Under the weather? Need a vacation but too sick? Should I reschedule? Use this quick guide to answer that questions: Am I too sick to fly?
Typically adults with minor illnesses can still travel; with precautions and over-the-counter medications to provide comfort. Most dangers arise from illness while flying due to the reduced cabin air pressure, the lower oxygen content of the air, the motion of the plane, dehydration, the stress of traveling and the low availability of medical treatment should something go wrong.
Illnesses causing breathing difficulty, severe asthma attacks or ear infections may result in a delay in flying. The decreased availability of oxygen, the reduced cabin air pressure and the motion of the plane can cause these illnesses to worsen even with over-the-counter aids. If dizziness or difficulty in breathing is apparent at the airport terminal, reconsider the flight. Reschedule for a day or two to allow the illness to subside.
Contagious diseases, such as chicken pox, measles or Conjunctivitis (pink-eye), even if not causing discomfort; are the best reason to reschedule flight arrangements. It's simply a common courteous to those traveling around you.
Definitely reschedule flights should you fit into any of these categories:
- Suffered a heart attack within the last 30 days
- Suffered a stroke within the last 14 days
- Diagnosed with severe lung disease
- Diagnosed with acute sinusitis
- Diagnosed with a middle ear infection
- Received major surgery within the last 14 days
- Received recent eye surgery
- Have a wired jaw
- Are pregnant beyond 240 days (or less if threatened miscarriage).
- Diagnosed with Epilepsy (unless medically controlled)
- Had a recent skull fracture
- Diagnosed with brain tumors
- Suffer from violent and unpredictable behavior
- Have scuba dived within the last 24 hours
- If you can tolerate aspirin, take one a day for a few days before you travel.
- Wear loose clothing and footwear.
- Before you board, massage your calves and thighs and move your ankles in a circular motion to increase blood flow. Do this every half-hour or so during the flight.
- Get up and move around the cabin. Simple movement and stretching every hour keeps the blood circulating
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages
- Should you feel particularly tired, don't be afraid to request a wheelchair for use at the airport.
- Alert flight attendants of your illness or general discomfort - they usually will keep a watchful eye to grant aid.
- Of course, should you have any doubt, consult a physician prior to leaving.