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allrite
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Headaches Common Due To Flying

Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:32 am

Reuters is reporting (SMH) on a study that estimates that more than 100 million people suffer from flight-associated headaches annually.

I can certainly attest to this, having suffered four such episodes on long-haul flights, two of them extreme.

Quote:
Environmental factors in airplanes may precipitate headaches. We conducted a questionnaire-based study among consecutive travellers to determine the rate, severity and duration of flight-associated headaches (FAHA). Of the 906 eligible travellers (mean age 33.3 ± 13.8 years), 22.3% reported headaches at least once per month. FAHA occurred in 52 travellers (5.7%), of whom 34 were women (P = 0.0023 vs. none FAHA). The duration of pain was 4.0 ± 10.2 h after takeoff and continued for 5.7 ± 14.2 h after landing. Migraine was diagnosed in 19.2% of those with FAHA. The magnitude of headache was 6 ± 2 (on a scale of 1–10). Among those who suffer from FAHA, 45.4% reported that their pain was unilateral, in contrast to 72.7% among those with 'non-flight' headaches (P = 0.019). Nine travellers had headaches when descending to −400 m below sea level, and nine upon climbing to high altitude. This preliminary observation indicates that FAHA is not uncommon and should be further investigated.

Reference: I Potasman , O Rofe & B Weller, Flight-associated headaches—prevalence and characteristics, Cephalalgia, Volume 28 Issue 8, Pages 863 - 867, 2008
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RNOcommctr
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:20 am

If you have congested sinuses or allergies, the change in pressurization can definitely cause a headache. Another possible cause is the relatively poor air quality inside commercial aircraft. Yet another cause could be dehydration... lots of people don't drink much while flying because of the hassle of going to the lav...
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allrite
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:26 am

An earlier paper found a link between simulated cabin pressure in a hypobaric chamber and "passenger" discomfort:

Muhm JM, Rock PB, McMullin DL, Jones SP, Lu IL, Eilers KD et al. Effect of aircraft-cabin altitude on passenger discomfort. N Engl J Med 2007; 357:18–27.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:58 am

While the science is appreciated, this comes as no surprise. Dehydration is a common cause of headaches on the ground, and flying in a pressurized airliner easily leads to dehydration. Add a lower oxygen level and the stress of travel...

Quoting RNOcommctr (Reply 1):
Another possible cause is the relatively poor air quality inside commercial aircraft.

A bit of a myth that. AFAIK the air circulates more than in an office building. Of course if the company is skimping on air pack maintenance it's another story...
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tdscanuck
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:28 am



Quoting RNOcommctr (Reply 1):
Another possible cause is the relatively poor air quality inside commercial aircraft.

The air quality inside a commercial aircraft is considerably better than you'll find in any other enclosed space (and most urban areas outside).

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 3):
AFAIK the air circulates more than in an office building.

*Much* more. And it's been sterilized and filtered. The only thing that's "wrong" with it is the low humidity.

Tom.
 
USAIRWAYS321
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:32 am

It makes sense scientifically, especially the dehydration issue. I don't frequently get headaches from flying, though.
 
777den
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:32 am

headaches are a common symptom of altitude sickness and for someone acclimated to near sealevel, altitudes 8000 ft can be more than enough to bring on altitude sickness, especially on longer flights. I live W of Denver and lots of visitors to the rocky mountain sky resorts have problems for the first 24-48 hours after arriving at housing to 7-9000 ft.
 
aeroweanie
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:43 pm

It took me a good 15 years to figure it out, but I am very susceptible to altitude sickness. Starting in my mid-20s, every time I flew commercially, I started to experience the same symptoms - headache, nausea and generally feeling awful. Previously, I had flown myself quite a bit, going as high as 11,000 feet without problems.

Finally, on a trip to Maui, we drove to the top of Haleakala (10,000 feet) and I experienced the same symptoms. This gave me the clue as to what was happening.

In my case, I discovered that drinking coffee before a flight could prevent the symptoms. I was not a coffee drinker, but drank a Frappuccino before a flight and realized that I felt great. I have used this technique on many domestic flights and to cross the Pacific three times and it usually works well.

Since then, I have been to high altitude areas of Tibet (9,000 feet to 12,500 feet) twice without problems, the second time for two weeks. On both trips, I acclimatized using Diamox (Acetazolamide) and this has done the trick.

I am looking forward to flying on the 787, as the cabin will be pressurized to 6,000 feet, rather than 8,000 feet. This should be a lot more comfortable for me.

Altitude sickness is real and can be dangerous.
 
themightydude
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:47 pm

To my knowledge, I only remember having a headache twice on a flight.

I've been flying in airliners since I was 2, and have been flying myself in a Beech Sport since I was 17. (23 now).

Though I generally stay pretty hydrated.
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YWG
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:12 pm

As a passenger, i always drink alot of water. Have yet to get sick.

As a pilot, I did have an issue with my headset and sunglasses pushing against my temples. I use to wear Oakley "Gascan's" and combined with DC's noise canceling headset, would push on just the right spot that it would drive me crazy (with a headache) on longer flights. The solution: a nice pair of ray bans.
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tito
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:51 am

It used to be very common for me to get headaches flying and I discovered that in my case it was due to dehydration.

I actively drink water and that solves the problem (if you wait until you are feeling thirsty its too late).
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:14 pm



Quoting Tito (Reply 10):
It used to be very common for me to get headaches flying and I discovered that in my case it was due to dehydration.

Same situation for me...I learned a long time ago that, by far, the number one reason for me to have a headache is dehydration. If I stay up on my water, no problems.

Tom.
 
HKA
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:26 am

I have read in number of flight magazines that drinking water helps and also doing some streching during flight.

However, if every passenger followed the above rules, there won't be enough water or beverages for all. I think it is "good" for the airlines that majority of the passengers don't drink that much water as they are supposed to, otherwise the aircarft will have to carry so much water !

Cofee may help but I heard it actually dehydrates you.

Also, I have noticed that on some flights, it is a bit chilly. I personally like the cabin a bit warm or cozy.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:42 pm



Quoting HKA (Reply 12):

However, if every passenger followed the above rules, there won't be enough water or beverages for all. I think it is "good" for the airlines that majority of the passengers don't drink that much water as they are supposed to, otherwise the aircarft will have to carry so much water !

I don't know if that is really a problem.

I liked the AA Business and First method. Hand out a nice ½ liter bottle of Evian to everyone.

Quoting HKA (Reply 12):
Cofee may help but I heard it actually dehydrates you.

Indeed. Coffee is a stimulant so it will help with a headache in many cases. However net net it dehydrates you (more).

Quoting HKA (Reply 12):

Also, I have noticed that on some flights, it is a bit chilly. I personally like the cabin a bit warm or cozy.

Warm and cozy is a bad idea. In turbulence, cool cabin leads to less vomit. If you are cool, you can always use a blanket. If you are warm, there's not much you can do.
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allrite
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:08 am



Quoting HKA (Reply 12):
Also, I have noticed that on some flights, it is a bit chilly. I personally like the cabin a bit warm or cozy.

I find that a warm cabin is one thing that leads to me getting headaches on a flight. Warm cabins feel stuffier.
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WESTERN737800
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:09 am



Quoting RNOcommctr (Reply 1):
Yet another cause could be dehydration... lots of people don't drink much while flying because of the hassle of going to the lav...

Agreed whenever I fly I try to bulk up on water before I go and I try to take some with me whenever possible. Having water on board can make a long day a lot shorter.
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kimberlyRJ
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RE: Headaches Common Due To Flying

Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:04 pm

Hey all,

When I am working on a flight I don’t tend to get headaches at all, but if I am a passenger half the time on short haul flights I get headache’s which tend to go shortly after landing.

I often fly from Southampton with FlyBE and with their Q400’s I get real bad headaches if I am sat near the engine’s so I always ask for seats at the rear.

I must admit on shorter flights I tend to find the pressurization of the Airbus aircraft is better then the Boeing, it’s more gradual which is easier on the ears and head.

Regards

Kimberly.

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