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Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

Nottinghamshire...
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Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

Hi all,

I have a long haul flight coming up next week and am freaking out.

I've been suffering with an ear infection, blocked ears and sinusitis for 5 months and nothing is budging the pressure behind my ear drum. I've gone through 7 courses of antibiotics, decongestants etc etc.

I recognise that you aren't doctors and aren't a substitute for advice from a doctor, but my doctor has no advice. My GP has not advised me that I shouldn't fly and has told me to continue a steroid spray than I'm already using. His parting comment was simply "Well, I'll put you in for an appointment when you get back and we'll see whether the plane's killed or cured it".

Has anyone flown with a similar issue and have any idea for how to make the flight less uncomfortable/painful?

I am getting very worried about my ear drums bursting or perforating. My sinuses and ears already hurt, so I'm expecting a continuation of that (and have plenty of pain meds in case it worsens any). I struggle with pressure during take off and landing at the best of times (I get very light headed).

Has anyone used anything like earplanes and found them helpful? Or any specific OTC meds of that people have had good experiences with?

Equally, does anyone know how you stand travel insurance wise with this stuff? I don't want my ear drums to burst and find that I have medical bills to foot because I didn't declare it, particularly given that I have no idea what on earth to declare as it hasn't been officially diagnosed as anything.

40 replies to this topic
Ellisville, Missouri
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1. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

Have you been to an ENT doctor? I had the same thing...no help from antibiotics. An ENT solved the problem and I flew without any issue.

Ellisville, Missouri
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2. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

Have you been to an ENT doctor? I had the same thing...no help from antibiotics. An ENT solved the problem and I flew without any issue.

Hampshire, UK
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3. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

Lindsey, if you suffer from trouble on the plane or in resort, and end up needing medical treatment abroad at a private doctor/hospital, the first thing your insurers will do will be to ask your GP if you had a pre-existing condition - to which the answer will be yes - and consequently they will probably decline your claim for not declaring it.

You say you've had an ear infection and sinusitis - those are the things to declare to your insurers. Also inform your insurer that your GP is aware of your flight plans and has not advised you to cancel your trip.

GPs can be horribly vague, especially if you try to get them to commit to whether or not you should fly.

Please tell your insurers about this - they may impose an additional premium but it will be worth it for the peace of mind. The only problem I can forsee is if you already had the condition at the time you bought the insurance policy, in which case they may refuse cover for this condition.

PS - I used to work in travel insurance claims so I've got a bit of experience in this area....

Nottinghamshire...
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4. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

I have. Unfortunately, he was less than helpful. Insisted that despite there being pressure behind my ear drum and reduced hearing I, and I quote, "just have a headache". He prescribed low dose noritryptiline for neurological pain and suggested I should be referred to neurology if I didn't feel better in 4 months.

I couldn't function properly on them (drive, go to work etc) and they weren't doing anything to help, so the GP took me off of them and agreed that it was an ear problem but that he couldn't think of any more treatment options.

It's been incredibly frustrating.

Nottinghamshire...
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5. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

That's so helpful Vegas Showgirl. I didn't have the issue when I purchased the travel insurance (it's an annual policy).

I'll give them a call and make it clear to them that he hasn't advised against, but has been vague about the problem.

Dubai, United Arab...
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6. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

<<My GP has not advised me that I shouldn't fly>> So fare that is good news.

I maybe would consult another doctor, if the current one gives you the feeling of not taking you serious.

Buenos Aires...
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7. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

I would seriously consult another doctor. You are clearly not getting the help you need and your GP may be puting you under unnecesary risks.

Also consult your insurer to see if you´ll be covered. I´m guessing they´ll ask for a "fit to fly" note from your doctor.

London
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for London
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8. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

Definitely speak to your insurer (and somewhat off topic but I would be asking a GP for an ENT referral at this stage).

Edited: 9:33 am, October 05, 2017
Nottinghamshire...
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9. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

Thanks Lusitania.

I've now seem 3 GPs within my practice and a consultant. They've all been equally vague, I think because it hasn't gotten better with treatment and they're now stumped.

I'll call today as getting a fit to fly note might be like trying to draw blood from a stone.

Dublin, Ireland
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for Austria
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10. Re: Flying with blocked ears/ear&sinus infection??

sorry but if your doctor cannot say yea or nay, how do you think that non medical ta contributors could have an answer?

but if you have had the problem for 5 months, it looks as if you need to change your doctors. reason and cure should have long been actioned before now.

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