Skip Navigation

Health problem while travelling - search of advice

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Health problem while travelling - search of advice

1. Posted by crazylegs (Budding Member 52 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!


Right now I'm travelling and in Santiago, Chile. Unfortunately the last week or 2 I've been getting pains behind my eyes and headaches. My plan was to continue up through Bolivia and Peru.

Is it advisable for me to cut short my trip and return home to England to get this checked out? I did visit the hospital here in Santiago and they found no damage to the eyes but said I need to take blood tests which are expensive here.

To buy a flight from Santiago to London seems to be expensive. Does anyone know of any cheap routes?

Many thanks

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Sep-2009, at 12:38 by crazylegs ]

2. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Don't jump on that plane just yet...

When you visited the hospital, did they also check you out for a sinus infection or just check your eyes? Basically, did anyone "thump" you just above your eyebrows? By "thump" I mean they will tap your forehead with their finger. If one or both of your sinuses have fluid in them, the "thumping" usually causes a bit more pain in and around the eyes for a few seconds (to minutes).

I am definitely not saying that is the problem but it is something that should be taken under consideration by the physicians. Getting on a plane with a sinus infection isn't always the best idea. In such a situation one, or both, sinuses are not draining due to the infection and the congestion it creates. (Hence the pain behind the eyes and frequent/constant headaches.) When the sinuses can't drain, clearing the ears during take-off and touch-down is almost impossible. The ears can not clear, causing increased pressure in the area behind the ear drum and it's extremely painful. The worst case scenario is a ruptured ear drum due to the fluid behind it draining from the sinuses. (They are all inter-connected.) In scuba, it's known as an ear squeeze.

I understand the tests are expensive but if a sinus infection hasn't been considered, it should be and blood tests aren't necessarily in order for diagnosis. Again, I am NOT saying that's the problem but have it ruled out before getting on a plane to get home. It would be a shame to end a trip for something easily treatable and also risk your ear drums.

I developed a sinus infection while traveling and only had a mild headache for a day or two. I got on the plane to come home and was fine during take-off. Landing was another story. As soon as the plane started it's descent, I was in tears, excruciating pain and trying not to scream. I felt sorry for the two people next to me, one being my travel companion. She couldn't do a thing for me.

Have it checked out just to make sure.

Edit: Sorry, meant to add: I ask about the sinus infection aspect because you have described the classic sinus infection symptoms. Pain behind the eyes, plus or minus a headache, usually triggers a doc to consider infection.

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Sep-2009, at 14:31 by Isadora ]

3. Posted by crazylegs (Budding Member 52 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Many thanks for the advice Isadora.

No they didn't do this test. I get the feeling this won't be the problem though. About 8 months ago I began to get a grit sandpaper type sensation in my eyes which I thought was related to anxiety. The doctor in Santiago told me however that I'm not producing enough tears and the jelly type sensation in my arms and legs that I thought was anxiety is also related to the problem.

At the moment my plan is to take a flight from Lima to the UK, if it's not an urgent matter then I can take my time.

Cheers again

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Very interesting set of symptoms. Sorry crazylegs - worked with the first two you gave. The dry eye syndrome and limb weakness added in definitely don't equate to a sinus infection. Good luck with your trip home. Did they happen to mention what they thought the problem might be? If you don't care to share in the open forum, please send a PM to me. I'm really curious how all of those things fit together. (But, that's just me.)

Wish I could be of more help but...

5. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Had the same kind of thing soon after I arrived in Morocco. I just couldn't believe the pain I nearly puked. But I was tired and wasn't used to the sun - plus I forgot to drink enough water. Felt a fool about that. Anyway, I dosed up on paracetemol, and drank loads of water and it cleared up.

Can't say anything about what's wrong with you though, as I'm not a doctor and this is not the place for medical advice.

Anyway - hope things turn out ok.

6. Posted by crazylegs (Budding Member 52 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

It looks like the panic could be over. It seems that the problem is either the smog or the pollen as it has just turned Spring. I was worried because I've never experienced pain like this before in my eyes. The pain seems to have moved away now to a small headache and puffy eyes haha! I have medication which seems to be helping.

7. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Bit of a rocky moment, but glad to hear things are looking better now. ;)