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Light headed, dizzy, heavy perspiration, shortness of breath while flying

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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When I fly on airplanes I get light headed, dizzy, heavy perspiration and shortness of breath. This only occurs on airplanes.
Posted Thu, 3 May 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Vidya Muralidhar 34 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

There are some changes expected in the body, when one travels by air. Feeling dizzy and light headed happens commonly. Flying may induce motion sickness and it may stimulate the ear through pressure changes. This happens due to the pressure changes inside the cabin.This would get worse if you had a recent cold or sinusitis and plan a travel during this time.

Here are a few tips to avoid feeling dizzy and light headed

1.The Eustachian tube must be kept open at least for the first 30 mins when the flight takes off and just when is about to land.Simple method of keeping the patent would be swallowing and chewing gum or lozenges.

2.Be as well rested as possible before departure and rest during flight.

3.Eat light meals, limit alcohol, coffee, tea before departure

4. Avoid air travel when you have a cold or sinusitis, if that is not possible, you may need to use decongestant drops before departure and after landing as well.

Shortness of breath may indicate reduced levels of oxygen in the tissues of the body (hypoxia). It may happen during air travel in people with underlying heart problems, circulation disturbances and anemia,etc. Heavy perspiration could be due to motion sickness or an underlying circulatory problem which needs an evaluation. I would suggest you to consult a physician for fitness to fly,next time before you plan to travel.A general physical examination, blood pressure check up and an ECG may be needed.

Hope I answered your query,I would be available for follow ups as well.
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