Can I Skydive When I'm Sick?

August 17, 2023

Skydiving is an uplifting, soul-nourishing experience that boasts many physical, mental, and emotional health benefits that will leave you feeling superhuman even hours after the jump is over. But if you’re feeling under the weather or have a medical condition, you may want to reconsider embarking on this sky-high adventure for several reasons. Let us explain.

Can You Go Skydiving if You’re Sick?

In our almost 30 years of experience at Skydive Danielson, we would NOT recommend skydiving if you’re feeling ill from any kind of cold, flu, or even allergies. Trust us, we’ve learned the hard way! Skydiving with a cold is quite painful and miserable, if we’re being honest, and can lead to even more issues than you started with. As much as we would love to get you in the sky as soon as possible, we would much rather you wait until you’re feeling 100% to fully enjoy the most thrilling adventure of your life! It’s worth the wait.

Is it OK to Skydive With a Cold?

Skydiving with a cold is definitely not recommended. So, what’s the big deal? Why is skydiving with a cold so taboo?

If you’ve ever been in a commercial airplane or driving up and down winding mountain roads, you may have experienced the somewhat uncomfortable “ear-popping” sensation. This is due to the quick decrease in air pressure as you make the climb to altitude, making the air pressure in the middle ear and the air pressure in the environment imbalanced, causing the eustachian tubes to feel blocked. Usually a yawn, swallow, or Valsalva maneuver (blowing through your ears) can open up the eustachian tubes and equalize the pressure - but when you have a cold, this is not the case.

Skydiving from an airplane at 14,000 feet and freefalling at 120 mph has the same effect. So if you choose to skydive with a stuffy nose or skydive with the flu, you’ll not only experience an embarrassing boogery mess (not a good look) as you release the pressure on your quick descent back to the earth, but you can also create a perfect situation for an ear infection to brew or in extreme cases, risk perforating an eardrum. OUCH!

Skydive With Flu

You don’t necessarily have to be in the best shape of your life when making a skydive, but skydiving itself can be physically demanding – it requires coordination, balance, and precise movements. The symptoms of the flu, such as dizziness, sinus pressure, fatigue, and impaired concentration, can compromise your ability to safely execute the necessary maneuvers needed for your tandem skydive. Additionally, the cold air at higher altitudes may intensify your symptoms, making the skydiving experience even more uncomfortable and making it harder for your body to heal/recover.

healthy skydivers at Skydive Danielson

Skydiving With COVID-19

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the question of whether one can skydive while infected with the virus is a pertinent one. COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, so engaging in activities that require deep, controlled breaths (such as skydiving) may not be advisable. Moreover, tandem skydiving often involves very close contact with tandem instructors and fellow jumpers which increases the risk of transmission.

Even if you’ve recovered from COVID-19, some individuals still experience lasting cardiovascular and respiratory issues, which could impact your ability to handle the physical stresses of skydiving. Please consult a physician if you have concerns about jumping after recovering from the virus.

What are Medical Reasons to Not Skydive?

Beyond the considerations for colds, flu, and COVID-19, there are several other skydive health concerns, medical conditions, and factors that could make skydiving unsafe:

  • Heart Conditions: Individuals with a history of heart attacks, heart disease, or arrhythmias, may be at an increased risk during their skydive due to the high-stress conditions. Rapid changes in heart rate and blood pressure could increase the risk of cardiac complications.
  • High Blood Pressure: Skydiving involves sudden changes in altitude and pressure, which can affect blood pressure. Those with uncontrolled high blood pressure may experience dangerous fluctuations that could result in serious health complications.
  • Respiratory Issues: Any pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could be exacerbated by the demands of skydiving. Those with emphysema, or collapsed lung should NOT skydive.
  • Recent Surgeries/Injuries: If you have recently undergone surgery or sustained an injury, your body may not be sufficiently healed to handle the physical stress and impact forces involved in the parachute deployment or landing.
  • Pregnancy: Skydiving is generally not recommended during pregnancy due to the potential risks to both the mother and the developing fetus. The sudden changes in pressure and physical strains during parachute deployment and landing could be potentially harmful.
  • Diabetes: There are many instructors, skydivers, and tandem students with diabetes who skydive with no issues. The majority of these folks have Type I diabetes and have their conditions under control with exercise, diet, and medication. However, diabetes can vary from case to case so, if you’re concerned about skydiving with diabetes, please consult with your physician.
  • Weight Limit: The weight limit varies depending on which gear manufacturer your local dropzone uses. At Skydive Danielson, individuals must weigh less than 240 lbs to participate in skydiving.

Consult With Your Doctor

As always, we recommend consulting with your physician if you are questioning jumping out of a perfectly good airplane with any type of cold/flu symptoms. After all, we are experts in skydiving and not equipped to offer any medical advice. If your doctor approves, we usually approve!

For more questions about skydiving with a cold, or other medical condition or for an update on our COVID policy, please contact one of our helpful team members at Skydive Danielson. Blue skies!