Can You Fly With a Concussion?

Can You Fly With a Concussion?

Are you concerned about whether you should fly with a concussion? The latest scientific research indicates that it is safe to fly after a concussion, at least for athletes, but it’s recommended to wait until the worst symptoms subside and your doctor has given you clearance to board a plane.

A concussion is considered a mild traumatic brain injury. When you fly after a traumatic brain injury, it’s important to use an abundance of caution. But it’s also comforting to know that a recent study found that flying with a concussion does not seem to worsen a concussion severity or symptoms.

Can You Fly With a Traumatic Brain Injury?

What Is A Concussion?

Most people know of concussions from watching sports, especially American football. Because of the violent hits in the game, players suffer concussions on a regular basis. The National Football League has adopted a “concussion protocol” to manage concussions.

Outside of sports, concussions typically occur because of bad falls, car accidents and other incidents in which impact to the head causes the brain to forcefully strike the inside of the skull.

Concussions are a mild version of traumatic brain injury because they are not life-threatening. Concussion symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, memory loss and difficulty concentrating.

Most people recover from a concussion within a few weeks, sometimes just days. But if you’re about to fly with a concussion, it’s understandable why you might want to think twice before getting onboard.

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New Research Into Flying With a Concussion

A team of researchers from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and US Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research, and Education Consortium recently published findings from a new concussion study.

Conducted between 2014 and 2018, the study focused on the impact of concussions on athletes who flew 72 hours after sustaining the initial injury as compared to a control group who did not fly.

Researchers conducted the study with sports injuries in mind. “Athletes fly to and from games several times during a season. It is important to know if flying shortly after sustaining a concussion may affect their recovery and prevent them from completing their season,” Dr. Tara Sharma of the University of Washington Medical Center, lead author on the study, told Reuters Health.

The researchers looked at symptom severity and recovery for 165 people who flew and 2,235 who did not within 72 hours after sustaining an injury. They concluded that “airplane travel early after concussion was not associated with recovery or severity of concussion symptoms. These findings may help guide future recommendations on flight travel after concussion in athletes.”

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Tips For Flying With a Concussion

While the study found that flying did not adversely impact athletes with concussions, it’s still important to check with a physician before flying. Each person is different, so you want medical clearance before getting on a plane. Keep in mind that the study also focused on athletes who likely were in prime physical condition.

If you find you must fly with a concussion, remember to avoid anything physically taxing. You want to rest your body as much as possible. It’s also important to bring a companion who can support you with getting through the airport and flying.

A flight nurse is excellent in this capacity, as they have medical training and can ensure you safely reach your destination and also help make you as comfortable as possible. They also help by having everything planned out to alleviate as much stress as possible for your trip. While it’s possible to fly with a concussion, it’s important to do so safely. Consult with your doctor and take along medical support if needed. They can provide the care you need to make your post-concussion flight go smoothly.

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What is an RN Flight Coordinator?

What is an RN Flight Coordinator?

An RN flight coordinator oversees all the planning and booking involved in assisted flight travel. They handle travel arrangements, special accommodations and all other issues involved with preparing to fly with a flight nurse.

RN flight coordinators are licensed nurses with advanced critical care knowledge and years of experience working in the assisted flight travel field. They are familiar with all the details of flying on commercial airlines with medical assistance, from how to get medical equipment through security to the best practices for having a safe and comfortable flight.

For most people who use Non-Emergency Medical Transport (NEMT), an RN flight coordinator is the first person they have contact with when inquiring about assisted flight travel.

Speak With an RN Flight Coordinator Now

What Does a Flight Coordinator Do?

NEMT involves providing medical care during travel and assistance with all trip arrangements. Flight nurses travel with clients on commercial flights, helping them through the airport and providing medical assistance as needed during the flight. 

Flight coordinators manage all the arrangements for the trip and monitor it to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Like flight nurses, they have emergency and critical care experience. They also have special training in flight physiology.

What is Aviation Physiology?

When you contact an NEMT company, an RN flight coordinator will talk you through what they do to make your planned trip both convenient and safe. They oversee all the arrangements involved with assisted flight travel. This includes:

  • Arranging all reservations
  • Handling all travel-related paperwork
  • Arranging for special accommodations if needed
  • Anticipating any challenges for the trip and managing them efficiently
  • Quickly addressing any travel delays, flight changes and cancellations

RN flight coordinators work directly with flight nurses who travel with clients on commercial flights. They quickly provide any support that the flight nurse might need and handle any issues that might come during the trip, such as flight delays or cancellations.

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Flight Coordinators and Nurses Working Together

Once the travel day arrives, flight nurses will have reviewed the travel plans with the RN flight coordinator. They also will review procedures for every airport involved with the trip and contact airport officials as needed to make special arrangements.

Working with flight coordinators, flight nurses ensure they meet all pre-planned points on the trip, such as checking in, navigating security and reaching the gate on schedule. Flight coordinators also line up any ground transportation clients need.

Flight nurses pack a medical kit, bringing all the medical equipment they may need as well as reviewing with the client what medications they need during the trip.

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Who Needs an RN Flight Coordinator?

A wide variety of people use NEMT medical services, working with RN flight coordinators and flight nurses to make sure they arrive safely at their destination. They include people with medical conditions who are traveling to meet family or go on vacation. 

In other cases, older travelers might be relocating for retirement or to move closer to family. Flight coordinators and nurses also work with people of all ages who have chronic medical conditions that require special accommodations during a flight, or those who have a debilitating injury. An RN flight coordinator works to make a client’s trip go as smoothly as possible. Along with a flight nurse, they take the stress and worry out of travel for those who need assistance for their upcoming trip.

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Does Flying Affect Arthritis?

Does Flying Affect Arthritis?

For those concerned about how flying affects arthritis, it’s reassuring to know that many people do not experience much of a change in their symptoms. For those who do, asking the airline and flight attendants for support, as well as practicing some simple in-flight exercises and practices, will help them fly safely with inflammation.

You might feel concerned about how flying affects arthritis because you’ve heard stories about symptoms getting worse on flights because of changes in air pressure and having to sit in one position for an extended time. However, that does not happen to everyone. And even if it does become an issue for you, there are tips that can help you get through a flight comfortably.

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Relaxation Is Key to Flying With Arthritis

One of the first things to know about how flying affects arthritis is to understand the role of stress. Feeling anxious and stressed out can make rheumatoid arthritis symptoms worse. That makes it important to take steps that will reduce stress on your trip.

Most of the stress related to air travel involves concerns about being late or taking a wrong turn in the airport. Make sure to arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight departs. That gives you a time cushion if you run into long lines and other delays.  Also, if you are not familiar with an airport, look at maps so you can plan a route to reach your gate. It also helps to know where you can park and how to get there before you even leave the house.

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Ask the Airline for Support

For those with severe cases of arthritis that impacts their mobility, it’s important to contact the airline ahead of time and ask for support. That can include providing wheelchairs or special shuttles, giving you the chance to board the plane before other passengers, and allowing airline workers to carry luggage and store it in overhead bins for you. These services can make the difference between a comfortable and uncomfortable journey.

Simple In-Flight Exercises

Tips for Flying Safely With Inflammation

If you are looking for information on how to fly safely with inflammation, the following tips can help you manage pain and stiffness. A good place to start is by doing simple in-flight exercises. They include:

  • Lift and twirl your feet as if drawing circles with your toes. Continue for 15 seconds, then reverse direction.
  • Lift and lower your toes with your heels on the floor, then lift and lower your heels with the balls of your feet on the floor.
  • With both feet on the floor, bend forward and reach for your ankles, holding the position for 15 seconds before sitting back up
  • Raise your hands over your head. Grab the wrist of the opposite arm and gently pull to one side, holding for 15 seconds, then repeat with the other arm.

These other tips from Arthritis Health can help you keep comfortable during your flight.

A Preflight Workout

Don’t try anything new for this. However, if you do yoga or other exercises that help loosen your muscles, then about a half hour of that exercise before the flight can keep you from becoming too stiff in the plane seat.

Pack Light, Give Yourself Legroom

This is good advice for every traveler, but it’s especially important for those with arthritis. Pack lightweight, rolling luggage. Avoid lifting anything heavy. Also, even if it costs a bit extra, get the seats near the front of the plane that have more legroom. Even an extra inch or two will allow you to stretch out more and avoid stiffness.

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Carry Pain Medication on the Flight

A common mistake for travelers is to pack their medications in the bag they end up checking at the airport. Make sure to put your pain medication in your carry-on bag. That way, you can easily access it if needed during the flight. For relief from joint and back pain, you may also want to carry on handheld heat or cold packs that you can apply during the flight.

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Get the Aisle Seat

Many people prefer the aisle seat for two reasons: you can stretch out your legs and it’s easier to get up and walk around. Both of these are huge benefits for those with arthritis. If you can’t get a seat with extra legroom, try to at least get an aisle seat.

Support Your Back

There are two ways to provide yourself better back support. First, carry a back roll or pillow that you can place between the seat and your lower back, providing yourself extra support. Also, practice good posture. Sit with your hips and knees at 90 degree angles. Place something under your feet if needed (flight attendants may have something if you do not). You should not have to avoid taking a trip over concerns about how flying affects arthritis. By keeping these tips in mind, staying relaxed and asking for help when needed, it’s possible to enjoy your journey in safety and comfort.

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What is a Flight Nurse Agency?

What is a Flight Nurse Agency?

A flight nurse provides medical care and health monitoring for commercial air travelers who do not want to fly on their own. A flight nurse agency is the medical transport service that employs the nurses and works with patients to coordinate their trip.

A flight nurse agency employs experienced nurses with an extensive education in providing care for patients flying on commercial airlines. Sometimes referred to as a concierge nurse, these healthcare professionals work with passengers who have chronic conditions, disabilities or injuries that prevent them from being able to fly on their own.

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How Flight Nurse Agencies Work

Hiring an RN for air travel is a straightforward process. By contacting a flight nurse agency, sometimes referred to as a Non-Emergency Medical Transport (NEMT) company, clients can find out if flight nurses are available for their trip.

They do not need to arrange special mode of transport. Flight nurse agencies work with airports, commercial airlines and ground transportation, developing a schedule to get their patients safely from Point A to Point B. A day in the life of a flight nurse also includes assessing and monitoring the health of patients during travel, providing any care they require, and communicating with physicians and other healthcare professionals as needed.

Day in the Life of a Flight Nurse

Other duties can include:

  • Packing and managing a medical kit that may include specialty reclining wheelchairs, oxygen equipment, suction and nebulizers
  • Making sure patients meet all pre-planned points along the trip.
  • Helping patients’ travel go easier by using their expertise in getting through the check-in process, security, and customs and immigration for international flights
  • Ensuring patients disembark and reach their final destinations safely

Flying with Oxygen & Medications

Why People Hire Flight Nurses

Flight nurses have years of experience working with patients in emergency rooms and other situations where they provide patient stabilization and life support. In addition to working in trauma and critical care, nurses also are fully trained in flight physiology. 

All these skills provide travelers who need support a great deal of comfort and security. Those who contact flight nurse agencies typically have disabilities, injuries or chronic conditions that make navigating an airport difficult on their own. Flight nurse agencies can be a lifesaver when loved ones need to travel long distances and an expensive air ambulance is out of reach.

In some cases, vacationers who have fallen ill or experienced an injury on their trip will hire flight nurses to fly with them back home. Full service NEMT companies offer service for both domestic and international flights.

Some of the requirements for a flight nurse include an active RN license, five to ten years at least of critical or acute care experience, a certificate in Basic Cardiovascular Life Support,  Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and often specialty certifications in Critical Care (CCRN) and Flight Nursing (CFRN). A flight nurse agency can connect travelers who need support during their trip with trusted, experienced medical personnel. Flight nurses provide professional medical services that make travelling much easier and safer.

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Can I Fly With Parkinson’s Disease?

Can I Fly With Parkinson’s Disease?

Having Parkinson’s disease should not keep you from traveling. While it requires planning ahead and following smart guidelines, you can fly with Parkinson’s disease and enjoy a stress-free traveling experience.

Too often, those with Parkinson’s may feel they have to limit or even cancel travel plans. Certainly, you cannot make up plans on the fly as you those who do not have Parkinson’s may do. However, planning ahead is worth doing to enjoy the ability to fly with Parkinson’s disease.

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What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

For those who are planning a trip for someone with Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to understand how it impacts the body. Parkinson’s is a nervous system disorder that worsens over time. It typically starts with small tremors in the hand. Eventually, the tremors increase in frequency and duration.

Symptoms include severe muscle cramps, impaired posture and balance, difficulties with speech and overall slowed movement. But none of these should make it impossible to travel. The key is planning ahead to deal with any potential issues.

As a person with the disease wrote for the Parkinson’s Foundation: “While traveling with Parkinson’s disease may not be a spontaneous, carefree experience, you can still enjoy a wonderful time away with some advance planning and preparation.”

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How to Safely Travel with PD

If you want to fly with Parkinson’s disease, the first step is committing to following certain steps that can make a trip much safer and easier to manage. They include the following from the Parkinson’s Foundation and Web MD.

Book a non-stop flight. You don’t want the hassle of changing planes in a busy hub airport like the ones in Atlanta or Dallas.

Travel with a companion. It helps to have someone along who understands your condition, including a good friend, family member or flight nurse.

Carry important information. Make sure to carry the name of your doctor, insurance company, emergency contact and list of medications on your person in a wallet, purse, travel bag, etc. Also, carry something that clearly states you have Parkinson’s disease.

Use backpacks. You want your hands free to better maintain balance. You can manage this by using a backpack (or a fanny pack, if that is more comfortable) Also, always carry a snack and water in your backpack to take with medications.

Stay comfortable. Wear loose-fitting clothes and walking shoes that fit well. Also, sit near the bathroom on your flight to limit having to walk the length of the plane. Better yet, use the bathroom before you board so you can skip the cramped airplane bathroom completely.

Map it beforehand. Thanks to Google Earth, you can now go online and see images of roads and entrances around airports. You can also look at maps of the interiors of your departure and arrival airports. Find where you can use shuttles rather than walk, and remember you can contact the airport ahead of time to get a wheelchair. This can help you map out a course before you even leave the house.

Always leave early! You want more than enough time, not less.

Charge your phone. You don’t want to have to waste time trying to find a place to recharge your phone in the airport.

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Tips on Medication

It’s important to take steps that will keep your medications safe and easy to access.

  • Pack your medication in a carryon bag, not a bag you plan to check
  • Bring more medication than you think you will need for the trip
  • Bring a prescription for refills
  • Keep all medication in the labeled, original container to make it easier to get a refill and get through security
  • Before leaving, talk to your doctor about medications you can or cannot take for common trip-related illnesses such as motion sickness or nausea
  • Find out if any of your medications are sun sensitive
  • Account for time changes, if needed, to take your pills at the right time

If you want to fly with Parkinson’s disease, you can. These simple ideas can get you started on the right path for planning an enjoyable and safe trip. There’s no reason not to visit loved ones or see a place you always wanted to see!

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Common Air Travel Mistakes

Common Air Travel Mistakes

Everyone makes a mistake now and then, but most want to avoid the most common air travel mistakes. That’s because even one slip up can put the damper on an entire trip.

Mistakes are especially an issue for rookie flyers or those who need special assistance for their trip. That’s understandable. Airports are confusing places even for seasoned travelers. For the less experienced, they can seem next-to-impossible to figure out.

For people in that group, the following list offers some helpful tips. Every issue on the list ranks among the most common air travel mistakes. Knowledge is power. Hopefully, this knowledge will improve your next trip.

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The 7 Mistakes Many Travelers Make

Don’t feel bad if any of the below have happened to you. They truly are some of the most common air travel mistakes. Knowing how to get around them will make your next trip that much better.

Packing Incorrectly

When packing, less is more. It’s always smart to reduce what you bring to the smallest amount possible. If you can manage to only do carry-on, congratulations! However, a common mistake is to not ensure that your bag meets the airline’s standard for carry-on bags. Another related common mistake is not packing for the weather where you are going.

Tips: Check ahead with the airline to see what size bag they allow you to carry on the plane, and how many. Also, in the week leading up to the trip, make daily checks of the weather at your destination.

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Not Keeping Valuables With You

This is part of the packing issue, but worthy of a separate mention. If you bring items that have value to you on your trip, do not pack them in a bag you intend to check. Your mood will drop and your blood pressure rise when you find out your bag has not arrived and is, instead, on a flight to the other side of the country with your favorite necklace in it. 

Tips: Pack valuables in your carryon bag. Even better, unless you really need them for this trip, leave valuables safely secured back at home.

Not Planning Enough Time for Connections

Connecting flights are the reason people moan with frustration when their first flight is delayed and dash through airports to reach a gate. Missing a connecting flight (especially an international one) can lead to big delays. It also can make your travel schedule a disaster.

Tips: There’s no 100% guarantee you won’t miss a connection because some issues are out of your hands. However, you can reduce the risk by allowing at least 90 minutes to two hours to make a connection.

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Not Arriving Early Enough

Everyone has an opinion on this issue, but it continues to happen every day at airports around the world. If you arrive too late, you run the risk of not getting your bags checked or even missing the flight all together.

Tips: When you should arrive depends on the airport. Always give yourself more time than you think you’ll need at bigger airports – it’s better to wait than to feel the panic that comes with rushing to not miss a flight. Not to mention the disappointment of actually missing one. A rule of thumb is to arrive at the airport at least two hours before takeoff on a domestic flight and three hours for an international flight.

Not Preparing For Your Destination

Many first-time flyers make the common mistake of focusing so much on what they need to do to leave that they give little consideration to the nuts and bolts of what to do when they arrive.

Tips: Research ahead of time to find out your transportation options at your destination – for example, many hotels offer a free shuttle.

International Travel Checklist

Not Bringing Food

Airline food is well-known for being pricey and not so great. That’s a well-earned reputation. But getting stuck in the sky with no alternative has forced millions before you to try airline food. If you are a picky eater or even just kind of a picky eater, you want to take steps to avoid that situation.

Tips: If you have a flight that is long enough for a meal, pack your own sandwich and snacks. It’s perfectly fine to bring it onboard with your carry-on bag. You might also want to bring healthy snacks even on a short flight.

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Not Knowing Security Guidelines

This ranks not only among the common air travel mistakes, but also among the mistakes that will make other people at the airport resent you. Holding up a security line because you packed something that the Transportation Security Administration does not allow is high on everyone’s list of air travel no-nos.

Tips: The TSA website offers extensive information on what you can and cannot bring on an airplane. Make sure you are not packing one of the banned items. These seven issues rank among the most common air travel mistakes. It’s nothing to feel bad about it if you have made one (or two or three) – it’s something everyone does at least once. But by keeping them in mind as you prepare to travel, it can make your trip go much more smoothly.

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