Sick on vacation?

With the holidays begins the travel time. Many Germans are drawn into the distance: Spain, Italy and Croatia, but also long-haul destinations such as the USA and the Caribbean enjoy great popularity. The number of air travel continues to increase: more and more tourists reach their destination by plane. But what if you catch a cold just before take-off or have just had an operation behind you? If only recently the wisdom teeth had to go out or you are chronically ill? Should one climb a plane at all, or is that too dangerous? In general, anyone who is uncomfortable or insecure should consult a doctor. However, whether you really need to change your car depends on the nature and severity of the condition. We explain what you should do if not only the wanderlust plagues you.

Traveling with a cold

A mild cold usually does not matter much. Only the pressure balance during air travel is difficult to do with a stuffy nose, so you should use a decongestant nasal spray or drop before departure and landing.

Also chewing gum or yawning can help. If the pressure does not give way, the so-called Valsalva maneuver helps to stop the nose, blow up the cheeks and press air into the ears.

Do not fly with sinusitis

Risky it is for a correct sinusitis. If the mucous membranes are heavily swollen, the Eustachian tube can not open, which is responsible for the pressure equalization. This results in extreme pressure in the ear, which is very painful and often accompanied by impaired hearing and severe headache.

In extreme cases, bleeding in the middle ear and long-term damage may occur. With a full blown sinus infection, you should better avoid planes.

Plane despite bronchitis or cough?

Bronchitis or cough, on the other hand, should not cause major problems. However, the dry air on board can lead to coughing fits. Therefore, make sure to drink enough during the flight to keep the mucous membranes moist. Crescent pills can also provide relief.

Ear problems as a vacation stopper?

In acute middle ear infection you should rather go by car or train on vacation. Again, the pressure balance is difficult, which can lead to unbearable headaches and long-term damage to the eardrum.

For mild earache, some cotton wool in the ear and seawater nasal spray can help.

Eye problems when flying

Due to the dry aircraft air, wearers of soft contact lenses often have problems with flying. The eyes burn and the lens feels like a foreign body in the eye.

Especially for long-haul flights, they should therefore better put on glasses. If you are generally prone to dry eyes, put eye drops with artificial tears in your carry-on baggage.

Dental treatment before departure

It could be so nice. During the holidays, you can finally pull the suffering wisdom teeth, then fly on vacation and recover from the surgery (OP) in the shade of the palm trees. If you plan something similar, you prefer to travel by car.

After more severe procedures such as root canal treatments, implants or pulled teeth, it takes three to four weeks before you can board a plane without hesitation. Otherwise there is a risk of bleeding, infections and immense pain.

After a new filling, the gas in the cavity below can expand within the next 24 hours. This can be amplified by the air pressure fluctuations during flight. With fresh fillings and acute toothache you should better wait a few days or take painkillers on board.

Gastrointestinal problems with traveling

Especially on the return trip, many vacationers often struggle with gastrointestinal stories. Be it by unfamiliar food and poor hygienic conditions in the country or due to travel sickness - the flight with a rumbling stomach can be very unpleasant.

From a medical point of view, however, basically nothing speaks against air travel. Due to the changed pressure conditions above the clouds, however, it can lead to flatulence. It is better to avoid legumes, carbonated drinks, lettuce and fresh vegetables before and during the flight if you do not want to attract attention to your neighbor.

In cases of acute diarrhea, capsules help with the active ingredient loperamide. The feeling of nausea is dispelled by ginger preparations or drugs containing the substance dimenhydrinate.


If you smoke, are severely overweight, take contraceptive pills, or have varicose veins, your risk of venous thrombosis increases. Due to the long sitting and the limited possibility of movement in the aircraft, the blood flow is obstructed.

Try to get up as often as possible and take a few steps or stretch your legs while sitting. Compression stockings increase the flow rate of the blood. Make sure to drink a lot and avoid alcohol.

Fly after surgery

Smaller interventions and also broken bones affect the airworthiness of patients usually only briefly. Often a flight is possible after 24 hours. However, you should always consult with your doctor after every surgical procedure.

Some airlines also have their own rules on how long freshly operated people are not allowed to fly. Following surgery on the eye or laser treatment, visual acuity may be reduced and photosensitivity increased. However, these phenomena quickly disappear after landing.

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