The articles in our Travel and Health Section have been kindly provided by Bupa International.
Bupa International is a leader in international health insurance for Expatriates. Their customers have access to more than 7,500 facilities worldwide and they serve 800,000 customers spread across 190 countries. They can offer direct settlement with Bupa recognised facilities in order to take the hassle of reimbursement away from you.
Although travel sickness isnt fully understood, research suggests that its caused by movements when travelling, such as tilting and shaking, which can confuse your brain. Normally, your vestibular system, which is located in your inner ear, keeps track of your body, head and eye movements. This helps you to change position and control your balance. However, during travel, the motion your vestibular system senses doesnt match what you see. This conflict between the senses is thought to cause travel sickness. Anyone can get travel sickness and no one knows why some people are more sensitive than others.
As the plane heads down the runway, you feel the thrust of the engines and it picks up speed. The wheels lift off and the plane starts to ascend until you reach a cruising altitude of 40,000 feet. As you sit back in your seat and the captain switches off the ‘fasten your seatbelt’ sign, you may be blissfully unaware of the health risks associated with flying. Over one billion people travel by air each year and flying has been named as one of the safest modes of transport. However, the health effects of flying have given rise to much public concern in recent years. As a doctor, I am often asked whether people are fit to fly and I have also assisted in medical emergencies on board flights. With the number of people travelling by air growing there is more opportunity for health problems. It’s important that you are aware of the risks and take steps to prevent them.
DVT happens when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. DVT is most common in the deep veins of your lower leg (calf), and can spread up to the veins in your thigh. DVT can also first develop in the deep veins in your thigh and, more rarely, in other deep veins, such as the ones in your arm. Deep veins pass through the centre of your leg and are surrounded by a layer of muscle (see diagram). When blood clots form in the superficial veins, which lie just under your skin, the condition is known as superficial thrombophlebitis. These superficial blood clots are different to DVT and are much less serious.
Long journeys can be exhausting enough, what with early starts, long trips to the airport and endless queues. To make matters worse, when you arrive at your destination after a long flight, your body clock can be out of step with the new timings of daylight and darkness. This article looks at what you can do to combat jet lag and if theres any way to prevent it.