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Can You Skydive With a Cold?

Skydiving Tips

Wisconsin Skydiving Center Posted by: Wisconsin Skydiving Center 1 year ago

Picture this: your tandem skydiving reservation is on the horizon, you’re getting excited and prepping for one of the most magical days of your life when … *cough-cough* 

Oh no! If you’re starting to feel something coming on you may be wondering “can you skydive if you are sick?”, “Should I reschedule my jump?” We’ve got the low-down on skydiving with a cold, how skydiving with a cold could impact your sinuses, and other medical conditions to be cautious of when making a skydive.

Man smiling with joy during skydiving freefall at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago


Along with the other skydiving dos and don’ts, skydiving while sick is NOT recommended for several reasons with the most important being safety, of course. Not only can skydiving with a cold become uncomfortable and painful, but it can also potentially create an embarrassing (and yucky) situation. 

As you travel to the average tandem skydiving altitude (10,000 feet – 14,000 feet), the air pressure gradually decreases. This pressure change creates a “push” from the inside of your body, through your sinuses, to the outside in order to equalize the pressure. As you start to come down during freefall, the push reverses (and at the rapid rate of 120+ mph). So if you’re all stuffed up, all that mucus is going to want to come right out! Yup, that means a booger-y mess for you AND your instructor. So do yourself (and us) a favor, and just reschedule if you’re feeling stuffy.


If you’ve ever flown in a commercial airplane or traveled up and down windy roads in the mountains, you might have experienced an “ear-popping” sensation. This occurs because the air pressure outside of your body changes as altitude changes, which creates a difference in pressure on the two sides of the eardrum. 

Man giving rock on signs while skydiving down at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago

When the air pressure and sinus pressure are not equal, the ears will feel blocked. This is due to a dysfunction in the Eustachian tube – a tiny tube in the ear that is responsible for equalizing pressure between the internal and external ear. Quick pressure changes (like in skydiving) can create a little vacuum in the Eustachian tubes and cause a bit of discomfort or minor pain.

Sometimes you are able to clear the blockage by yawning, swallowing, blowing gently with your mouth and nose shut, or wiggling your ears to achieve equalization of the pressures. But if you’re unable to clear the blockage due to major congestion from being sick, then the pressure has no choice but to push on your eardrum. The sinus pressure in your inner ear can be so strong that it can literally blow out an eardrum. Ouch! Skydiving should be fun, not painful – so go ahead and reschedule your jump for another time (your ears will thank you!).


At higher elevations, your body needs to work harder to take in the same amount of oxygen as it does at lower elevations – which can be a cause for concern for those with breathing problems. If your asthma is controlled, skydiving may be a non-issue for you. However, those with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or severe asthma should consult a physician before deciding to skydive. It is NOT recommended to skydive if you have a pneumothorax or collapsed lung. The air pressure changes from traveling to altitudes higher than 8,000 feet can cause your lung to re-collapse.

If you have asthma and are cleared to jump, please communicate that with our team so we can prepare for an attack and ensure that your inhaler is close by.

Young woman fist bumping her instructo at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago


Here’s a list of other medical conditions that may stop you from skydiving:

  • Neck/Back Injuries
  • Heart conditions (including hypertension)
  • Pregnancy
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes

While we would love for everyone to experience the dream of human flight, skydiving isn’t exactly for everyone – and what’s important to us, is that you are safe! If you have any medical condition that you’re concerned about, please discuss it with a physician before booking your skydive.

Cleared to jump? Let’s do it! Book your jump with the #1 choice for skydiving in Madison, WI – Wisconsin Skydiving Center! Blue skies.