Usually a cough and cold can really bring down the spirits while travelling. That’s because it drains the body of energy and there’s too much going on inside the body to concentrate on the outside. Therefore, if you’ve been attacked by a bout of cold on your trip, here’s how to deal with the symptoms, especially at 30,000 feet in the air.

Consideration for fellow travellers

If you have a cold that you can’t get under control by over-the-counter medications, you ideally shouldn’t fly at all. It’s important to consider that cough and cold are highly contagious, and your infection might spread to fellow passengers. Other symptoms you might be too under-the-weather to fly: a fever of 100° F or difficulty breathing and any kind of stomach sickness.

Why does flying with a cold hurt?

Flying with a common cold can hurt really bad; especially if you have allergies or a viral infection. That’s because your mucus membranes are inflamed and swollen, and the swelling clogs the Eustachian tube, which connects your inner ear with the back of your throat. That in turn, disrupts the pressure between your inner ear and the outside world, causing you severe pain, blocked ears or even hearing loss for a few days.

Before flying

As a thumb rule, hydrate properly before a flight if you have a cold. That will keep the nasal secretions from drying and clogging up the Eustachian tube. Also, take simple hygiene products in your carry-on such as facial wipes, tissues for sneezing and sanitisers. Chewing gums, decongestants and nasal spray should also be kept handy.

After landing

In some cases, post-flight discomfort can carry over to the next few days. You might still have clogged-up ears or have a hard time hearing. To ease those symptoms, have your decongestants and try a hot shower once a day. The steam is said to relieve the inflamed, angry mucus membranes. Also, moving around helps. Some easy exercises or a short walk can actually makes you feel better by opening up the nasal passage.