Dizziness and Flying

Flying in two weeks. Last time flying (7 yrs ago before symptoms even started) almost passed out during take off. No one can figure out why. I had water dripping off my face, and couldn' t breathe. Most people think I had a panic attack. I am more worried because I already get air sick, and my dizziness is bad sometimes. Anyone have this experience, and if so, what can I do to make my flight easier.

11 Replies

  • It sounds like the orthostatic intolerance of chronic fatigue syndrome. CFS, like lupus, is said to have autoimmune components. According to this article, likely the pressure change and prolonged sitting was the cause.

  • Thank you Jeff. You are the first person to come up with an idea. Everyone else shrugs it off like I made it all up. I hate this! Nobody believes me. I will look up info on this.

  • Glad to help.

  • Do you have to fly - I don't because it affects my body badly?

  • Cann... We were going to drive, but my in laws offered to pay for a flight. And my kids wanted to fly. Driving isn't the best either with my clotting disorder. Uggh! I am already getting anxious about this decision. I want to travel more too.

  • The last time I was on a plane it was October 2010 to Tunisia which was not a long flight but half an hour into the flight a weired feeling came over me. It felt like I was about to pass out so I rang for the flight attendant who got me to sit in one of their seat and I was given a paper bag which came in handy as I started to throw up.

    My family and I flew to Jamaica the beginning of July the same year to Jamaica and each time I got up the pressure in the cabin affected me badly, so I didn't move about much in the plane.

    In 2006 and 08 I flew to the caribbean to get on a ship for a cruise and I was fine flying there but on the way back we flew from New Orleans 06 and Barbados 08 and both times I was ill and felt my husband was trying to convince me It was a panic attack (his opinion was I didn't want to return home) but of course it was all to do with the pressure in the cabin.

    I have had these funny incidents before but thought it was just me although I love the flying experience. I have now given up flying because the lupus has damaged my lungs and I now use oxygen to move about so cruising is far better because I can order the oxygen it is delivered to my cabin at Southampton and I then pay for it. I wouldn't take the chance to go abroad in case I couldn't get any oxygen or it wasn't delivered on time (I am not allowed to take the ones from the NHS, only the one I am using on the day).

    I pray you will be okay when you fly soon.

    Love and gentle hugs xx💐🙏🏽

  • Hi Natura. Like JeffBot, I wonder if this might be connected to some form of dysautonomia/orthostatic intolerance. I developed increasing problems with flying - I would get dizzy, too, sometimes have problems breathing, my body temperature would be all over the place, I would start sweating, and often feel very panicky (even if none of the other symptoms were present). Now that I have a diagnosis of a form of dysautonomia/OI (which can occur secondary to autoimmune illnesses, amongst other causes) I think that this is what was going on for me - and that my issues were exacerbated by the altered pressure, dry atmosphere and cramped, fixed posture conditions of the aircraft cabin.

    What to do? Well, obviously you don't know if you have dysautonomia, plus I haven't flown now for many years so I haven't had to address this myself. However I would suggest trying the following: that you are very well hydrated when you get on the flight and that you have frequent cups of water during the flight and no alcohol. Make sure that you move about regularly, including doing leg exercises in your seat (not just to counter the risk of DVT, but also important for those with dysautonomia). If you have vitamin C in oral form you might want to try taking a gram before and after the flight, too so that your system is under less strain trying to combat all the nasties that fly about in the recirculated air so beloved of modern airlines!

    It would be interesting to hear how it goes. And hope you enjoy your trip!

  • Mrs. Mouse...thank you for the information. I will look this up. I already planned on taking dramamine because I get sick. I was planning on taking vit c before too. I didn't think about hydrating, as I am dehydrated all the time it seems. It is a 6 am flight, so hard to drink up that early, but I will try.

    Thank you for the advice. I will post when I return.

  • Thank you Maureen. I am going to show your post to my husband. He is upset with me since his parents paid a lot of money for this flight. I always get sick on the plane too. In fact, I think I threw up right after this water dripping and not being able to breath incident. Someone told me I could get oxygen, but I am not sure during take off. And I would need a doctors note. I already have a crappy doctor that thinks I am fine, and there is nothing wrong with me. What am I going to do? Ugh!

    I was ok on the flight home which is odd. A night flight. Wonder if that makes a difference. We are returning at night again. I was thinking of wearing an eye mask to cut out the outside influences of light and wear ear plugs for the noise. Maybe that is what happened? Maybe I was overwhelmed.

    I was going to double up on anti inflammatory stuff and oils so that I would not have a problem. My brother is the same, and he is getting anxious about taking a flight to Alaska for his 40th anniversary.

    There's something to say about waiting to travel in your life. You never know when your health will become an issue.

  • Hi Natura. Difficult situation, what with your flights being a well-intentioned gift! This is very interesting reading. I have always suffered with travel sickness. Cars, buses, trains & planes. I am always sick on planes. I get hot and cold sweats, feel dizzy etc, kind of like a panic attack, I get worried about having to get up out of my seat for the loo (which when travelling with my children can be very awkward as you can be up and down a lot), I only feel OK-ish when sitting down and my eyes are closed. I just thought it was me and extreme travel sickness but you have some great replies. I do now wear travel bands (those acupuncture things) as I have worked out, as an adult, that the various travel sickness pills my mum used to give me, make me more sick. I am actually going on a school trip tomorrow on a coach - 1.5-2 hours there and then back. I am dreading it! (I work as a teaching assistant in a junior school). I don't want to be ill in front of a bus full of children! Ha ha. I hope you find something that helps you and that your journey is smoother than you expect. Best wishes. Wendy

  • Wendy...my husband sits with my daughter that gets sick on the planes, so i can sit and not worry with my daughter that doesnt get sick. She is actually a teenager now, so maybe she can help me now. I get boat sick, car sick (if i am in the back) ....tried those bands..they didnt work for me.

    I will let you know if what i do helps. Plan on wearing full body compression stockings. Drink lots of water...its obviously something in my head, so i am not sure what else to do but take dramamine. In fact, i used the bands the time i almost passed out and didnt take dramamine. I took dramamine on the way home and didnt have any trouble. I will be taking it this time. It helps turn off something in my head that is causing the imbalance.

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