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Flare 48 Hours/2 Days After Flying?


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Hi everyone,

I was just wondering if anyone else has this 2 day lag between flying (exercise sometimes used to do this to me too before I got a better handle on what I was capable of, so I would say major stressors generally) and a complete crash? Often I will take a flight without symptoms, feel tired but not terrible the following day, and then feel like I was hit by a truck the day after that.

Anyone have similar lag time or know why this might be?

Thanks!

L

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This has happened to me before. But it does not always happen to me after flying so I don't know for sure if it is a trigger for me. I do tend to feel not so good right after a flight or even during it. Definitely easy to get dehydrated. I try to really push fluids when flying. also time changes can really affect me.

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YES! My first POTS episode was after flying to Paris with my husband for our fifth anniversary. We arrived, I felt fine, we ate lunch, and then I spent the afternoon and evening on the bathroom floor while my husband got me Gatorade and a baguette. If I'd been at home I'd definitely have gone to the ER.

Then three months later I flew to Miami to meet up with some girlfriends. We went out drinking, and the next morning I woke up feeling like death. I texted all my friends, "Need Immodium AD and gatorade, SOS" but they were all still asleep. Again, if I hadn't been in a strange place, I probably would have taken myself to the ER. I gradually recovered over the course of the day and only drank one glass of wine with dinner, but then the next morning when I woke up to catch my flight I felt horrible again. I could barely stand in line to board the plane. And they don't carry blankets on planes any more! I was so so cold and the woman next to me had to lend me her jacket while I shivered.

Then a month later we flew across the country to visit family. I was fine while we were out there; I even went for a run. The third day we woke up to fly home and I could not get vertical. It was the worst feeling in the world. My husband's aunt lent me a blanket and my husband basically dragged me and our 18 month old onto each flight and I just lay there wishing for death. Again, if it hadn't been for the circumstances, I would have gone to the ER.

Anyway, not that you really needed to know all the details ;), but these were my first POTS episodes so they are very vivid in my memory. I did fly one more time before getting pregnant last summer (haven't flown since), and again, this was before I knew I had POTS, but I at least had figured out that flying made me sick and made sure to stay super hydrated. I also found that for whatever reason, I couldn't stop moving. If I sat still on the plane, I would get ill, so I just pumped my arms and made my husband talk to me the whole time and I was OK.

I think it makes sense that flying affects us what with the change in pressure and temperature and the dryness. The next time I fly, I plan to guzzle water with EFS (electrolyte powder) and to wear compression stockings. I'll also bring my own blanket.

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Looking back on it, I'm thinking there's also a connection between what I do when I land somewhere . . . if my sleep or hydration is affected further beyond flying, then that's the kiss of death. So waking up early, jet lag, or heavy drinking can all tip the scale into a POTS episode. The one time I didn't get sick, it was the shortest flight flown at what I assume was the lowest altitude, there was no time change, etc.

My husband and I have been to France five times together and I'm really sad thinking that maybe we can't do that any more. I'll have to try flying again at some point, but a transatlantic flight . . . that might be pushing it. :(

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For me, it isn't necessarily connected to my activities once I land. When I visit family, I often go there and lie around, no alcohol or activity and if anything I am extra conscious about resting, drinking and salt loading around travel time.

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Yes, I've posted a few times about this as it been a problem for me too - bit different as it's during the flight but this can continue afterwards.

I used to fly lots and had many difficult flight before i knew why. Then I found hydrating really worked until the last flight when I had a bad episode and am still building up courage to try a short flight - there are not many ways of getting out of England otherwise.

Once I went straight from the flight to casualty and was in for 2 days. And another trip triggered a three week episode with a few hospital visits. This was all before I knew what was wrong.

Lots of people on this site have ways of dealing with symptoms to cope with the flight. Might be worth looking back at other posts.

If you find any magic solutions let me know. I haven't flown for a year.

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Flying from the U.S to Paris caused me to get jet lag. I think the theory is that getting jet lag has to do with which direction you fly in, east to west or west to east, say. I remember getting jet lag before my pots symptoms were strong and before diagnosis. What I called 'jet lag' then could just have been a pots reaction. I think jet lag and pots have much in common in the way one feels.

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jet lag is related to abnormal nitric oxide levels as are forms of POTS. This could be the reason that POTS patients crash after flight. Alternatively the apparatus that controls blood volume is not working properly in POTS and perhaps dehydration from flying lowers blood volume status.

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jet lag is related to abnormal nitric oxide levels as are forms of POTS. This could be the reason that POTS patients crash after flight. Alternatively the apparatus that controls blood volume is not working properly in POTS and perhaps dehydration from flying lowers blood volume status.

That's one reason why I always take my camelback bottle through securtiy with me empty and fill it on the other side. Then as I fly, I have the stewardess fill my bottle. I carry Emergen C paks to have the electroylyte balance correct and I find that I have done much better by doing this with flying.

Issie

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  • 6 years later...

Thank god I found answers on this. My dysautonomia is very severe. Every time I fly I swell like crazy. It hurts so badly.  And when I stay in a hotel I love staying high to enjoy the views, now when I stay up high and I’m talking way high I am wondering if it is just prolonging the flight issues or another trigger. I swell so much I can’t wear anything and I am in so much pain. When I get home it takes weeks for my body to adjust and the swelling to go down. As you all know I can’t take a diuretic I have to stay hydrated. Information nd myself at a breaking point and high anxiety over it. I want t have fun and vacation with my husband and I feel guilty that bless his heart he takes care of me so much that a vacation is just to much work. 

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A lot of my work involves travel, so this is something I'm very familiar with.  I normally have a small wrist BP cuff & SPO2 meter in my carry-on and have seen that both my BP & SPO2 drop in-flight, especially on the longer flights. 

As others have mentioned, staying hydrated is a challenge in-flight as well.  Unfortunately, the bubbly & booze the airlines serve isn't conducive to staying hydrated, no matter how enjoyable it might be.  I try to balance it with copious amounts of water if I partake.  Like Issie, I also carry a water bottle with me.  Most restaurants / airline lounges past security have no problem filling it with ice & water for you.  I've found it easier to get this accomplished on the ground than in-flight, especially on short-haul US flights.  Water-loading in advance & overdoing it a bit when I've reached my final destination does help. 

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Possibly this happens because certain types of stress such as high altitude will trigger cortisol secretion during the event. As it normalizes over the next day or so, you feel crappy from the withdrawal. I have Addison's so I have to increase my steroid during stressful events like flying (although I haven't flown in over a decade), then wean back down to baseline once I'm back to normal stress levels. I always go through this withdrawal worse because synthetic steroids aren't as easy to on the body changing levels as the body's natural cortisol. So this feeling worse a day or so after a stressful event has been even more evident to me for the over 30 years that I've had Addison's.  

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