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Flying with a cold.

DO328-JET FO

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Hi,

Just wondering how long after I get over my cold is it ok to go back to work.

While flying freight in an unpressurized plane, I was in pain descending a day or so after I was over it.

I just have nightmares about rapid decompression really screwing me up at this point.

I'm still quite stuffy in the head.

Just wondering if anyone has anything to offer or articles from the FAA?

Thanks,

DO328 FO
 

cvsfly

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Don't rely on FAA info. Talk to your Dr. Your personal Dr. should be different from your FAA MD.
 

FL000

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I can't give you any info on how long you are contagious, but I have had success clearing my head with generic versions of Sudafed and Dayquil, both legal to use while flying.

Nasal spray can be carried to be used in an emergency only (not necessarily a flight emergency, but a congestion emergency).

More info is linked here.
 
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treetop flyer

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Make sure you're extremely SURE you're over that cold before you go back to work...

My test is to blow my nose in a normal fashion (which for me is pretty hard!) Provided I have NO discomfort and ABSOLUTLY no crackling sounds (i.e. residual fluid in your inner ear) I consider myself good to fly.

Even if you feel fine otherwise...and you're just not sure about your ears...CALL IN SICK! I'd rather be short a few sick days than out of work for a prolonged recovery from inner ear damage...

I speak from experience when it comes to ear pain and damage...don't let those precious "hours" affect your judgement!!


Best of luck and get well soon!
TF
 

surplus1

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You got some good advice from treetop flyer. Don't blow your medical and risk your career.

Since you fly the DoJet, you probably belong to ALPA. Spend a nickel and call Aeromedical. Speak to any one of the docs and get the correct medical advice. I'ts free!

After you get the info, follow it.

PS. The chance of rapid decompression is remote. It's the every day stuff that will get you. Make the phone call.
 

bobbysamd

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Flying with a URI

I agree with the above. I remember that I was sick with an upper respiratory and stayed out of work for three days. I was scheduled to fly that Saturday and I felt fine. Very bad decision. Although I wasn't feeling my usual symptoms of nasal and sinus congestion, it was there. We flew and I remember that during steep turns I felt excruciating pain in my sinuses. I learned a lot from that experience.

Don't discuss your health with your AME. He/she is not looking out for your best interests. Discuss it only with your regular doctor. AOPA offers good, confidential medical counseling.
 

ACWild

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Other than the health hazards to your ear, also consider your fellow crewmembers. I flew with a couple of sick FOs and got knocked off the line when I caught what they had because they were afraid to call in sick.
 

DO328-JET FO

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Thanks!

After talking it over with a couple friends at my company AND the great advice of fellow pilots on this board (that's what this board is all about) I have decided to not fly at least the first day of my next trip as I am still a bit stuffy.

I have enough sick time, and hey, that's what it's for anyway.

Thanks again,

DO328-FO
 

UALHammer

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A blown ear drum just isn't worth it. I fly mostly unpressurized airplanes as well (Twin Otters). I always carry a bottle of Afrin in the flight bag in case the 'crud' sneeks up on a leg. It can make the descent bearable.
 

avbug

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I don't know where FL000 came up with the advice that sudafed and dayquill are acceptable for flight operations, or that nasal sprays are acceptable, but it's bad advice. Not only could it place your certificate in jeopardy, but it could get you killed.

When considering medications in relation to your flying, the effect of the medication is only part of the picture. The underlying condition for which you're taking the medication is a very important part of the picture. Making the apparent symptoms go away may make you feel good, but it doesn't eliminate what is going on psyiologically.

If you clear your sinus with a medication, it feels cleared, but it isn't, really. If you have an infection, feeling better doesn't make it go away. The potential for a sinus implosion isn't any less, nor is the risk of total incapacitation that will almost certainly accompany it.

The FAA does not approve medications. Each must be dealt with on an individual basis, according to the airman and his or her conditions.

Several years ago, a very nasty carier landing accident was attributed to one pilot's illicit use of nasal spray. Don't depend on plan on it's use if you're already congested and need to clear it quickly. It may make you feel better for a moment (unlikely in the event of a pressure issue on descent), but it will not open or clear your sinus.

If any doubt exists at all, as others here have stated, do not fly. The CFR prohibits you from flying with a known medical deficiency. It says nothing about being able to fly so long as an over the counter medication says it doesn't cause drowsiness. Weather the medication does or does not affect you is beside the point, and ignore any advice to the contrary. It could get you killed.

There is no flight which must be made.
 

OtterFO

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I took a checkride with a head cold. It was -30F, darker than a well digger's ...

It was one of the worst flying expierances of my life. Ended up with one ear blocked, and the other clear. My head was spinning so hard on an LOC BC, I decided to stop the ride right there and pulled the hood off. When I looked out and saw the runway, the wings where level, but the runway lights appeared at about a 45 degree bank......

Never again.....
 
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FL000

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Dr. Bug,

I read labels and talk to doctors, that's how I know. I don't expect the poster to start spilling OTC medications into his face and then tell the feds "well FL000 said it was okay!!" He asked for information and I gave him some, which he should confirm with an MD. Sudafed is ABSOLUTELY an approved medication, and Dayquil has the same active ingredient, plus either Ibuprofen or Acetawhatever.

Also, I understand the hazards of nasal spray, which is why I stated that they are NOT approved medication and for emergency use only. Personally I don't give a rat's a$$ what's in the stuff or how addictive it is if I've got to do a descent from 10k to sea level with a unexpectedly clogged face.

A cold usually last 10 days and I usually get one a year. You think I'm going to take 10 sick days a year??? That's not reality.

Avbug, you don't know everything, and your perception to the contrary is increasingly annoying. Give it a rest.
 

avbug

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000,

Your expert opinion has been formed because you talked to somebody. Give me the reference that shows that the FAA approves the medications you indicated. You're dispensing advice about illegal actions (and unsafe actions) based on the fact that a doctor said it was okay. You didn't provide information, you provided an opinion which contains dangerous information.

How on earth can you determine that because a medication contains the same "active ingredient," it's acceptable to use? You're a chemist as well as a doctor, now?

You read labels. Good. You should. Where on the label do you find an authorization from the Administrator to take those medications while engaging in flight activities? Further, where do you find any statement, ANYWHERE, that authorizes the medication, rather than addressing the condition you're trying to hide with the medication? Can't find such an authorization? No surprise there; it doesn't exist. There's a good reason for it, too.

The FAA does not approve medications. Or conditions, except on an individual basis. Certain medications have general approval as being recognized for not having side effects in the general populace, however, blanket authorization is not given. Further, the FAA does not approve the use of those medications for any specific condition; while the med may not have harmful sideaffects, the condition may be debilitating or hazardous, thereby negating any implied approval for the medication itself. The bottom line? The med may certainly be taken, but the pilot still can't fly with the condition. Even if the medication isn't a barrier, the condition for which it is taken certainly may be.

If an aviator has a medical condition which does not meet the criteria for medical certification, or any known condition which is unsafe, then he or she may not fly, regardless of the medication taken.

http://www.leftseat.com/medcat.htm

http://www.leftseat.com/medcat1.htm

The nasal sprays you advocate for an "emergency" won't clear your sinus; it may make you feel better, but it won't clear your sinus, or change your condition. It won't help you be safe, or protect you during a descent. You'll perhaps get some temporary relief from a runny nose, but nothing will open those sinuses, particularly not on the short term.

This does bring to mind the question of why you would be flying in a condition that might require the medication to begin with, and goes back to the prohibition of flying during times of medical deficiency.

You don't care about addition or safety, so you say. Quite obviously. The issue isn't addiction. It's impairment, which is the chief hazard of most nasal sprays on the market, and as indicated before, the cause of a number of accidents over the years. In order to relieve your perceived condition, but not the actual condition, you're fine with impairment. Good choice. (Even though it won't work, but good choice).

Do I think you're going to take ten sick days a year? I don't know you or your proclivities, but I can infer from your statement that you do intend to operate in an unsafe manner with medical deficiencies for ten days out of each year. Is that your point?
 
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TurboS7

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In the past 6 years I never have called in sick and we get run pretty hard. I usually take a bunch of vitamins and if I even feel a cold or am around one I take "Wellness Formula" herbal defense. It is all natural stuff and helps boost up the immune system to keep you going. There is a lot of stuff out there that doctors will recommend to keep your ear's open, you just have to find what works for you and use it if you have to. It is all a tough call but if you call in sick it will usually be to someone else's benefit via day off work or overtime. Every airline has a hour hog that loves it....I'm one of them.
 

RJPilott

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pssst.. avbug... i looked over your link.. and to answer your question about Sudafed

"I don't know where FL000 came up with the advice that sudafed and dayquill are acceptable for flight operations, or that nasal sprays are acceptable, but it's bad advice."

.. its right there... in the link you provided...


"Allergy / Cold - Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) and Entex (Phenylpropanolamine) are approved by the FAA provided they are not combined with an antihistamine"
 

avbug

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The FAA has determined that Sudafed doesn't produce hazardous side effects in the general populace, however, the FAA does NOT approve it's use carte blance, and doesn't approve it's use without specific consideration of the condition involved. Simply having a medication which won't hurt you is only a small part of the equation. In most cases, the condition itself is disqualifying.

The FAA does NOT approve the medication for use in any specific situation; each case must be individually considered, and the majority of cases will not qualify. Most such medications provide simulated relief; you'll feel better, but can still experience a sinus implosion or other dangerous problems because the underlying condition hasn't gone away. Simply not causing drowsiness doesn't cut it.

These medications mask signs and symptoms, but don't make the problem go away. Additionally, most all nasal sprays aren't "approved" or safe, and don't work fast enough or do the necessary job to be useful in an "emergency."
 
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