Aircon,weather,aircraft or all 3? - British Lung Foun...

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Aircon,weather,aircraft or all 3?

Jollj profile image

Good afternoon good people,I would appreciate any thoughts,comments,personal experiences, I have just returned from 2 weeks holiday in portugal, weather in the 30's everyday, no trouble breathing but last few days started to get nasal blockage,then sorethroat and finally developing a cough,the same thing happened last year exactly as described but turned into months of chest infections,a lousy Christmas until strong AB's cleared things up as my rescue meds failed miserably. I am wondering if it could be room air conditioning, aircraft air conditioning etc, change in temperatures or a combination of all 3, I go for my flu jab in a week's time. Any advice will be most welcome.

23 Replies

I'd say the exposure occurred during flight (going over or coming back). Cabin air is recycled air so anyone who gets on with a bug other passengers immediately at risk. Some air craft have good filters but whether its the same in all air craft is unknown.

My friend up country stopped going to Portugal well flying actually because she always came back with a sore throat and cold and this friend doesn't have lung damage.

Personally I don't use public transport (bus, train, plane) at all between the months of Sep through to May because of the sharing of bugs in enlosed public spaces, its a dodgy time as it is each year. But others will tell you, go for it, you can't let COPD stop you doing things during winter months / bug season, but its down to individual choice, I personally just prefer not to take unnecessary risks.

In addition any air pollutants, dust, traffic fumes and heat can increase risk of air born irritants and toxicity in the air we breathe

Hi Jollj .

I think Bkin makes good points. A crowded, enclosed metal structure, the airplane table, seat, everyone in such close proximity, the air. I think it's easy for us to pick things up. The last time I flew, I wore a mask (hated it) and wiped down my seat etc. with anti- bacterial wipes. 😐

I'm sorry you aren't feeling good. Please do rest and take it easy. Hoping you feel better soon.

Cas xx 🌸

Hi jolly

I’m new to this forum as only recently been diagnosed with borderline COPD. I would just like to say I myself just landed last night from Spain and the symptoms you described are exactly what I have experienced, do think it is the aircon in the plane. And also the hotel.

I use NasalGuard Cold and Flu Block before I get on a plane - smear it round my nostrils and remember to nose breathe all through the flight until I get off again. Once clear of the plane, I use Vick's First Defence to nobble any that did get through. It's worked on 4 flights so far....

Jeecamgunn profile image
Jeecamgunn in reply to Ergendl

I did the same and ithas worked well for me. Give it a go 😊

I returned from Mallorca and feeling a few of your symptoms too. Hoping it will not develop into something worse. Don't think the air conditioning helps on holiday but with temp in high twenties can not manage without. Hope you soon feel better.

I travel a lot between Spain and the UK. I take my portable oxygen concentrator with me, use Nasal Guard and First Defence, and take a mask in case anyone in the same row, row behind, or in front is coughing or sneezing. I wipe all surfaces on my seat and especially the seatbelt with AB wipes. I make sure I have a window seat and position the overhead airflow directly onto my face. So far, so good! I learnt a lot from these two articles. I hope they help. Mx

Dear Michelle,may i ask which airline you use and if you have to present with a fit to fly certificate with your portable concentrator,i have yet to travel to my Finca and i am curious as to how awkward the process is.i would probably be using either Ryanair or Jet2 and flying to either Reus or Barcelona as an example though i know you are further south.

love Ski's and Scruff's x

Hi Ski's, lovely to hear from you. I always fly Easyjet Alicante to Bristol.

For me it's kind of approached the other way. My doctor gives me a prescription/note simply saying that I must travel with my oxygen concentrator and have it with me at all times. I always use Special Assistance and it's more down to the ground staff rather than the airline staff as to whether I get any questions. On checking in they tend to only get excited when they think I'm carrying tanks of oxygen. When I explain that it's a concentrator that makes it's own as required, then they're fine. I'm wizzed through security in a wheelchair like I'm royalty! Brilliant!

I'm guessing that the 'fit to fly' certificate tends to be required if you aren't carrying your own oxygen supply.

BTW if I were you I'd give Ryanair a wide swerve! Spanish airports hate them! Hope it all goes well and that you have a fabulous time. Love Mx

Many thanks M,does anybody in the world like Ryanair?lol having said that i used them for years and they were always ok if you liked landing in Girona or Toulouse as opposed to Barcelona where you wanted to go.i also like the idea of being whizzed around in a wheelchair,has anybody ever remarked on the noise the concentrator makes,i have the inogen one and i wouldn't like to sit next to me for 2 hrs with it puffing away. :)

Apologies to jollj for somewhat hijacking your post.

love Ski's and Scruff's x

The first time I flew with my Inogen One I too was worried about annoying passengers with the noise. Believe me the sound is completely drowned out by the aircraft noises! When I'm settled in my seat (the air steward helps take my machine out of its trolley as it won't fit by the seat otherwise - NB always choose window seat as more room on the floor) to save battery I turn it off until the plane is up to about 30k feet and levelled out. Then I check my sats and keep the machine on until we descend again. Make sure you have a spare battery, and watch out for the alarm light as you won't hear it! Check sats throughout flight as if pilot takes the plane up to near 40K feet I found I had to go up a setting to retain oxygen level of 90. Which, of course, uses more battery.

Having wheelchair assistance also means that I can conserve battery life until I need it on the plane. To me that's my only concern so I use it as little as possible on the way to the airport and in departures.

Hope that helps. I'm sure you will be just fine! :) Mx

It's extremely helpful M and very comprehensive,i have now officially designated you as the dodgy lung site flight reviewer for the next 12 months,Thanks.

Ski's and Scruff's xx

Haha! Glad to be of help. You've been a great help to me by keeping me smiling over the years. xxx

Susan1200 profile image
Susan1200 in reply to skischool

Hi Skischool,I personally wouldn't fly with Ryanair,I have heard the feedback from other people.

I know not everyone fly's with Swiss air,I find that is the best Airlines,the air-conditioning is excellent.

Last time I flew in June,it costs 150 pound return including hand baggage and baggage also a sandwich and as many drinks you want all thow in.

I fly mainly with Swiss because of the air conditioning.

HAVE a lovely holiday .

Best wishes

Susan 🐘

skischool profile image
skischool in reply to Susan1200

Susan,many thanks but unfortunately i'm not going on holiday but i need to commute to look after some land i have in Spain.Swiss air by nature of the country would be expected to be precise.on time and efficient but i doubt they would drop me in Reus,Barcelona?apart from a few hiccups with Ryanair i must confess they have served me well in the past.

Love Ski's and Scruff's x

Susan1200 profile image
Susan1200 in reply to skischool

I am sorry ,I must have misunderstood ,as I thought great 😊your going on holiday.

That was funny what you wrote

That you douth if Swiss air would would drop you off in Reus.

If you are satisfied with Ryanair then go for it.

Take care Ski's and a hug to Scruff's😸 have a lovely Sunday 😎

skischool profile image
skischool in reply to Susan1200

Thanks Susan,might have the pleasure of a trip to Sainsburys via my mini germ free smart car but nothing as exotic as a holiday today.keep well. :) xx

Susan1200 profile image
Susan1200 in reply to skischool

Take it slow and easy ,😎

Also regarding the flu jab ; I think you had better check with your surgery as its not recommended if you have cold symptoms or chest infection.

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Hi Jollj, my daughter lived in Tenerife for over 15 years and I flew four times a year with various airlines and had the same problems and that was before I suffered too much with bronchectasis and as the above comments have stated it is due to the recycled air, no only picking up other peoples bugs but to keep breathing in the same air just isnt good for your lungs. Maybe first defence would help and I would try Swissair if you have the choice as it seems like a good airline. Irene x

We now live in Portugal for most of the year as I find the much warmer, less windy climate helps my COPD considerably. It is also easier to keep active outdoors. We don’t use aircon very often preferring open windows at night (with fly screens). Also try to ensure table in restaurant is not directly under aircon unit.

Do think any mode of public transport is risky after watching the number of people sneezing & coughing without using tissue/handkerchief. However it’s always difficult to be certain where you’ve picked up virus.

Hope you enjoy many more holidays!

I hope the above is visible, I saw it in the i last September.

I tried to get a date from easy-jet on when these would be fitted a few months ago but their customer service had no knowledge of this. (It took me ages to find a contact number that wasn’t related to bookings etc... I suggested she find out as there would be many more people interested in this and they’d likely be gwtting lots of calls, she paid lip service BUT never asked for my number to call me back.)

I haven’t tried since and haven’t seen anything about it since BUT don’t think they want to draw too much attention to it as fear of being sued!

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