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Immunizations and Antibiotics for Oversea Travel (cont.)

Air Travel Restrictions

There are a number of conditions that can limit your ability to travel by air. It is important that travelers know these restrictions.

  • Recent heart attack: No travel above 2,000 feet for four to six weeks
  • Heart failure: No travel for two weeks after an acute decompensation. Then no travel above 10,000 feet
  • COPD: No travel if vital capacity is less than 50% of predicted value
  • Pneumothorax: No air travel for at least 10 days
  • Pregnancy: No surface travel above 15,000 ft.
  • Anemia: Oxygen required if hemoglobin below 8.5g/dl
  • Sickle cell disease (SS or SC variants): Avoid travel, especially to high elevations
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): For patients with a history of DVT, it is important to get up and move frequently, move the feet a lot, and consider using compressive stockings.
  • Recent abdominal surgery with colostomy or ileostomy: No travel for one to 14 days
  • Recent eye surgery: Check with your ophthalmologist.
  • Recent scuba diving: Wait at least 12 hours before flying. If decompression stops occurred, wait 24 hours.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


"Travelers' Health: Destinations List"

Aerospace Medical Association, Medical Guidelines (2003). Task Force. Medical Guidelines for Airline Travel, 2nd ed. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 74 (5).

Jentes, E.S., G. Poumerol, and M.D. Gershman. "The revised global yellow fever risk map and recommendations for vaccination, 2010: consensus of the Informal WHO Working Group on Geographic Risk for Yellow Fever." The Lancet Infectious Diseases 11.8 (2011): 622-632.

Lynch, J.H., and A.A. Bove. "Diving Medicine: A Review of Current Evidence." J Am Board Fam Med 22 (2009): 399-407.

Powell, B., and C. Ford. "Risks of travel, benefits of a specialist consult." Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine 77.4 (2010): 246-254.

Schwartz, E. "Prophylaxis of Malaria." Mediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious Disease 4.1 (2012).

Stojanovic, K.S., F. Lionne, R. Girot, et al. "The risk of going abroad in sickle cell disease: a study of 148 adults." Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 105.6 (2011): 310-314.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/21/2016

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