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"Is it okay to fly on a plane if I have sinus problems?"

ZocdocAnswersIs it okay to fly on a plane if I have sinus problems?


Had a really bad sinus infection but I think it is all the way healed. I have to fly on a plane next week but I'm nervous about the pressure from going up and down. Even if my infection is healed, could flying on a plane do damage to my sinuses?


Sorry to hear that you had a recent sinus infection, but glad to hear that you think it has run its course. This is a very good question you pose about flying, and one that we hear relatively common in the otolaryngology (ENT aka Ears Nose Throat) office. One of your questions was "if I am totally healed, does flying still pose a risk to my sinuses?" This is relatively easy to answer, as if there is no inflammation in otherwise normal sinuses, then "no" there should be no risk to flying. As you well know there is erectile tissue within your nose and sinuses that swells when you have an infection (it can swell for other reasons as well such as allergy, etc). This doesn't only occur with a sinus infection, but also with any kind of URI (upper respiratory viral infection). This is part of the reason why people complain of having a "sinus" infection so frequently with colds. Sinus infections are routinely over diagnosed and treated as a result. Anyways, in some situations people truly do get chronic and recurrent sinus infections due to chronic inflammation that blocks the outflow of the sinuses. These people usually should be followed by an ENT. In this situation, even after an infection is cleared, there is residual inflammation, and they may suffer some discomfort from the pressure change of flying as a result. If you are able to breath fine without any sinus pressure, nasal obstruction, or nasal pain, you will probably be fine. You should also make an appointment with an ENT to have them take a look and make sure that your sinuses are clear. Best of luck.

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