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flying with a cold


cryesis
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Hey all, im familiar with IMSAFE but at what point of illness do yall decide not to fly? Im talking about a student going for a training flight by the way. Also for medications does taking dayquil before a flight pose a problem or is that more geared twords medications with adverse effects and meds you havent taken before.

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Cryesis,

 

I would never fly as PIC with a cold. Having said that I would fly with a safety pilot if I was slightly off with normal mild cold symptoms. I would not take any medications! Fortunately I am hardly ever sick!

 

I had an AME tell me during a FIRC that we can not take any medication that ends in "ine" and fly! If you take something that ends in "ine", you need to know how long it stays in your body or effects you for IMSAFE. Ask your pharmacist about duration in your body.

 

The package on Dayquil states it contains Phenylephrine HCl 5 mg (Nasal decongestant).

 

Be safe. Do not fly with medications in your body.

 

Mike

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Typically, you’d use the standard at which you received your medical exam as a measuring stick. That is, considering the severity of cold symptoms exhibited, do you think you could pass your medical exam? If not, then you’d have your answer. To an extent, same holds true for over-the-counter medications. However, some cold meds are absolute no-no’s…. Check with your AME to be sure….

 

As far as a student is concerned, set the example and practice what is preached......

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You should consult your Flight Surgeon regarding any medications or supplements you may be taking while flying, even over the counter ones. Also, even just a mild common cold stuffs you up, and the pressure changes from altitude that occur during flying can aggravate this causing awful pressure headaches. My suggestion is to postpone flying if you are not 100%. The professionals out there that do this for a living will develop their own personal limitations regarding illness. How much is too much? Only you can really determine that. If you are feeling under the weather enough to worry about it, it's probably not a good idea to go.

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Every cold medicine I have ever read states "do not drive". If you shouldnt drive you sure as hell should not fly. I actually had this situation just last week before a flight. I was fighting off a cold, I knew I would be flying in a few hours so I took NOTHING all day except a Vitamin C and moved on. It was all low level so I didnt have to worry about ear pressures and such. You are PIC, so if you think the cold is going to adversely effect your flying, why add in risk? Only you can decide where you draw that line based on how you feel.

 

That said, your scenario was based on a student training flight. I would never advise a student to take meds and fly or even bother flying without feeling 100%. Why waste your money?

 

Fly safe,

 

Goldy

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This should narrow it down:

 

Regarding cold medication: The answer is NO.

 

From the FAR

 

 

Sec. 91.17 — Alcohol or drugs.

 

(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft—

 

 

(1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;

 

(2) While under the influence of alcohol;

 

(3) While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety

Edited by nightsta1ker
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I don't know about you, but dayquil (and nyquil for that matter) can really make me feel knocked out. Sinus pressure is another thing you need to consider. Take a blocked ear (or other sinuses), then take it to altitude, sharp, distracting, painful, pain.

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Very good replies so far. I'd just like to reiterate that if you're not 100%, it will probably be a fairly unproductive use of your money. Since you're learning, and I assume you're at a fairly low experience level, a typical training flight should push you pretty hard. You may not even really be aware of your own limits early on in flight training, so you may not know your threshold for discomfort while flying.

 

Things to expect with a cold... you'll be distracted, which will take away from the amount of experiences you can really internalize. You may have middle/inner ear discomfort, maybe a little dizziness which will make even straight and level flight just that much more challenging. If you're thinking about your runny nose, sinus headache or other symptoms, those are all things you'll be thinking about when you need to think about what someone like me is telling you.

 

Ultimately it's your money, and you will have a CFI next to you who hopefully isn't suffering the same cold, so the actual risk is fairly low. The reward, however, will also be fairly low. Personally, I'd pass.

 

If you ever get a chance, talk to Mikemv about ADM in more detail. His seminars will really help you internalize higher-order thinking skills that will help you dissect situations like this. Get all the wisdom you can while you have someone to ask. One day, you'll be the person someone else asks, and you damn well better have the answers.

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I'm not an AME and I don't know what would keep me from a medical certificate, so that little bit of guidance is all Greek to me. If you're sick enough to require medicating- don't fly

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I've flown, and sometimes still do, while taking some medication, but it's pretty limited. I might need some antacid for hearburn after pizza, or take a couple of aspirin for an occasional headache or whatever, but it doesn't go much beyond that. In fact, I carry both in my flight bag, just in case, but now that I think of it I probably need to replace them, they're getting pretty old, been in there for many many months.

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I would not unless your positive your going to be able to stay relatively low, and even then Id be cautious. I am a full time airplane pilot also. I was flying down to LA from central CA and had to climb to 14,500 to get over the mountains and avoid turbulence. No problem. Then problem came descending into the LA basin. It literally felt like someone was pounding nails into my head and nose to the point where I actually needed to grit my teeth and focus. Then my eyes started to water from the pressure to the point where when I touched down I had to taxi with one eye closed and continuously wiping the tears out of my open eye. I stopped at the FBO and was actually asked by the ground guy if I was OK as I was getting out of the plane. It was probably some of the worst pain I have ever been in. Fortunately I was by myself and had about a 10hr wait until I had to go back. Doing that in a helicopter would be just plain crazy!

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Some further guidance can be found under the FAA's guide for AME's.

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/pharm/

 

However, like many have said, it is your decision as to your ability to perform. Consider all of the side-effects listed on the package. If any of those happened would you still be able to control the aircraft?

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