Birth control pills, antihistamines, and hormone-modifying drugs, when exposed to high-pressure cabin conditions, lack of movement and oxygen deficiency can cause potential harm.
Nowadays airplanes become more popular
Every day, more than 10 million people move between areas of the world by plane.
In general, aircraft are a safe means of transportation with little risk. However, environmental conditions on the aircraft can endanger some passengers who are taking specific medications.
NialWheate, associate professor and director of the University College of Pharmacy program at the University of Sydney, said many medicines are harmful when traveling by air.
What makes the flight different from other types of travel?
Passenger aircraft usually have cabin pressure in the same as the outer atmospheric conditions at about 3,000 meters. At this altitude, the effective oxygen level is only 14.3%, much lower than the 20.9% at ground level.
Another risk is that passengers may be reduced blood flow due to lack of moving and sitting in tight spaces unless you are rich enough to book business class. In addition, dehydration is also common in flight due to lack of moisture in the air.
When these conditions are combined together, passengers are at risk for DVT. This is a syndrome of blood clot in the vein of the body, which occurs most often in the legs. The development of blood clots can lead to blockage of blood flow to the lungs, heart or brain, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
The recommendations of medical experts
At this risk, passengers should be cautious when using any medication that may increase the risk of blood clots.
Some brands of contraceptive pills for women (tablets or implants) can cause a blood clot, although the rate is not high. It has been suggested that the risk comes primarily from estrogen-containing drugs, but a survey conducted in 2014 found that all contraceptive pills had the potential to cause blood clots.
Similarly, hormone replacement therapy, especially those that include estrogen or a fertility-enhancing drug such as gonadotrophin, may put the passenger at risk for blood clots.
If you take one of these medications, it does not mean you cannot take plane, nor should you stop taking it. Millions of women still use these drugs and do not suffer from bad effects on the fly.
However, the risk will increase if you have a history of certain conditions such as type II diabetes, heart disease or previous heart attacks or stroke.
Therefore, passengers taking medication to prevent heart attacks or strokes should consult their doctor before flying.
Be careful with antiplatelet and antihistamine drugs
If you are at risk for blood clots, consider using antiplatelet medications. These drugs work by preventing blood cells from sticking together, including prescription drugs such as warfarin and clopidogrel, or over-the-counter drugs such as low-dose aspirin.
Many passengers find it difficult to sleep while flying, especially on long haul flights. Parents traveling with young children are often afraid when their kids cannot sleep and make the passengers around them are uncomfortable.
In these cases, many people will switch to antihistamines, such as promethazine to induce sleep. However, this is not a good choice.
The Australian Medical Association strongly recommends that parents not use this medication to induce sleep for children. Medications can have the opposite effect to make children more difficult to sleep and more active.
These antihistamines also reduce respiration. In oxygen-deficient environments, this is especially dangerous.
If you see a family member who needs sedation therapy, you should not use antihistamines. Instead, consult your doctor for more safe and appropriate use of the medication.
Consult your doctor before flying
Before flying, if you are taking any medication, you should meet a doctor for advice on whether to continue using it. Your doctor will advise you to be safe using medication. If the medication causes a risk of blood clots, your doctor will suggest other drugs that are less risky.
During the flight, do not take antihistamine drugs; drink enough water, move more to reduce the risk of blood clots.
In addition, alcohol can cause undesirable effects, so be careful when asking for alcohol on the plane. Avoid drinking tea, coffee, or other caffeine drinks as they can cause dehydration and difficulty sleeping.