What are the contraindications to taking the plane?

What are the contraindications to taking the plane?

Otitis, pneumothorax, embolism, baby, pregnant woman … Not everyone can fly! Before you go on a trip, here is the list of contraindications to know.

People who travel by plane, especially over long distances, face phenomena such as pressurization, the decrease in oxygen and depression that can impair the normal functioning of the body. Also in case of health problems, it is sometimes necessary consult a doctor to get his opinion before boarding the plane. Some pathologies are contraindications to take air transport. On the other hand, you have to think about have the medications which may be needed during the trip, or shortly after arrival, in hand luggage. It is also advisable tocarry a copy of the prescription in case of loss of medication. Who shouldn’t fly? Can we fly when we are pregnant ? Which ones diseases prevent travel ? What a risk of phlebitis by plane? How to avoid it?

What is the list of contraindications to take the plane?

Air travel is normally contraindicated in the following cases, according to WHO recommendations confirmed by Public Health France:

newborns less than 48 hours old ;

pregnant women after the 36th week in case of single pregnancy (9th month) and after the 32nd week in case of multiple pregnancy (8th month);

within 24 hours of a bottle dive ;

► people with one of the following diseases :

  • angor (angina pectoris) or chest pain at rest
  • evolving communicable disease
  • decompression accident after diving
  • increased intracranial pressure due to bleeding, trauma, or infection
  • sinus, ear or nose infection, especially if the Eustachian tube is blocked
  • infarction myocardial infarction or stroke (Stroke) recent (the time to be observed will depend on the severity of the pathology and the duration of the trip)
  • recent surgery or trauma involving a risk of flatulence (especially abdominal trauma or gastrointestinal intervention)
  • fracture with a closed plaster (Medical advice is desirable, especially if given for less than 48 hours)
  • craniofacial or eye trauma, brain surgery or eye surgery with eye penetration
  • severe chronic respiratory illness, difficulty breathing or resting pneumothorax unabsorbed less than 2 to 3 weeks old
  • sickle cell disease
  • psychotic disorder unless fully controlled.

The above list is not exhaustive and the ability to travel must be decided on a case-by-case basis on medical advice. Concerning the dental acts recent as well as fillings, these are usually not contraindications to theft. However, in the case of unfinished root treatments and dental abscess, it is recommended totalk about it before the trip with the dental surgeon.

Avoid the plane for 7 days after birth for a baby.

At what age can a baby fly?

“Newborns under 48 hours old should not fly” indicates Public Health France in its recommendations to travelers updated in 2022. “A fit and healthy baby can travel by plane 48 hours after birthbut it is better to wait until the age of 7 days. Until their organs have properly developed and stabilized, premature babies should always be medically authorized before traveling by air. Les pressure changes air in the cabin can disturb babies; it can be assisted by feeding or pacifying to stimulate swallowing“says l‘WHO.

What diseases prevent you from traveling by plane?

  • Diseases cardiovascular
  • Diseases respiratory severe chronic pain, difficulty breathing at rest, or unresorbed pneumothorax
  • Disorders sanguine like theanemia
  • ENT infection of the ear, nose, or sinuses especially if the Eustachian tube is blocked
  • Angor (angina pectoris) or chest pain at rest
  • Evolutionary communicable disease
  • Myocardial infarction or recent stroke (The deadline will depend on the severity of the condition and the length of the trip)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Psychotic disorder, unless it is fully mastered

The above list is not exhaustive and the ability to travel must be decided on a case-by-case basis on medical advice.

What is the risk of phlebitis in an airplane?

Air transport appears to be a risk factor for thromboembolic disease, multiplying the risk by two or three of deep vein thrombosis, from four hours of flight, and especially since the flight is long “ recalls Public Health France. Be vigilant if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • background of venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • history of venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism in a close family member
  • estrogen therapy (birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy)
  • pregnancy
  • recent surgery or traumaespecially surgery of the abdomen, pelvis or legs
  • cancer
  • some genetic abnormalities blood clotting.

It is recommended for people with one or more of these factors see their doctor or go to a center
of long travel medicine before considering taking the plane
to move. A few tips to help reduce the risk of phlebitis in airplanes :

  • to move during long flights (walking, going to the toilet),
  • avoid placing luggage in such a way that it can interfere with leg movements,
  • wear loose and comfortable clothing,
  • use restraint stockings
  • see your doctor for specific treatments such as heparin injections if you are at risk for thrombosis.

What is the deadline to fly during pregnancy?

Pregnant women can normally travel safely, but most airlines restrict them
end-of-pregnancy travel:

After the 28th week of pregnancy (7th month)the woman must present a letter from her doctor or midwife confirming the expected date of delivery and the fact that the pregnancy is normal.

► In case of pregnancy monofoetal (a baby), flights are allowed until the end of the 36th week (9th month).

► In case of multiple pregnancythe flight is allowed until the end of the 32nd week (8th month).

Can we fly after a pneumothorax?

An unresorbed pneumothorax less than 2 to 3 weeks old is a contraindication to air travel. “Children with a history of pneumothorax should, like adults, check his disappearance before the flight and respect an interval of 7 days (case of spontaneous pneumothorax) at 14 days (case of traumatic pneumothorax) before boarding the plane“says Public Health France.


– Traveling by plane: health considerations = Air travel and health, WHO, updated in 2019.

– Health Recommendations for Travelers, Public Health France, June 2, 2022.

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