Healthy on Air Travel - Special Risk Groups


People over the age of 65 can experience problems with the pressure conditions in the aircraft. At the usual altitudes of about 10 kilometers, the oxygen partial pressure in the alveoli drops and thus the oxygen saturation of the blood. The body has to compensate for this by breathing and pulse rate.

Senior citizens should therefore discuss with their doctor before starting to fly whether an ECG, a lung function test and possibly a measurement of the arterial blood gases is advisable. Those suffering from untreated heart failure, a recent infarct, cardiac arrhythmia and severe hypertension (over 160/100 mmHg) should generally refrain from traveling by air.

Breathe deeply with asthma

In contrast, asthma and other lung diseases pose "no significant increased risk for air travelers, " as altitude specialist Rainald Fischer emphasizes from the University of Munich Hospital. Provided that the condition has been stabilized by the medical side. Due to the dry air in the plane plenty of liquid should be drunk, for some asthma patients - after consultation with the doctor - the intake of a betamimetic for the expansion of the respiratory tract should be indicated.

Pregnant and babies

Apart from thrombosis, pregnant women do not have to pay attention to any particular risk factors of flight. Thus, most airlines allow flying until the 36th week of pregnancy. The fear that long-haul flights increase the risk of miscarriage and premature birth, scientists can not confirm.

Even for babies, long-haul flights are not a taboo. "Mother and child should, however, have already played each other for several weeks, " advises pediatrician Ralf Bialek from the University Hospital Tübingen. The best sedative during takeoff and landing is breastfeeding. And the drying of the sensitive nasal mucous membranes of the baby helps a 0.9 percent saline solution or a corresponding nasal spray.

Infants often feel pressure in their ears when they fly. This can be solved by sucking lozenges - if possible sugar-free.

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