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Fainting Most Common Medical Crisis on Planes
Date:2/27/2009

be in a lot of other public spaces."

Another report, published in the Feb. 19 issue of The Lancet, pointed to an increase in the number of medical emergencies on planes, a consequence of an aging population.

In-flight medical events are increasingly frequent, because a growing number of individuals with preexisting medical conditions travel by air, wrote the researchers from the Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington, Mass. Fortunately, most of these emergencies were minor.

Passengers over age 70 had the highest rates of in-flight medical events, but the mean age of passengers with an in-flight medical event was 44 for men and 49 for women. Commercial aircraft have medical kits, including one enhanced medical kit, as required by aviation regulatory agencies. Emergency medical kits do vary from carrier to carrier and can be extensively complex. Most commercial flights also carry an automated external defibrillator.

More information

For more on airline safety, go to U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Fly Safely

To increase your already strong odds of making it through the flight safely, Dr. Michael Sand, of the department of general and visceral surgery at the Augusta Krankenanstalt, Academic Teaching Hospital at Ruhr-University Bochum, in Germany, offered these tips on preparing for the flight:

  • Be sure to drink enough fluids. The dry air in the cabin requires patients to steadily drink a sufficient amount of water. Sand also recommended avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol consumption.
  • Move around. Sitting in the same position for hours at time increases your chances to develop sometimes life-threatening blood clots, which can be avoided by making sure you g
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