Recently, many issues related
to safety and health about long haul-flying have cropped up as more
and more people are taking up to the skies. First and foremost,
the issue of DVT or deep vein thrombosis. Then there is
complaint of foul air with disease-causing microbes, cosmic radiations
and air rage. Briefly, I will touch on
some of them.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis is a
condition where blood clots in the deep veins of the legs. The
clots can break up and travel to the heart, lungs and brain and
this can lead to serious medical complications.
In the Air Travel Industry,
this condition is often dubbed as the 'Economy Class Syndrome', but in
reality, it can affect all classes of passengers in all forms of
The exact cause of DVT is not
very clear, but prolonged immobility and dehydration can increase it
risks. Other risk factors include hormone therapy, the
use of contraceptive pills, pregnancy, smoking, post surgery, advanced
cancer, obesity and hereditary factors.
According to experts, people
with the greatest risks of developing DVT are those with an inherited
predisposition to blood clots - people who have suffered previous
incidents of thrombosis. A consultant hematologist, Patrick Kesteven, at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital said that age is also an
important factor. A person in his mid-20s has a less than
one-in-10,000 chance of developing DVT; by 75, the risk is closer to
one in 1000.
airlines have maintained that there is no evidence so far to suggest a
busy aircraft cabin might be more dangerous than sitting still
anywhere, whether on a crowded train, car, bus or even at home.
Tips on reducing risk of
Avoid high consumption of
caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
Increase consumption of
other fluids, especially water or fruit juices to improve body
Do simple regular in-flight
One such exercise is to raise the buttocks and thighs off the
seats while seated and at the same time squeezing the toes and
contracting the calf muscles. Another exercise is to bend
and straighten the legs while seated. Both these exercises
will improve blood circulation.
Foul Cabin Air
1996, the New England Journal of Medicine stated that "during
most commercial flights today, cabin air is remarkably
clean". In January 2001, a Major Airline in UK admitted to
a problem with its fleet of Boeing 777s after crew members reported a
high incidence of nausea and fainting. It was suggested that poor air
circulation led to still pockets of air forming at head height in part
of the airplanes. Boeing has said it is studying ways to improve
also been suggested that air distribution in some of the aircraft
cabin may contain microbes which have been recirculated and are liable
to cause illnesses. But studies have suggested that proximity and not
air quality is the issue when it comes to contracting colds and other
to the Federal Aviation Administration, at 12,000 meters ( about
37,000 feet), air travelers are exposed to as much as 265 times the
radiation dose they receive on the ground. Those who fly long-haul
receive an average of about three chest x-rays.
Blettner, head of Germany Radiation Protection Commission, is
finishing a large-scale mortality study on cancer among flight
crews. Germany's Cockpit Association warns the finding
will reveal breast cancer rates may be twice as high, and skin cancer
rates may be as high as 15 times as those of the general populace.
to the International Air Transport Association, incidents of Air Rage
- the propensity of passengers who lost their cool in the air -
increased by almost 500 % in the last half of the 1990s.
the last 2 years, at least 3 people have died as a result of violent
actions by enraged fellow travelers.
of the major cause of air rage is due to drunkenness. In April
this year (2001), a Briton was jailed in Spain for 4 years for
smashing a vodka bottles into a stewardess' face, twin sisters were
arrested for assaulting crew on a flight from San Francisco to
Shanghai, a 52 years old Russian was accused of grabbing one passenger
by the throat and stabbing another with a lighted cigarette lighter...
advice - stay away from a person who appears to be drinking
heavily. Request for a change of seating or keep the Cabin Crew
informed of a potential drunkard.
people said that air travel has become less of an adventure and
more of a calculated risk. Do you agree with this statement
? Me ? I enjoy flying and traveling by air !