When we get ready to travel, we plan our itinerary and pack all of the
necessities, but do we create a plan for our health? As a doctor with
extensive experience in travel medicine, I am often asked for tips for
healthy travel and below are my top recommendations:
Know when NOT to fly. A variety of conditions make air travel unsafe. For example, you should
not fly if you’ve recently had surgery, a stroke, heart attack,
or an injury to the eye, head or stomach. Nor should you fly with a severe
ear or sinus infection.
Avoid blood clots. For certain people – such as smokers, the obese, the elderly, those
with cancer, and those with limited mobility – traveling on long
flights increases the risk of developing a blood clot in a leg vein which
can be lethal. To decrease your risk, try to get up and walk occasionally.
While seated, stretch and exercise your calf muscles.
Minimize the effects of jet lag. Starting a few days before travel, go to bed a few hours later than usual
if traveling west, or a few hours earlier if flying east. During the flight,
drink lots of water, and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and large meals.
Do not be afraid to wear a mask. The confined space of the airplane facilitates the transmission of infectious
respiratory bugs. Wearing a mask can protect you – or your fellow
passengers if you’re the one coughing up a storm.
If you are planning to travel internationally, it is recommended that you
visit a doctor experienced in travel medicine in advance to understand
what is needed as it relates to immunizations, medications, and more.
To learn more about Dr. Wasbin and the primary care physicians offering
this service at Hoag Medical Group Laguna Beach, visit