Travel Blog

Flying with Vertigo

Vertigo is more than just dizziness. It can make you feel nauseous and as if everything around you is moving quickly, although it is usually over with quickly and can be left untreated so that it goes away on its own.

However, some cases are more complicated, but either way; if you’re travelling abroad, you should still be okay to travel. Just make sure you take some precautions and follow our guide below for advice so that you’re fully prepared ahead of your trip.

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is usually defined as being a feeling of spinning dizziness. Many people associate it with a fear of heights, however, this isn’t the case – more a problem relating to the inner ear or brain.

It’s quite often a temporary sensation that goes away within a few minutes, although in severe cases it can last hours, days or even months.

Vertigo is actually not a condition on its own but is actually caused by another problem. It could be something as simple as an ear infection or migraine, it may be something more serious connected with your brain function.

However, the main thing is to treat is as a symptom and contact your doctor in order to seek help and find out what the root cause is. Then, you can get your travel plans underway.

Types of vertigo

There are two main types of vertigo, which are categorised as peripheral vertigo and central vertigo. The inner ear controls balance, and peripheral vertigo symptoms usually arise when there is a problem with this. This inner ear fault could be related to a couple of conditions.

The first is BPPV, which is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, then there is labyrinthitis, vestibular neuronitis and Meniere’s disease.

Central vertigo, on the other hand, relates to the brain, brainstem and central nervous system. Disruption to these areas can cause the brain to suffer a bit of confusion in its perception of balance and vision.

What causes vertigo?

Peripheral vertigo is the most common type of vertigo, meaning that most instances are caused by a problem relating to the inner ear.

Central vertigo, meanwhile, is connected with the brain and can be caused by a brain injury or migraines.

Risk factors that can cause an episode of vertigo more specifically can be anxiety, bending over or moving around too quickly, looking upwards or sideways and by taking some medications, to name just a few things.

Your doctor will ask questions relating to whether any of these factors, for instance, can be a trigger for you – and also base their diagnosis on the duration of your dizzy spells. From this, they can determine your type of vertigo as well as what could be behind the cause of it. Knowing the severity of your symptoms will also help them to make an assessment.

Can you fly with vertigo?

Most cases of vertigo are perfectly manageable and mean it is absolutely fine to fly with the condition. Again, we would advise you to speak to your doctor for advice about this.

They will be best placed to determine how severe your vertigo is and whether it is likely to impact your trip.

However, you should also be aware of your symptoms and monitor them to see whether they get any worse. Furthermore, based on this, you should be confident in your assessment of whether or not you think you could manage your symptoms on board a flight.

You should be happy that you can maintain your balance to minimise the risk of falls, plus sit through a flight without vomiting as this could lead to dehydration, which can be very serious.

If, after all of this, you are safe to fly, you should still prepare in advance to take steps in order to minimise the risk of your condition flaring up, as best you can.

Treatment for vertigo on an aircraft

Before you travel, it may be worth speaking to your doctor about any medications that could help prevent nausea or motion sickness during your flight. You may be able to buy some of these over the counter.

Either way, it’s a good idea to be proactive and prepare for travel sickness brought on by vertigo.

Meanwhile, during the flight, you may want to avoid eating or drinking anything too heavy or sugary. Sticking to light and simple snacks and drinks will help to keep you hydrated and combat that nausea. Over the counter, decongestants can also help with the change in cabin pressure that can impact vertigo.

Also, try to stay rested during the flight and stress-free, by reading or whatever helps make you feel relaxed.

Travel insurance for vertigo

Although vertigo isn’t classed as a condition in itself, but rather a symptom of a wider problem, you should definitely still declare it when you’re taking out travel insurance.

It is worth giving as much detail as you can in order to find you the best travel insurance policy to meet your needs.

Compare travel insurance for vertigo so that you have total peace of mind and can relax, knowing you have everything in hand should you need to call on it. We work with a variety of specialist insurance providers – and do everything we can to match you with the right policy for the best value.


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