Mild COPD and flying fear

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grannymae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 1/31/2015 7:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I could not find a forum/chat on this so sorry if I'm duplicating one.

I am flying out this week and have a fear issue. I was doing fine and a few days ago developed a sinus infection, I do have wheezing at times but Doctor said airways were clear.

Anyhow, 3 years ago after landing from a delayed and then 4 hour flight I was not feeling well. Flash forward and 2 days later I went to ER with extreme shortness of breath. They said I had a COPD exacerbation and CT showed pneumonia. Never before had anything like this happened to me and I had no idea I had COPD.
A few months later I did go to a pulmonary Doctor and had the tests done and he said mild to moderate COPD. I've been on Inhaler since. I have not had any more Exacerbation episodes.

I have also flown several times since then without issues. Yet I am scared to take this flight coming up!!!! Yes, I also have anxiety issues. Mostly because I have the sinus infection and some wheezing (on meds) and my mind is filled with all the 'what if's' ..... I am going to the same place that I was last time when the episode happened. I am flying alone as I was before. I was fine and quite looking forward to my upcoming visit until NOW!

I'm rambling....should I be concerned about flying and copd? Should I be concerned because of the sinus infection/slight wheezing right now (even though I have seen the doctor)? Am I being paranoid? (Yes..already know that answer!) Should say that my pulse/ox is usually 97 or 98. Took it today and it was between 95 and 97 and yet I feel like I am not taking full breaths all the time.

Back to question! Should I just put these fears on the back burner and board that plane and soar away..........or let the fears take over (and still go).

If anyone has been in the copd and flying predicament....would love to hear how you handled all.

So...anyone here that can share with me?

Thanks,
Abby

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4946
   Posted 2/1/2015 2:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi grannymae.

Sorry, I'm not a doctor, so I can't tell you if you should fly. I would recommend you ask your doctor. He might want you to have a treatment to take with you.

Several years ago, when I had retired, I had to fly on a long trip a few months after having had a heart attack. Toward the end of the flight I started feeling short of breath. I asked an attendant how high we were and it was 37000 feet. I know cabin pressure is supposed to be no higher than 10000 feet, but sometimes it's much higher than that. I didn't say anything because I was afraid I would be banned from flying. I was fine when we landed.

Airlines do have oxygen for emergencies.

I don't have COPD and am not on any treatment for breathing. My oxygen level is normally 100. I do take antibiotics when I get sinus infections though. They can get down in my lungs if not treated.

If I were in bad shape today I would not fly one of those long, high trips without something for emergencies. Sinus infections, if they're bacterial, for the most part clear up for me in a couple of days, when I'm on antibiotics. I usually have to take a sulfa drug. But ask your doctor!

grannymae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 2/1/2015 7:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for answering! I did tell the doctor that I was flying when I went in on Friday, she didn't seem concerned and told me to take my rescue inhaler (which I have but hardly ever use). I am on a antibiotic and guess I was awaiting a miracle overnight cure.
I believe I have let my anxieties take over which only makes matters worse.
Thanks so much for your insights....so much appreciated!

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4946
   Posted 2/2/2015 9:50 AM (GMT -7)   
If I have a bacterial sinus infection an antibiotic usually starts curing it overnight. I've also had a number of occasions to need a different antibiotic. Lots of bacteria are resistant these days. Amoxicillin hasn't been useful for years, and it's what docs who don't know me usually prescribe. Right now Ceftin isn't touching my latest infection and is upsetting my stomach, so my regular doc had me switch to doxycycline. I took the first one last night, but I don't feel any better this morning. Maybe it will start getting better by tomorrow.

Flying - You might rent a portable oxygen generator for the trip. It's what we did for my mother when we moved her across country. Look online! Make sure it's one your airline approves. Read the directions! The one we had needed a battery change mid-flight. We had to put it in the overhead compartment with the hose dangling down to her seat. You can't put them on the floor. Then we didn't realize the battery had died until we noticed she was turning blue and checked her oxygen level. Set your phone to alarm so you won't do this too- on airline mode of course. The machine should come with a finger oxygen sensor. You shouldn't need a prescription, just order online.

grannymae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 2/2/2015 11:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks! I'm actually doing better...physically as well as anxiety. Sometimes It really helps to know others 'understand' you.

I'm not on oxygen so think I will be okay there. But it is good to know that airlines carry emergency oxygen on board!

There are several antibiotics I won't take either. Actually, Doxycycline is what the Doctor prescribed for my sinus infection. Hope it helps you, too!

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4946
   Posted 2/3/2015 9:52 AM (GMT -7)   
No, you're not on oxygen, but your oxygen sats are low. If you get up to high altitude you might be surprised at how bad you feel.

Don't forget to take a probiotic daily when you're on antibiotics. If your good bacteria get killed off, and they will, you run the risk of getting C. diff. which is even harder to get rid of.

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9657
   Posted 2/6/2015 6:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Is there a way you could take a train or bus instead of flying. Flying while sick is bad, I flew once while I had a head cold and it took a month for my ears to pop, that is why I hate flying my ears don't pop good...ear pain is horrible!

Drink plenty of water maybe use those ear planes and get plenty of vitamin C...

I hope your flight goes good, keep us posted and I hope you have a good trip..
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