International travel and health

Travel by air

The volume of air traffic has continued to rise over the years and “frequent flyers” now make up a substantial proportion of the travelling public. The number of long-haul flights has increased. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, passenger traffic is projected to double between 2006 and 2020.

Air travel, particularly over long distances, exposes passengers to a number of factors that may have an effect on their health and well-being. Travellers with pre-existing health problems and those receiving medical care are more likely to be affected and should consult their doctor or a travel medicine clinic in good time before travelling. Health risks associated with air travel can be minimized if the traveller plans carefully and takes some simple precautions before, during and after the flight. An explanation of the various factors that may affect the health and well-being of air travellers follows.