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Can i travel if i have a mild concussion in my head?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
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Hi I received a mild concussion two weeks ago while surfing. This is my second one this year and 6th overall. I am supposed to fly this Friday.I still have pressure in my head and feel emotional and depressed. Am I ok to fly?
Posted Mon, 23 Apr 2012 in Head Injuries
Answered by Dr. Deepak Anvekar 51 minutes later
Hello ,
Thanks for the query.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that may result in a bad headache, altered levels of alertness, or unconsciousness (only in severe cases). It temporarily interferes with the way your brain works, and it can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance, coordination, and sleep patterns.

From the history given, it seems that you had a mild form of concussion and the symptoms you have are of mild nature.

Healing or recovering from a concussion takes time. It may take days, weeks, or even months. You may be irritable, have trouble concentrating, be unable to remember things, have headaches, dizziness, and blurry vision. These problems will probably go away slowly.

You can find symptomatic relief by following some of the tips suggested below.

1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken to help the pressure symptoms in your head. Remember NOT to use aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), naproxen, or similar drugs.

2. Eating a light diet.

3. Avoiding exercise, weight lifting, or heavy activities. Light activity around the home is okay. You need not need to stay in bed.

4. Avoiding alcohol until you have completely recovered.

With regard to your question whether you can fly or travel, please check the following list of signs and symptoms and make sure that you do not have them.

1. Changes in behavior or unusual behavior
2. Changes in speech (slurred, difficult to understand, does not make sense)
3. Confusion
4. Difficulty waking up or becoming more sleepy
5. Double vision or blurred vision
6. Fever
7. Fluid or blood leaking from the nose or ears
8. Headache that is getting worse, lasts a long time, or does not get better with over-the-counter pain relievers
9. Problems walking or talking
10. Seizures
11. Vomiting more than three times

In case you do not have any of the above, then you can safely fly and travel, but remember not to overtly stress yourself.

In case you do have the above mentioned symptoms, you might need to consult your doctor or a ‎neurologist for proper examination and tests to rule out anything serious.

In addition, In the future please take precautions so as to avoid further head injuries and in case you do intend to continue surfing please make sure that you wear a suitable headgear.

I hope this helps.

I shall be available for any follow up questions that you might be having.‎


Dr. Anvekar.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Can i travel if i have a mild concussion in my head? 45 minutes later
I have 1, 3, 4, and 8, of the symptoms on your list and a bit of nausea and feel o.k one minute and then horrible the next. Should I fly like this or will it make my symptoms worse. I am going to a very relaxing resort so while I am there it shouldn't be so bad. I am just concerned about the airplane cabin pressure. Please advise.
Answered by Dr. Deepak Anvekar 2 hours later
Hello Again,

Thanks for the follow up,

Since you have mentioned in your history that you are not on any pain medications, your symptoms mentioned could be attributed to the anxiety associated with the pain. Taking Tylenol, to relieve your discomfort and pain will probably reduce all your symptoms.

In case, your headache does not subside with the use of Tylenol, You might consult your treating doctor, who can prescribe you better pain medications and these will help to resolve all issues.

There are no issues for you to fly for a few hours. The cabin pressure is not a factor that will affect you or any other person with history of concussion unless you have motion sickness or very sensitive ears. You can use Ear plugs that will solve the issue of ear discomfort associated with air travel.

Post travelling, rest and relaxation for a few days will help you feel much better.

I hope this clears your doubts.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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