Cathy Lizak
Contributing writer
last updated 05/05/2023

What Medical Conditions Can Stop You From Flying?

A Few Common Medical Conditions That Can Make Flying Unsafe

TravelAir Ambulance

Have you ever thought about taking a trip to another state or a foreign country but wondered if your medical condition or illness could prevent you from flying? Although flying is a quick and practical option for transportation, air travel can be hazardous to one's health or impossible for those who have certain medical conditions. Numerous physical and health concerns, ranging from deep vein thrombosis to infectious diseases, can keep you from flying. We will look at the medical issues that may limit your ability to fly in this article. We'll also talk about using an air ambulance and other forms of transportation for people who can't fly. So fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a trip through the world of medical conditions and air travel!

Health Risks of Traveling by a Commercial Plane

For most people, flying on a commercial plane is a pretty safe and mundane experience. In fact, the plane ride is usually the last thing you’re thinking of when you’re leaving for a trip. For people who already have medical conditions, though, it's not all stress-free. Did you know that spending a lot of time sitting down on a flight increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? Blood clots can develop in your legs at that point, which can be unpleasant and even fatal. Dehydration and ear ache can also result from the low humidity and cabin pressure, and if you already have heart or lung problems, epilepsy, or sickle cell disease, you may be particularly more vulnerable to complications.

Medical and Health Conditions You Should Not Fly With

Let's look at some of the medical issues and physical ailments that can prevent you from flying. Cardiovascular and respiratory conditions come first. These include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension (high blood pressure), and heart disease.

Heart Disease

People with heart disease may be more susceptible to issues when flying. The body experiences lower oxygen levels, lower air pressure, and extended sitting while flying. As a result, there may be an increased risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

Additionally, several heart disease treatments, including blood thinners, may raise the risk of bleeding while inactive for extended periods of time, like on a lengthy trip. People with heart disease may occasionally need a medical clearance from their doctor before flying.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Hypertension, often known as high blood pressure, is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide. when having high blood pressure may not in and of itself prevent someone from flying, it can raise the risk of certain issues when doing so.

For instance, those with high blood pressure may be more susceptible to blood clots during extended periods of inactivity, like on a lengthy trip. Additionally, due to changes in air pressure, some drugs used to treat high blood pressure, such as beta blockers or diuretics, may produce fainting or dizziness while being transported by air.

Before taking a flight, people with high blood pressure should speak with their doctor to make sure their condition is being properly controlled and to go over any necessary accommodations or precautions.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

In addition to making it difficult to breathe, COPD can also result in coughing and other respiratory symptoms. People who have COPD may be more susceptible to difficulties when flying, especially on lengthy trips or when ascending to high altitudes.

While flying, variations in air pressure and oxygen levels can exacerbate COPD symptoms and make breathing more challenging. In addition, breathing in irritants like cigarette smoke or perfumes while flying can aggravate COPD symptoms and aggravate lung irritation.

Before taking a flight, people with COPD should consult their doctor. They might need to take extra precautions including carrying a portable oxygen supply or wearing a face mask to prevent exposure to irritants.

Mental health conditions

Traveling by plane may cause or make some mental health issues worse, such as severe anxiety or panic disorder. Before taking a flight, those with mental health issues may find it helpful to chat with a therapist or healthcare professional. They may also need to take additional precautions, such as carrying calming things or medicine.

Due to the lower oxygen levels and altered cabin pressure, it might not be safe for you to travel if you have one of these conditions. This could strain your heart and lungs and lead to problems including chest pain, breathing difficulties, or even a heart attack.

Similar to this, mental and neurological disorders can make flying dangerous. For instance, the flashing lights and other stimulation on a plane can cause epilepsy, and the stress and strain of flying can make migraines worse. Flying may also be challenging or impossible due to panic disorder, which causes abrupt, acute emotions of fear or anxiety.

Therefore, it's crucial to check with your doctor before flying if you have any of these conditions to see if it's safe for you to do so. In some circumstances, they might advise postponing your vacation or looking into transit options. Always keep in mind that your health and safety should come first.

What Illnesses Prevent You From Flying?

In addition to the illnesses that may entirely prevent you from flying, there are other medical and health issues that we haven't yet covered. These include communicable conditions as COVID-19, measles, and tuberculosis.

The possibility of blood clots or other complications from recent surgery, as well as severe anemia, which can result in low blood oxygen levels, are other factors that may make it impossible for you to fly. Additionally, it's crucial to keep in mind that each airline may have its own rules about who is allowed to fly and who is not, so it's always a good idea to check with your airline before purchasing your ticket.

If you do have a health issue that makes flying impossible for you, you might want to think about taking the train, bus, or vehicle instead. These solutions can be safer and more pleasant for people with certain medical needs, even though they can take longer to get where you're going.

Can I Fly on an Air Ambulance with Any Medical Condition?

If you need specialized assistance or attention when traveling due to a medical condition, you might be asking if you can take an air ambulance. Aircraft that have been particularly outfitted to transport patients who need medical care, frequently over great distances or to remote regions, are known as air ambulances.

Whether you can go on an air ambulance if you have one of these conditions will depend on your individual circumstances and the air ambulance provider's policies. Typically, air ambulance companies will evaluate your medical requirements and state to see if you qualify for air travel.

It's crucial to remember that using an air ambulance can be pricey and that your insurance may not pay for the trip. An air ambulance, however, might be your best choice if you need emergency medical care and are unable to go by commercial flight or another mode of transportation. To find out if this is a good alternative for you, make sure to see your doctor and the company that provides the air ambulance.

What Are Some Alternative Ways to Travel if You Can't Fly?

There are various more options for getting to your destination if a medical issue prevents you from flying or if you just don't like flying. One option that some people choose to look into is train travel. Many trains provide amenities like sleeping cars and food options, making train travel a comfortable and peaceful way to tour the nation.

Bus transportation is an additional choice. Bus travel can be an affordable method to get where you're going, even though it might not be as comfortable as taking the train or flying. Numerous bus companies provide long-distance routes and extras like recliner seats and entertainment systems while traveling.

You may want to think about driving your own car or renting one if you like to travel by car. You may have greater control over your travel itinerary and be able to stop along the way thanks to this. Be sure to account for the extra time, fuel money, and lodging expenses, though.

It's crucial to remember that each of these alternate forms of transportation has its own advantages and disadvantages and might not be appropriate for everyone. Before deciding how to travel, be sure to see your doctor and take into account your unique needs and preferences.

In conclusion, people with medical issues may face some dangers and difficulties when they travel by air. It's critical for passengers to be aware of the possible health dangers connected with flying and to take the appropriate safety and well-being precautions. This may entail visiting a doctor before the trip, bringing any essential drugs and medical supplies in carry-on luggage, and being ready to ask the airline crew for modifications or assistance. These precautions can help those with medical issues still benefit from flying while lowering any possible health concerns.

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