Flying with a medical condition
If you’re living with a medical condition, the prospect of flying can seem scary, as there are a number of issues that could occur. Don’t let that stop you from getting on that plane, though. We insure thousands of people every year who jet around the world with no problems at all – so long as you prepare and look after yourself, you too should have an enjoyable flight.
Here are some of the problems you may run into and what to do to avoid or cope with them.
Dehydration is a real risk when flying, especially if you’re on a long-haul flight, or have a long-term health condition such as diabetes. Not only can dehydration lead to serious health problems, it also worsens jet lag, so make sure you drink enough before and during your flight. You don’t want to feel awful on the first day of your holiday!
We recommend sticking to water, squash and juice, as they will hydrate you the most. Avoid drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, and be sure to keep an eye on the colour of your urine. If it’s dark, then you’re probably dehydrated.
If you suffer with claustrophobia, flying can be a nerve-wracking experience. Planes are a common trigger of anxiety attacks, due to the lack of space and number of people on board. If you do experience a panic attack on the plane, here’s what you can do to help it pass:
- Stay where you are, if possible
- Remind yourself that the symptoms you’re experiencing will pass soon (most attacks last between five minutes and half an hour)
- Find something comforting to focus on, such as the hands/numbers on your watch
- Breathe slowly and deeply (try counting to three on each intake and outtake)
- Think about something positive – anything that makes you feel relaxed will do
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can contribute to your attacks.
Unless you’re travelling to a very small airport, you’ll likely have to do quite a bit a walking between the check in desk and departure gate. Therefore, if you have mobility issues, it’s a good idea to book at wheelchair before your visit. This is easy to do – just inform your travel agent or airline of your requirements at least 48 hours before your flight.
For more information about travelling with a medical condition, visit our Travel Tips & Advice page