Coughing in the Cabin: Commercial Flights, Illness, and Passengers Who Save the Day

Even if we have a seat in first class, most of us don’t relish the idea of taking a commercial flight. Sitting in a cramped seat in a confined space for several hours straight simply makes most people uncomfortable. However, flying takes its toll on some more than others; passengers become light-headed, nauseous, and can even faint because of (a) the relatively low oxygen content in the cabin, (b) a preexisting condition, or (c) dehydration.

When it comes to serious incidents, such as cardiac-related events, pilots will often land at the nearest airport. For the everyday maladies, flight attendants have been trained and provided with necessary medicine to assist passengers who don’t feel well while on-board.

According to a recently-released report, your fellow passengers will likely assist you if something serious happens. In seventy-five percent of all in-flight medical emergencies examined, traveling medical professionals stood up and attended to the person in distress.

At the end of the day, your chances of dying during a commercial flight are just 0.3 percent, a statistic built upon the able services of fellow passengers, trained flight attendants, and readily-available on-board defibrillators. However, this doesn’t mean people with heart conditions shouldn’t take personal precautions before flying; cardiac arrest at thirty thousand feet is a very dangerous and often lethal situation.

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