very NOT pleasant.

and DEFINITELY dont get habituated to using afrin... yes it works like magic on the sinuses, but damn its hard to get back to NOT using it. and you really can have baaaad rebound effect from quitting it.
 

Bandit_Driver

Gold Member
may also want to due a search for sinus in the Flight Surgeon area. Dr. Forred has talked about this a few times and different meds too.
 

jtrain609

Anarcho-Bidenist
I flew about a week after I had "gotten over" a cold, or so I thought. On descent into St.Louis, I had a sinus block that felt like somebody was jabbing an ice pick through my forehead/eye ball. I eventually got it to clear, and it happened on the next leg, which is where I banged in off the trip.

I ended up going to an ENT, who diagnosed me with a massive sinus infection, did CAT scans on my head and yanked me out of work for 3 weeks. He straight up said I had no business being in a cockpit until he could get the sinus infection under control.

To be honest, I use less when that sinus block hit because the pain was so intense. Don't fly with a sinus block, it's not worth the pain/threat to safety because you could be doubled over in pain/the damage to your sinuses.
 

CirrusMonkey

No Real Usefulness
Funny, I was going to post something about this and you beat me to it!

About three weeks ago I had an extremely painful toothache which no pain killer would even touch. The pain was so bad that I was not able to sleep. I was able to get into the dentist, on an emergency, who could not find anything wrong with the tooth. She did say that she noticed on the X-ray that my sinuses were clogged and that this might be what was causing the problem. She suggested that I get a decongestant and see what happens.

I try to look for natural ways to treat any ailments I might have but ended up getting Advil Cold and Sinus to start clearing out my sinuses. It worked and after about 12 hours of heavy medication dosages, my toothache disappeared. After a few days I set out to find a natural way to free up my sinuses. My dentist, of all people, suggested that I get a neti-pot. It was a bit awkward and uncomfortable to use but I got used to it after a while.

I caught a cold about a week ago (everyone in the house has it) and would have never known if my nose did not get stuffy during the day while I am at work, when I am not able to use the neti-pot. Each use is good for about 6 hours and I use it before and after sleep.

Though I would share this so that those of you who suffer from any sort of sinus issues might find some relief. Especially for us pilots (active or furloughed) who have medical certificate and duty requirements. My sinuses have been clear for weeks now and that toothache (thank God) has not come back.
 
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