July 25th, 2011
08:38 AM ET

Is it OK to fly after a head injury?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Asked by Liz from Atlanta
My teammate and I collided during a ballgame last weekend, and I blacked out for a few seconds before being taken to the emergency room. They did a CT scan of my head, which was fine. I am still having some headaches but have plans to fly across the country this weekend. Should I cancel my trip?

Expert answer

Thanks for your question. While it's widely accepted that people should avoid strenuous physical and mental activities after a concussion, it's less clear whether flying should be avoided soon afterwards.

Although jets are pressurized so that the cabin environment resembles an altitude of around 8,000 feet, some people report that flying (possibly from the changes in pressure and resulting decrease in oxygen concentration) causes symptoms such as headache, fatigue and nausea.

In addition, extreme turbulence can aggravate headaches. If you do choose to fly this weekend, your doctor may recommend taking a medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to prevent headaches during the flight.

It's also a good idea to be well-rested (or maybe sleep on the plane) and to stay hydrated during the flight.

In addition, brain rest is recommended following a concussion, so reading, watching movies and playing video games - things you might normally do to pass the time on a plane - may make things worse. It can be uncomfortable enough to be in the cramped quarters of a plane, with or without having a headache.

Keep in mind that a cross-country flight could subject you to several hours of pain. Most people with simple concussions improve within about a week or two, so if you are worried about flying and have the flexibility to change your travel plans, it may be wise to do so.

I would be interested to hear from readers about their experiences with flying after having a concussion. Please submit your comments below.

Follow Dr. Shu on Twitter

« Previous entry
soundoff (1,416 Responses)
  1. oranges for sale near me

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Best wishes! Where are your contact details though?


    June 1, 2021 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. truck paint shops near me


    June 1, 2021 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Wally Doubleday


    June 1, 2021 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Alica Haff

    You have made some decent points there. I checked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.


    June 1, 2021 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Discover More Here

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I've really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!


    June 1, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. riverside collision provo


    June 1, 2021 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Camper Van Conversion

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the finest blogs on the web. I most certainly will recommend this web site!


    June 1, 2021 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Emmitt Lamadrid


    June 1, 2021 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. horse trailer painting

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit once again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    June 1, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jene Korby


    June 1, 2021 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Leonida Wildman

    Hey There. I discovered your blog using msn. That is an extremely neatly written article. I'll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I'll definitely comeback.

    June 1, 2021 at 19:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. trailer repair shops near me

    Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 1, 2021 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. slot online

    Good day! I could have sworn I've been to this blog
    before but after checking through some of the post I realized it's new to me.
    Anyways, I'm definitely delighted I found it and I'll be book-marking
    and checking back frequently!

    June 1, 2021 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. xe88 log in

    Great beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your
    web site, how could i subscribe for a weblog website?
    The account helped me a appropriate deal. I have
    been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered
    vibrant clear concept

    Look at my web site: xe88 log in

    June 1, 2021 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mercedes Cargo Van Repair


    June 1, 2021 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Julio Hinerman

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality websites on the net. I am going to recommend this web site!


    June 1, 2021 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. rv shower repair

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I've got you bookmarked to look at new stuff you post…


    June 2, 2021 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. geico store near me


    June 2, 2021 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. rv entertainment system upgrade

    May I simply just say what a relief to uncover someone who truly knows what they are talking about on the internet. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people must look at this and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you are not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.


    June 2, 2021 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply

    Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it
    can survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be
    a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views.
    I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

    June 2, 2021 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Gmc High Top Van Repair

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the website is also really good.


    June 2, 2021 at 04:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. travel trailer floor repair videos

    I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I stumbled across this during my hunt for something regarding this.


    June 2, 2021 at 05:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. vinyl wrap for rv

    Right here is the right webpage for anybody who wishes to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject that has been written about for a long time. Wonderful stuff, just great!


    June 2, 2021 at 07:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. good paint shops near me

    Good information. Lucky me I found your website by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!


    June 2, 2021 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Darell Lleras


    June 2, 2021 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Jefferson Cooperstein

    You're so awesome! I do not believe I have read a single thing like that before. So wonderful to find someone with a few unique thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!


    June 2, 2021 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. horse trailer service

    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I truly believed you would probably have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.


    June 2, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. download kiss916

    We're a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your site provided us with valuable information to work on. You've done an impressive
    job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

    Also visit my web site: download kiss916

    June 2, 2021 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. KILL

    This site really has all the info I needed concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask.

    June 2, 2021 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Ronald Crider

    May I simply say what a comfort to discover someone who actually understands what they're talking about over the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.


    June 2, 2021 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Karina Gildow


    June 2, 2021 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Extended Van Repair Shop


    June 2, 2021 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Daniele Thang


    June 2, 2021 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. fabrication near me


    June 2, 2021 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. watch repair fullerton


    June 2, 2021 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Internet Marketing Mechanics

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 2, 2021 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. nearest rv repair

    This is a really good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate information… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 2, 2021 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Otha Girardin


    June 2, 2021 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Sprinter Van Windshield Replacement

    I really like reading through an article that will make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!


    June 3, 2021 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Content Marketing Company

    There's certainly a great deal to find out about this issue. I like all the points you made.


    June 3, 2021 at 00:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Internet Marketing Experts

    Great article! We will be linking to this great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    June 3, 2021 at 03:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Internet Marketing Consultants


    June 3, 2021 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 2009 Stuck Intake Dodge Sprinter Repair

    Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thanks for sharing!


    June 3, 2021 at 04:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Dent Repair Riverside

    Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this web site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!


    June 3, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Chevy Express Van Repair

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the issues. It was truly informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!


    June 3, 2021 at 05:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Social Media Marketing Service


    June 3, 2021 at 06:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Social Media Marketing Agencies


    June 3, 2021 at 06:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Social Media Marketing Specialist Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 07:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Sprinter Van Repair San Diego

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!


    June 3, 2021 at 07:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Batteries Near Me

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this matter here on your web page.


    June 3, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Leave a Reply to Conversion Van Repair


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

« Previous entry
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.