When Are You Safe to Fly with MedFlight911?
Several months ago, we wrote a blog on what fit to fly means and how doctors determine if a patient is or is not fit to fly with MedFlight911. We transport a lot of patients who are seriously ill or injured and sometimes, the doctor may deem them unfit to fly until a certain point. But what do commercial fliers need to know about flying with illness? Last week, we discussed the precautions that travelers with flying with communicable diseases need to take. Did you know that there are other illnesses that can restrict your travel? Read on to find out more!
The Air Carrier Access Act or 1986 has enabled more and more people with disabilities or illnesses to travel via commercial air. However, it is the person's responsibility to contact their practitioner for guidance on safety during air travel. For example, people with respiratory, cardiac, or postsurgical conditions or those with diabetes or ear conditions, require unique attention, tests, and/or instructions from their practitioner to make flying safer. In some of those cases a practitioner may deem the patient unfit to fly, but in many cases it's perfectly safe with the right equipment and practices (i.e., oxygen, staying hydrated, walking around the plane, and so on). Part of flying safely is knowing when you should postpone air travel.
When should you postpone your trip?
Of course, the most obvious reason to postpone your trip is if your doctor advises you to do so. But there are other times when you should postpone air travel, including:
- Seven days following a colonoscopy
- Within 72 hours after scuba diving to avoid decompression sickness
- If you are 34+ weeks pregnant or if you have a complicated pregnancy
- Within three weeks of uncomplicated myocardial infarction
- Passengers with recent abdominal, central nervous system, ear or thoracic surgery
If you are unsure whether or not you should be flying with your condition, it is important to talk to your medical care provider. Your doctor may want you to use oxygen during your flight, walk around the plane, take certain medications, or bring other medical equipment on board with you. Keep in mind, even on short, commercial flights, medical care and equipment aren't readily available.
When do you need an air medical escort?
Often times a physician will not diagnosis a patient as "fit to fly" unless they will be cared for by another medical professional. If a patient is unable to perform tasks associated with air travel and needs medical assistance or surveillance, you will want to consider getting an air medical escort. An air medical escort will escort the passenger from their home (or wherever they wish to be picked up) to his or her destination while providing constant medical attention to the patient. The escort helps the passenger with their luggage and medical supplies and helps them get through the airport. The escort ensures that the patient boards and exits the plane safely and that the patient is safe and comfortable during the entire trip. Many times, if a family member cannot travel with the patient or the patient needs extra medical attention, the patient or their family will hire an escort to transport the patient.
Most importantly, an air medical escort is a trained aviation expert who can navigate the complexities of both airline travel and a patient's medical condition ensuring both the patient's comfort and their safety while traveling. If you have any medical conditions that might make air travel dangerous, please consult your health care professional before your trip.
MedFlight911 is passionate about getting our patients safely to their destinations and if you ever find yourself in need of an air medical escort, give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air ambulance quote here.