Flying is one of the safest means of transportation in the world. And yet, few people do not feel a slight panic when boarding the aircraft. In addition to fueling your pre-existing anguish, the Thrillist site has decided to list nearly a dozen serious health risks when traveling by plane.
remembering that the proximity between travelers plays a lot. In general, any viral infection can catch more easily on the plane. Same principle for bacteria, many more during a flight, whether in the toilet or on your tablet.
In Thrillist’s list, we also learn that the repeated upheaval of the sleep cycle and the rhythm of the body (called circadian rhythm) can lead to problems of concentration, bad mood, memory and sometimes even ‘isolation.
Deafness is also a risk to consider. The site recalls that the noise of a flight can vary from 85 to 110 decibels, which is not without risk when it accompanies us during the whole trip, the endurable limit being of 88 decibels for four hours of travel and 85 for eight hours.
Pressurized cabin air can also cause swelling of the feet by blood accumulation. And it’s even worse if you’re not in first class and can not stretch your legs: Thrillist mentions the “economy class syndrome”, which concerns people suffering from the confinement of this part of the device. There is indeed a risk of “venous thrombosis”, said the Rouen University Hospital, due to blood stagnation, which can cause the formation of a clot. And as this clot can migrate to the lungs, there is a risk of pulmonary embolism; the CHU therefore recalls that it is important to hydrate, to take a few steps in the plane during the flight, or even flexures and extensions.
- Medical emergencies by plane
- Blood circulation problems
- Problems related to the barometric depression
- The fear of the plane
Medical emergencies by plane
Incidents in flight are rare. It is usually mild discomfort with or without a brief loss of consciousness due to the anxiety of the flight. According to the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and based on the years 2008 to 2010, barely 44,000 passengers on 2.75 billion would discomfort in flight each year.1 The most common pathologies are fainting (37% of medical emergencies), difficulty breathing (12%), nausea (9.5%) and heart problems (8%). However, serious cases such as cardiac arrest account for only 0.3% of cases.
Psychiatric pathology represents a small part of the interventions: seizures, withdrawal syndrome among drug addicts, acute panic attack, states of agitation.
commercial flight crew holds a certificate of safety and rescue. It has two medical kits whose composition has been specifically studied and defined by regulatory texts: a pharmacy box used by the flight crew and a “doctor box” for the traveling doctors.
Blood circulation problems
Venous thrombosis can occur during long-haul flights (very long night flights).
Several factors favor the occurrence of such accidents:
Sitting continuously causes slowing of venous return and compression of the calves;
The sitting position also leads to abdominal hyperpressure which promotes discomfort to venous return;
Having crossed legs accentuates the risks;
Immobility during the trip; Special conditions: blood hyperviscosity associated with dehydration due to low hygrometry in the aircraft not compensated by sufficient hydration. This phenomenon is accentuated by excessive heat, smoking or by the absorption of alcohol.
Preventive measures are indispensable. Small exercises of gymnastics on the seat are easy to realize: contraction and small massages of the calves, mobilization of the feet etc. If the regular strolling of all passengers in the plane can not be recommended, the descent to the stops is an excellent opportunity to stretch your legs!
Note: Correction surgery for venous insufficiency is effective only if it is performed at least two months before travel. The interest of aspirin and antiplatelet therapy is to be discussed with the treating physician. Heparins are effective but reserved for high risk venous sites. Some airlines advise the use 24 hours before the theft of drugs used as therapeutic anti-haemorrhoidal (venotonic).
Problems related to the barometric depression
The harmful effects of the barometric depression are reduced by the pressurization of the device. The air taken outside is injected into the cabin thanks to compressors that maintain an “artificial” altitude varying between 1,800 and 2,000 meters. At this altitude, hypoxia is minimal but may be aggravated by smoking or respiratory or cardiovascular disease. The dilation of the gaseous cavities is uncomfortable (intestinal gas, etc.) and exaggerated by soft drinks and fermentable foods (pulses, milk, corn, cabbage, pepper …).
The pressure variations at the descent are sometimes painful and can cause sinus or ear pain, as well as a clogged ear sensation. To avoid the ear pain that occurs during the landing phase, some advise to apply two cups covered with towels soaked in warm water on the ears while performing a Valsalva maneuver. In case of colds, a nasal vasoconstrictor treatment may be useful in the absence of contraindication. However, be careful with the cardiovascular effects of these medications, ask your doctor for advice: a real otitis, a retinal detachment or glaucoma contraindicate the air travel.
During a poor balancing of pressures, barotraumatic otitis can occur, even if it is rare. Indeed, when the plane goes up, the gas contained in the middle ear expands. Excess air is evacuated into the throat by the Eustachian tube (auditory tube or auditory tube). When the plane descends, the gas contained in the ear retracts. The Eustachian tube then behaves like an anti-reflux valve and prevents the air in the throat from coming back into the ear. The retraction of the eardrum is painful.
Some maneuvers open the Eustachian tube and promote air filling of the eardrum: swallowing, yawning, chewing gum chewing, Valsalva maneuver (forced expiration by plugging the nose). In passengers who are asleep or do not practice these preventive maneuvers, or in patients with an untreated tubal patency (cold, allergy, etc.), tympanic retraction can lead to tearing and acute otitis media. barotrauma.
Some tips to follow
The air taken from outside for the compressors to air condition the cabin is always very dry. This dryness is uncomfortable: it is advisable for wearers of soft and hydrophilic eye lenses to remove them from the beginning of a long flight;
Abundant compensating hydration is advised (non-carbonated and non-alcoholic beverages);
The temperature in the cabin is usually cool and you should have a sweater or shawl even when heading to the tropics;
The noise of modern cabin airplanes does not exceed 80 dB. It is harmful for the inner ear only in hearing aid wearers who must therefore unplug or adjust the volume of their prosthesis by boarding;
In case of scuba diving before a flight, the risk of altitude decompression makes it advisable to wait 24 hours before boarding and vice versa.
The fear of the plane
10% of travelers are afraid of flying and 30% of people are anxious or terrified during a trip. This “plane stress” characterizes a number of travelers: they are “uncomfortable” by plane, and the idea of taking place in a long-haul causes discomfort that can range from “simple fear” to to a real ordeal. Sometimes phobic, sometimes anxious, some subjects suffer so much that they are unable to get on the plane.
Among the anxious passengers, some feel especially the need to control everything and do not support not being able to fully control the various parameters of a trip by plane. Others had a difficult experience on a previous trip and developed reaction anxiety. Others are simply anxious and fear only certain phases of the flight (takeoff, turbulence, air holes …).
To note: among the phobic subjects, some are claustrophobic, whatever the place in which they feel “locked up”: elevators, public transport … Others present by against a specific phobia of the plane.
To help all those travelers wishing to overcome their stress or phobia of the plane, a very original program called “familiarization with flying” was developed by Air France and gives 85% good results. This internship includes several modules:
The information module makes it possible to define participants' expectations, their real needs and the specific problems they face; The simulation module consists of performing a simulated flight within a professional simulator. This step makes participants aware of the "absurdity" of their fear or phobia; The evaluation module is more informal and allows to review some personal aspects. Anxiolytics may be helpful for some people.
Other solutions to get rid of his fear by plane exist: sophrology, breathing, or even therapy …