Can long distance air travel effect my health?

Dr. Anzaldua: 

  • The most significant negative effect is on our circulatory system, where the cabin pressure can put undue strain on blood flow. The length of flying time and limited movement are important factors. One of the biggest health concerns is DVT (deep vein thrombosis) where blood clots can form in your legs. If you are at risk for DVT or have a history of it, consult with your health care provider to make sure you are fit for travel. If you can fly, consider walking around the cabin every one to two hours. Also, ask your doctor if wearing compression stocking during the flight would be appropriate for you. These stockings are available at most medical supply stores and even pharmacies.
  • Also, keep in mind that cabin air tends to be relatively less humid, predisposing travellers to dehydration. Again, drink plenty of water.
  • In general, air pressure drops as a jet gains altitude. Conversely, as a jet descends, air pressure rises. Changes in air pressure can affect oxygen levels, which can have a negative impact on people with lung disorders and serious heart conditions. Check with your healthcare provider to make sure you are fit for travel if you suffer from such conditions.

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1. Is it safe to travel during the pandemic?
2. Is it possible to find out if COVID-19 is spreading at my final destination?
3. What precautions should I take when traveling?
4. Is the air inside airplanes safe?
5. Other than the usual traveling articles and medications, is there anything else I should pack to prepare for traveling?
6. Are there any special vaccinations or travel medications I should take?
7. Is there a problem if I made airline reservations way in advance and prior to the pandemic?
8. I will be traveling to an area where the altitude is much higher than what I am used to. Should I be concerned or take any precautions?
9. Can long distance air travel effect my health?
10. If you’re losing sleep due to traveling (red eye or unusual-hour flights), what negative health effects can this have on my health?
11. Can the stress of travel (packing, planning, getting to the airport on time, passing through security etc) have negative health effects on your body or immunity system?
12. Can changing temperatures or weather climates from destination to destination effect the immune system or body?
13. Are there any other factors involved with travel that you can think of that can weaken the immune system?
14. What are your thoughts on how easy it is to get sick when traveling and what are some ways to avoid catching something?
15. What other recommendations do you have to help prepare and make situations like this easier in the future.
16. List a few points on what to do if you do get sick.
17. Some common travel illnesses are motion sickness, food poisoning, cough/cold and sunburn. Could you briefly describe some of these symptoms and how it can be treated?
18. Any additional suggestions?