Attention all airline passengers: If you
have heart, circulatory or breathing problems, a
few precautions could cut your risk of an
increasingly prevalent hazard of flying - low
blood-oxygen levels that can trigger headaches,
fainting spells, and even heart attacks.
The number of in-flight medical emergencies
linked to low blood-oxygen levels has risen
significantly over the past 30 years. Though
airlines pump oxygen into their cabins, less makes
it into your bloodstream, because air pressure is
reduced at cruising altitude. But if you've got
circulatory or breathing problems or are a heavy
smoker, it could cause serious trouble.
- Skip the airport bars and in-flight happy
hour. Alcohol can amplify the symptoms of low
- Snuff the smokes. Smoking further lowers
oxygen levels in your blood.
See your doctor for pulmonary function and blood
arterial saturation tests well before you board.
These tell you whether you're fit to fly, if you
need in-flight oxygen (is so, alert the airline
ahead of time), or if you should take a train,
ship, bus or car instead.
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