Medical advice for commercial air travelers.Am Fam Physician. 1999 Sep 01; 60(3):801-8, 810.AF
Family physicians are often asked to advise patients who are preparing to travel. The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 has enabled more passengers with medical disabilities to choose air travel. All domestic U.S. airlines are required to carry basic (but often limited) medical equipment, although several physiologic stresses associated with flight may predispose travelers with underlying medical conditions to require emergency care. Recommendations for passengers with respiratory, cardiac or postsurgical conditions must be individualized and should be based on objective testing measures. Specific advice for patients with diabetes, postsurgical or otolaryngologic conditions may make air travel less hazardous for these persons. Air travel should be delayed after scuba diving to minimize the chance of developing decompression sickness. Although no quick cure for jet lag exists, several simple suggestions may make travel across time zones more comfortable.