Flying and lung problems

I have recently been fortunate enough to go abroad to sunnier places on two 1 week holidays which involved flying however within two/three days days after returning home developed chest infections and although treated with antibiotics my breathing capacity has now declined and I am very concerned about flying again. After the first flight I also needed a course of steroids but unfortunately developed side effects this time. I am in my early seventies and have suffered for many years with bronchitis and asthma and now worry that my breathing has been adversely affected by flying. I wondered if anybody has experienced similar problems and whether there are suggestions to help.

13 Replies

  • Hi yes you can pick up a lot infections after flying as the air in the cabin just circulates and there could be a lot of germs around so you just have to careful and take antibiotics when you arrive and you should be fine I have been flying for the past 4years and always take antibiotics when I come if I think I have infection always been fine after so please don't worry

  • I always wear a mak when I fly and no longer pick up bugs

  • Hi Mooskie. Very interesting what kind of mask and what is the reaction of the other passengers and airline?

  • well Norlander, I don't have any problem with people's thoughts about the nose/mouth mask. A lot of people realize it is for protection. In fact, in Japan, they wear them if they are sick, to protect the healthy.. I just use regular surgical masks. And I carry sank-wipes and wipe down the tray and arms of the chairs.

    I am now on O2 24/7 so I have to really protect my lungs. Hope this,helps you.

  • Thanks for your response

  • I use Vicks 'First Defense....I used to use it immediately before I got on the flight and then again immediately after I got off the I only use that when I get off the planes , as before I leave the house I use 'Nasal cold & flu guard' both can be bought at Boots or other chemists

    They have cut down the incidence of me catching things while flying ( or just generally when going into crowded places) by 99%

    The first defence I KNOW works to stop colds starting...and the Nasal block cream has worked so far all the winter for me, but it is expensive

    What I like about them both is that you dont have to take anything , ones a nasal spray and the other a cream you rub around your nose

  • I'm going to get some Vicks "First Defense" , thank you, I'm flying soon & it has been 3 years since my last flight, it's usually 3 days after I come home I get poorly, & that was before my dx of copd, obviously I had it & didn't know, only mild then. Going to google the correct dose of aspirin too, I have varicose veins and having an attack of phlebitis for the last 8 weeks :(. And can I ask, can you use your inhaler during the flight?

    Sorry northlander, asking questions on your question, however I thought whilst we were talking about it, it would be better to keep it all together. . maybe have shorter flights northlander, & follow sohara's advice in first defence xx

  • Hi Nicgum. The flight I am due to go on is 8/9 hours but do you think that long haul flights have to have better air filtering?

  • Morning everyone - this is a subject that I am struggling to get clarification on to fly or not to fly! My husband is desperate for a break but as he wants to go to California this involves 11 hrs on a plane and I am scared of what the air quality on board etc will be like.

    Can't get a yes or no from his Dr as to whether he can fly!


  • I had a very serious infection after flying and found the airline I used do not purge their air on short haul flights. I know a lot of people that have gone down with colds/infections after flying!

    I have been told not to fly any more as I have a risk of hypoxia :(

  • Hi I have a similar problem to you the last 4 times I've flown I've always had a chest infection when I get back but not on the flight out don't know why ? Unless it's the warmer climate .3 of the 4 times ended up in hospital with asthma .Love going away to get a bit of sun so will try some of the things suggested on here .

  • Hi northlander - Join the Club ! - I too usually come back from Italy after a plane journey accompanied by a Chest infection ! - and I have come to the conclusion , along with a very interesting article in one of the National papers on " Catching infections on Plane Journeys"( which by the way I hate flying ) to add to my problems ! , - it seems , that as the Air in planes is re cycled , if anyone on the plane has an infection , you stand a good chance of getting it , PLUS , it has now been discovered that a small percentage of "Exhaust fumes" are ALSO FINDING THEIR WAY INTO THE CABIN - Oh dear ! - I don't really know the answer to this problem apart from arming yourself with plenty of Anti - Biotics and if your Mucus starts changing colour start taking them, as for those INFAMOUS ! STEROIDS ! ( I take seven , as a precaution the day before I fly, and a further seven a day before my return flight which helps with any possible breathing problems on the flights, -BUT , we are all DIFFERENT ! , SO HAVE A WORD WITH THE Doc on this one - sorry , buts about all I can say on this problem , Good Luck , OH , by the way I have to take a couple of pills to calm my nerves before flying - Oh dear - I RATTLE WHEN I GET OFF THOSE DAM " FLYING MACHINES " AS I CALL THEM !! ...

  • Hi, have any of you who have had problems after flying had a flight assessment to see if you are fit to fly. I had one and was told that I could only fly for two hours, I have COPD Bronchiecstasis, so this means I can probably get as far as Italy. Good luck to all you flyers enjoy your holidays. Take care Lizzy x

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