Are You Too Sick to Travel?

It’s happened to the best of us: you have grand travel plans, for a romantic getaway for you and your loved one on Valentine’s day. Yet you have started to fall ill.

Or you have an important business trip, a lot is on the line, so it can be stressful to imagine changing your plans due to illness. However, sometimes, it’s better to stay home and contain your germs than to spread the germs to your special friend or your business clients.

Which Diseases Mean I Need to Stay Home?

With some types of ailments, it’s quite clear that you need to change your travel plans. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s important to not fly when you have a contagious disease such as the flu. Viruses such as these will quickly spread to your fellow passengers on the flight. The close quarters ensure that other people will get sick from exposure to you. In addition, there are some symptoms that prevent you from flying, including vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. In some cases, airline staff will actually stop passengers from boarding the flight who are clearly ill for the safety of the other passengers.

Which Diseases May Be Okay to Travel With?

Some symptoms are a little less cut and dry. For example, if you have a cold or are experiencing cold-like symptoms, you may still be able to travel by plane. This is because sometimes, you can easily recover from a mild flu, and in other cases, this is simply the beginning of the flu.

Cold symptoms include runny nose, congestion, sore throat, and a mild cough. If you feel otherwise well and are just coping with a slight case of the sniffles, for example, you’re probably fine. The key here is to be practicing good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, cover your nose with your arm when you sneeze, and carry hand sanitizer for cleanliness on the go.

That being said, if you have a cold and are struggling to breathe, or have an ear infection, this is a clear sign that you cannot fly right now. If you are extremely congested or your ear is infected, your eustachian tube, the part of the body that connects your nose and ear, will struggle to regulate air pressure in the air. This could potentially cause extreme ear pain, or even your ears to fill with blood or fluid. In some cases, an eardrum could even rupture.

What if You Have to Travel?

Sometimes, you just don’t have any choice but to travel when you’re sick. Whether it’s a major business conference or a time-sensitive issue, business travelers often find themselves putting these symptoms aside for the sake of a major trip. If this is the case for you, you can take some preventive measures to make yourself more comfortable on your flight. First off, about half an hour before you take off, use a nasal decongestant. You might also take an oral decongestant, though be sure to talk to your doctor if you have cardiovascular conditions.

In addition, you may benefit from ear plugs. You can invest in air-pressure regulating ear plugs that will provide your ear canal with the support it needs on the flight. Finally, you can also help your eustachian tube open up and properly regulate air pressure by chewing gum or sucking on a hard candy.

Prioritize Your (And Your Clients’) Health

At the end of the day, most trips can be rescheduled. These days, technology enables us to stay connected to across the globe, so if you have an important meeting, consider using video chat on your laptop from your hotel room. Your business associates and clients will appreciate your thoughtful actions. Connect to the internet for a Skype or WhatsApp call.

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