The Dangers of Flying with a Concussion

A concussion is a “mild” traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when an outside force causes the brain to forcefully hit the interior of the skull. This type of injury is a common side effect of car accidents, sports-related injuries, bad falls, and other serious events. These brain injuries are considered “mild” because they usually aren’t life-threatening, and patients typically recover within a few days or weeks.

That said, people – especially accident survivors – suffering from concussion symptoms need to see a doctor as soon as possible. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following symptoms could be indicators of a more serious condition:

  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Intense and persistent headaches
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Decreased coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anisocoria (unequal pupil sizes)
  • Inability to recognize people or places

But what happens if you have a flight planned? One of the suggested treatments for a standard concussion is to sit in dim room and avoid strenuous activities. Security checks, fighting for overhead bin space, trying to step around packed-in passengers – it’s no wonder that air travel is considered a surprisingly strenuous activity. So, is an airplane safe for someone recovering from a concussion?

Post-Concussion Syndrome & Flying

Many people experience ear distress, equilibrium loss, “airplane headaches,” and many other uncomfortable afflictions during a flight. These conditions are usually triggered by changes in altitude, cabin pressure, turbulence, and airplane speed. Consequently, some people report that flying in airplanes makes their concussion symptoms worse.

It’s highly recommended that people avoid air travel until their concussion symptoms subside and they get a doctor’s approval. However, sometimes circumstances are beyond us, and it can take months for a concussion to heal – especially if the accident survivor has post-concussion syndrome.

Post-concussion syndrome is a unique disorder in which the symptoms of a brain injury last for weeks or even months after an accident. Some experts claim that post-concussion symptoms are a side-effect of structural damage to the brain or the body’s nervous system. This condition tends to affect people with a history of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and other cognitive or psychological issues. You need to check in with a doctor before stepping on a plane if you’re still suffering the symptoms of a concussion.

Air travel can exacerbate the symptoms of a concussions. Take the following steps to mitigate the potential complications associated with post-concussion flying:

  • Be well rested before the flight.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid reading or watching movies.
  • Bring earplugs to block out loud noises.

Have You Sustained a TBI After an Accident? Pursue Maximum Compensation Today.

Contact the brain injury attorneys at Scarlett Law Group if you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury due to the negligence of a person, corporation, or government entity. Our firm is widely recognized as one of the leading personal injury trial firms in California, and for good reason – we’ve recovered multiple multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients.

Call Scarlett Law Group at (415) 688-2176 to speak with an experienced brain injury lawyer.


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