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Can i fly overseas with Nasal Polyps?

By Anonymous December 17, 2009 - 1:06am
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I have been diagnosed with Nasal Polyps but wont be able to have the surgery befroe my overseas trip. Wondering if i will be okay to fly

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Good question! The answer is: it depends, and you first need to check with your doctor, as the quantity and severity of your nasal polpys can have an impact on this condition.

Here is some information regarding generic "sinus conditions" and flying (including colds, flu and sinusitis; there was limited information about polyps specifically, but you can use this as a guide):
What you may be concerned about regarding your sinus condition and flying:
1. Cabin pressure/air pressure and its effect on sinus conditions can be painful. Many sources said that the air pressure alteration when flying can cause changes within the "air pressure in the sinuses" and in your middle ear that may lead to:
- pain
- equilibrium distortion
- block the Eustachian tube (see: EmpowHER: Eustachian Tube)
- further congestion (we are unsure if your nasal polyps are causing blockage, and making it difficult to breath? Flying could lead to further difficulty breathing through your nasal passages).

Information from MedicineNet.com:
2. "The pressure changes inside the middle ear may sometimes lead to vertigo (a sense of "spinning"), tinnitus ("ringing" in the ears) or hearing loss. In severe cases, rupture of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) may occur."

These are the worst-case scenarios, but I wanted you to be aware of all of the possible effects from flying. Please talk with your doctor, as your polyps are most likely benign, and may not be causing blockage or breathing problems. If they are not severe, and the "worst" that can happen is congestion during your flight, you may want to talk with your doctor about what medications (ie, decongestant) is suitable for you.

3. Lastly, the other factor to consider is a possible sinus infection or other communicable disease that could further complicate your current condition, as respiratory illnesses are easily spread from person-to-person in confined spaces (such as an airplane). Your doctor would most likely want you to take extra precautions to prevent "catching a cold" virus, including washing your hands, possibly wearing a face mask, sleeping and eating well.

Please let us know what your doctor suggests, as your answer could provide further information to others with your same condition, and in a similar situation (whether to travel or not). Best wishes...again, I provided the "worst-case" information, so that you can make an informed decision, and it may be appropriate for you to fly without hesitation..once you speak with your doctor.

December 17, 2009 - 3:07pm
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