According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are over 42,000 flights in the United States every single day.
Some people have never flown in their lives, and some fly for a living. Either way, traveling by air is something that millions of Americans do every year, and it’s crucial to know if and when it could affect your health.
Though flying itself is statistically safer than many other things, being in the air could put you at risk if you are on certain medications.
Being so high up increases chances of a blood clot, even though the possibilities are slim. But certain medicine—such as contraceptives like birth control, according to WebMD—can increase this risk.
If you’re on a long flight, especially if it’s international, it may seem tempting to take sleeping pills.
But that’s a bad idea.
As uncomfortable as sleeping may be on flights, you should not take sleeping pills during one.
The pills may help you sleep, but they’ll also lower your oxygen levels. And The Travel Doctor suggests that combining flying and sleeping pills will just increase your risk of a blood clot.
It’s better to sleep naturally than to risk using medications to do so.
If you plan on sleeping on a plane, bring some earbuds to block out any noise.
The same also goes for medication used for anxiety.
It’s understandable to be anxious before flying; many people are. But anti-anxiety meds turn out to cause more damage than otherwise when in the air.
In fact, a study showed that taking these pills may decrease anxiety initially, but they will actually increase one’s breathing and heart rate, causing more damage than anxiety does.
The studies also showed that 71 percent of people taking an anti-anxiety med before a flight felt even more panicked because of them. Because of the meds, those who aren’t used to flying will never get used to it, as they will only make people more fidgety on the plane.
But there are natural treatments for anxiety. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states how treatments like yoga and therapy are helpful towards the condition; doing these either before or after a flight may help you calm down.
Sometimes, you might not have a choice but to take medications before a flight, depending on your prescriptions. If this is the case, professor Nial Wheate suggests in an article that “an anti-platelet might be for you.”
These are medications that help prevent blood clots, but you should also use caution to make sure that they won’t counteract any other meds. You should always talk to your doctor about this before taking the flight.
In general, it’s better to not use any of these medications while on an airplane.
As hard as it may seem to not take some of these, the cons of using certain medications on flights to help you outweigh the pros.
Though you think you may sleep better, or feel less anxious, the pills will do more damage in the long run.
Yes, there could be a crying baby on the plane, or a loud snorer that could make you pray for something to help you sleep. But it’s smarter to avoid those kinds of meds so that you will have not just a safe, but a healthy flight as well.
As always, though, do consult with a qualified medical practitioner before stopping or starting any medication or if you have concerns about your health before or after a flight.