A stroke is a scary, and often severe medical condition. It happens when the blood supply to our brains gets interrupted or reduced.

According to the National Stroke Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States

Although it is one of the most fatal conditions in the United States, many people are not aware of the common stroke symptoms. 

It’s a medical emergency that requires prompt treatment. The brain tissue doesn’t get enough oxygen and nutrients when this happens. Within minutes of a stroke, the cells in the brain start to die.

Understanding what a stroke feels like can prevent further damage or even death by getting treatment as soon as possible. 

In the case that you experience a stroke and need to travel after it happens, one common question that comes up is, can you fly after a stroke?

This article will answer that question and provide more information on the safety of air travel after a stroke.

Can You Fly After a Stroke?

No, it is safest to avoid air travel soon after experiencing a stroke. Catching a plane after a stroke is not a good idea and will probably cause you more harm than good.

Although there is mixed messaging from medical professionals on this topic, it is true that symptoms are more intense in the first two weeks after a stroke. And additionally, new symptoms may arise during this period. 

Why You Should Avoid Flying after a Stroke

During the immediate period after experiencing a stroke, you are at high risk of getting another one.

And, if you undergo surgery during the time of your stroke, it is best not to fly for at least one week. This is because air can get trapped in your head during the surgery. Then, once you get on board a plane, this air can expand in a low-pressure airplane cabin. 

In fact, airlines do not allow travel after strokes for a minimum of ten days. But usually, most airlines do not allow travel for about 2 to 3 weeks. Some airlines restrict you from traveling for up to 3 months. That often happens when your stroke has left you with various residual symptoms. 

However, the general rule of thumb for when you can fly again ultimately depends on the type of stroke you experienced and the resulting symptoms.

Stroke Types and Flying

For hemorrhagic stroke, airlines advise you not to travel for six weeks. Hemorrhagic stroke is a type of stroke caused by bleeding into the brain. 

For people who experienced TIA, or Transient Ischaemic Attack, airlines do not recommend you to travel for at least ten days. TIA, or also known as a mini-stroke, is not as severe as a stroke. 

Symptoms of a TIA often disappear entirely, and quickly at that. Commonly, symptoms of TIA disappear within 24 hours. 

But that is not to say that that is good news. A TIA is a precursor and a warning that you are at risk of having a stroke. 

Recommendations for Stroke Patients

It is best to consult a doctor right away if you experience a TIA, or a stroke.

It is also recommended to re-examine your lifestyle to prevent further risks of experiencing an actual stroke. The most common recommendations doctor’s provide to patients are as follows:

  • Eliminate any kind of tobacco usage
  • Exercise regularly, for a minimum of 20 minutes, 3-4 times per week
  • Stick to a Mediterranean based diet.

In conclusion, it is not recommended that you hop on a plane for at least a week or two after having a stroke. No matter what type of stroke you experience, we advise that you wait for your doctor’s clearance before booking your next flight.

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