Travel Tips: How Sick Is Too Sick To Fly?

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?

After planning the perfect vacation, anxiously waiting for the departure date, arranging backup for work, packing and financing everything; the sore throat and headache arrive. Are you too sick to fly? Here's a quick guide to determine the answer to that question.

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.

Common head colds, food reactions or general discomfort are minor illnesses. Take over-the-counter medication per the instructions, take the day slowly and leave extra time for even the minor duties of the day. Be certain to keep yourself well hydrated and, if necessary, exchange seats on the flight to be close to the lavatory. The flight may be more tiring and trying but one day of rest out of a vacation is probably all that is needed to catch up.

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

Some simple precautions that everyone can take to aid in comfort during the flight:

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.

© High Speed Ventures 2011