The Vestibular Migraine & Secondary Hydrops Community
Read our welcome post, user support wiki & visit our member recommended products page

Any tips for flying?


#1

Does anyone have any good tips for flying? I need to take a 3 - 4 flight and am terrified since I am not a great flyer to begin with and have not flown since this hit… I am not feeling great but I guess am relatively stabilized (diet mods and ativan so far…). I really don’t want to go but would be seriously putting my job at risk if I don’t show up for this meeting… ugh!

Thanks for any advice.

Alli


#2

I could use some advice too. Planning a trip to Hawaii - 6 hour flight. I’ve flown a lot but never since MAV hit a year ago. My doc says sometimes the pressure change can set off the dizzies. I’m very nervous about it!


#3

Hi Robert,

Two things I always have on a jet: Valium and ear plugs. The Valium will sort you out if an attack starts and the ear plugs will take away the annoying drone of the engines if you are feeling hypersensitive to sound. And you might even sleep.

I’ve flown a lot, sometimes feeling pretty crummy, but always come out the other side just fine. You’ll be OK.

Best … Scott 8)


#4

I am missing my grandmothers 90th birthday party because I will not fly yet, just too scared! So if u guys have successful trips please report!


#5

I am super nervous to fly and/or visit Colorado mountains due to the altitude…all this since my big attack in 2007!!! :frowning:


#6

I posted about this at length, but I flew a lot with MAV this summer: Chicago to Tokyo to Taipei round trip, Taipei to Bangkok round trip, Taipei to Beijing round trip. It was some 40+ hours of flying time, and I had a wife and two young girls (age 2 and 4) with me, and the time zone change was 13 and 14 hours. The actual flying will not aggravate the MAV too much, it is all the other stuff like waiting in lines, food, lighting, sleep, time zone difference, etc. If you have frequent flier miles, you should upgrade to business or first class because you will have more room.

You will need two things: a benzo (klonopin, ativan, valium) and Ear Planes (you can buy these at Walgreens for $5). Between those, you should be fine. Take a light benzo before getting on the plane, and hit it again if you feel nervous.

(NB from admin: these images link to products members have found helpful and at the same time help fund the site: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. More recommended products here. Thanks for your support!)


#7

Flying sets off episodes of MAV for me, with worse episodes usually coming after longer flights, but since I have been taking nortriptyline, they have been pretty contained (like I might get one when I land and have it the rest of the day, then it’s gone the next morning). I went to the Colorado mountains last weekend and only had a very slight episode. I am a fearful flyer but don’t touch benzos due to family history of alcoholism and other addictive tendencies, so I don’t have a great solution for that part of it.

When I do fly, I try to exercise as soon as I get to my destination. I know exercise doesn’t help everyone, but for me it is a big help with the MAV. And then I try to get a good night’s sleep (not always easy with change of time zones) the first night I am there. Also drink water, eat protein-heavy, low-sugar snacks, etc.


#8

Valium.

For long flights (over 12 hours) try and get a good sleep before hand.

Valium.

Drink lots of water.

Valium.

If you’re drowsy on the plane, don’t fight it - doze.

Valium.


#9

Thanks for the responses. Sadly, I was just too panicked to do it (San Francisco to Chicago). Deciding on a med now… posted above.

Will definitely keep the tips in mind - supposed to head to Orlando (again for work) in 2 weeks so we’ll see…

Alli


#10

Sorry you didn’t make the flights.
I was going to recommend the ear planes and valium as well.I fly quite a bit with no problems.A flight I did last year was Detroit to NYC to Oslo,to Stockholm.I was pretty tired when I got there but I made it.The fear is the worst part.Some people feel better on the planes.Good luck on your next trip.


#11

Those of you who have been flying - do any of you have 24/7 dizziness? I have a trip planned for mid-Oct. and I’ve staged it so that I have layovers between travelling. For example, I 'm travelling the day before my flight, from my home to Vancouver to catch an early morning flight out to Houston so I’ll sleep at a hotel in Vancouver near the airport that first night. Then in Houston I’ve booked a night at a hotel, before flying out the following morning for Panama (change planes in PC) then on to Bocas. The flights are about 4 to 5 hours duration, except the last jump of about 1 hour. I am worried as I haven’t flown since this major attack started and never with constant dizziness.
In the past, I have stressed myself to the point of major-migraine headaches in the air on several occassions, one of which resulted in using the in-flight barf-bags :oops:

I guess I’d like to know - if you are dizzy starting off, does it get worse or stay the same while flying?

I really need a change of latitude to improve my attitude. :mrgreen: I can’t work so, since I appear to have been forcibly retired, I’ve decided to de-stress for the winter months in Panama.
Cat


#12

— Begin quote from “DizzyCat”

Those of you who have been flying - do any of you have 24/7 dizziness? I have a trip planned for mid-Oct. and I’ve staged it so that I have layovers between travelling. For example, I 'm travelling the day before my flight, from my home to Vancouver to catch an early morning flight out to Houston so I’ll sleep at a hotel in Vancouver near the airport that first night. Then in Houston I’ve booked a night at a hotel, before flying out the following morning for Panama (change planes in PC) then on to Bocas. The flights are about 4 to 5 hours duration, except the last jump of about 1 hour. I am worried as I haven’t flown since this major attack started and never with constant dizziness.
In the past, I have stressed myself to the point of major-migraine headaches in the air on several occassions, one of which resulted in using the in-flight barf-bags :oops:

I guess I’d like to know - if you are dizzy starting off, does it get worse or stay the same while flying?

Cat

— End quote

I had 24/7 dizziness with MAV when I did my long flights, but I did the same thing as you – I stopped over instead of taking connecting flights. I flew to Tokyo (13 hrs) and then went to a hotel, slept, and the next afternoon flew to Taipei. On the way back I took a couple of days in Japan to just waste time and shop, clear my head. That is a really good strategy.

The actual flying will not aggravate your condition. In other words, you will not suddenly go into a spin because you are flying. For some people, they actually feel better when flying because the whole thing is moving instead of being in a non-moving environment where they are the only thing moving! However, a long flight will begin to tax your resources due to lighting, cramped spaces, bad air, small screens, lack of sleep and time zone changes.

I know there is a lot of fear. I put off travel for almost a year before I flew to Japan, but finally I bit the bullet and said, “WTF, if I freak out they can drop me in Alaska.” After a half hour in the air I realized that the actual flying was not a problem, it was all the other stuff, and that a benzo and Ear Planes would make it do-able.


#13

Thanks… good to know that someone else has flown dizzy. I plan to take enough Benzos with me to sedate a cow :twisted: just in case ! Oh well, Hell or high water, I’m going.

Cat


#14

I take a benzo every evening anyway. When I fly I add Zofran and Dramamine (dosing depends on turbulence). My body is so accustomed to the benzo and amitriptyline that I don’t get that sleepy. I’m going to Hawaii in a few months (which I can’t believe I’m doing considering how disabled I was a few years ago). I got a non-stop flight. The one coming back is overnight, so I’ll add some Ambien to the mix to “trick” my brain that nothing unusual is happening :slight_smile:

It’s a lot of drugs, but they keep me going. I’ve been doing really well lately (fingers crossed).


#15

I am really interested in this topic. I live near Chicago but but kids live in Oregon & Fairbanks. My daughter, in Alaska, is having a baby. I have never been to see my son in Oregon since he has moved out there 4 years ago. Both kids always come here every year. But I would love to travel. Before I became sick, I flew to Alaska twice by myself. I was proud of myself because I had just become deaf! Now I use a wheelchair because of the imbalance and dizziness with head motion. I already take Klonopin 3 times a day. I am afraid to take more benzos without a doctor’s blessing.

I have two neurologists. One says it’s okay to fly-just take more drugs. But Dr Hain is more cautious and discourages flying-especially to Alaska. What to do??? I see Dr Hain in November & I guess we will discuss this topic again. I am happy to hear about some success stories. Sorry about the rambling-guess that’s my brain today.

Claudia


#16

— Begin quote from “caglenn”

I have two neurologists. One says it’s okay to fly-just take more drugs. But Dr Hain is more cautious and discourages flying-especially to Alaska. What to do??? I see Dr Hain in November & I guess we will discuss this topic again. I am happy to hear about some success stories. Sorry about the rambling-guess that’s my brain today.

— End quote

Claudia:
I hope you don’t mind me asking, but why would Dr Hain essentially say no flying, and why especially Alaska? I can’t believe it’s because of the cold… few things colder than Chicago in the winter with a north wind blowing :wink:

Cat