Whether it’s caused by falling over, an accidental blow to the head or a more serious accident, a fair proportion of people suffer a concussion at some point in their lives. It’s rarely a left-threatening injury, but can be an annoyance and make it difficult to carry on with your day-to-day life.
It can be unfortunate if you manage to get a concussion just before you are about to catch a flight. Many people worry about whether it is safe to fly with a concussion, which is why we have created this guide with all the answers.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a temporary brain injury that occurs after someone has suffered a moderate blow to the head. It causes a temporary disruption to normal brain function as a result of damage to the nerves and blood vessels in your brain which affects the chemical processes and makes it hard to concentrate, balance and stay awake.
A serious headache is the main symptom of a concussion, along with dizziness, memory loss, feeling sick, balance problems and changes in behaviour and vision. Most people with a concussion only experience symptoms for several days, although it can take up to two weeks to feel completely back to normal.
Is it Safe to Fly with a Concussion?
In the majority of cases, it is safe to fly with a concussion. You should always check with a doctor or medical practitioner before you do so, but as long as no serious complications have been identified from whatever caused the problem, flying after a concussion shouldn’t be a problem.
If you have only just sustained a concussion then you may be advised not to fly, as sometimes symptoms can worsen before they start to improve. You may also be left feeling particularly unwell if you have a concussion, which will make long flights particularly unpleasant.
Whilst flying with a concussion is safe in the majority of instances, some aspects of air travel may worsen your symptoms. Stress and anxiety related to travel, the bright lights and loud noises at the airport, and the experience of take-off, landing and turbulence can all make having a concussion feel a lot worse.
Tips for Concussion and Air Travel
If you do decide to fly after a concussion, there are some steps you can take to make the experience more pleasant.
- Take any medication that has been prescribed after your concussion
- Bring sunglasses and headphones if you are finding extreme light and noise difficult to handle
- Make sure you get a lot of rest before flying so that fatigue doesn’t make you feel worse
- Stay hydrated on the flight
- Avoid looking at small screens or anything that requires close reading and eyesight strain
If you do suffer a head injury that leaves you with a concussion whilst you are travelling, having medical travel insurance will ensure that you are seen by a doctor as soon as possible and can receive the necessary treatment to get you back home without any complications.
Navigator Travel offers flexible insurance coverage options that take into account your health, where you are travelling and the risk of further medical complications. You can find out more about our options here.