Healthy air travel

Hi everybody have followed this site for a while but never posted. I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis 20 years ago and am always looking for ways to look after my health. I love going on holiday but am aware that plane cabins are not the heslthiest of environments. Went to Japan in March and was impressed with the way many people wear masks for their own protection and that of others (though at first it did seem bizarre) anyway felt extremely pleased with myself travelled to Cyprus and back with my mask on and I got very few weird looks if more people felt comfortable doing it it would become as acceptable as using a walking stick. I think I have survived the journey without catching a bug and will continue to use my mask on planes


8 Replies

  • What sort of mask did you use. Funnily enough I fly a great deal long distance to see my grandsons in US and a regular 10 hour flight to San Francisco and South Africa and have never actually picked up anything on a flight. Though your flight to Japan would have been longer. Sitting waiting for an appointment in the Doctor's surgery has given me far more colds and infections I think. I asked about wearing a mask at my last specialist appointment and was told it wasn't worth it unless you have a particular type of more expensive mask that blocks small particles. The specialist also said that unless you then wear it all the time you are going to be exposed to the same things anyway. I have bought more expensive masks - but they are all single use masks to use when dusting and such like. I believe that the paper masks you buy cheaply will last at most half an hour apparently so have to be changed regularly. The best masks are more solid types - like you often see workers using in dusty environments and should have a HEPA filter. There are three grades N95, N99, and N100. An N95 will protect you from 95% of particles and so on. Here in the UK the standards stated for those three types of mask are FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. You can get even more expensive masks which can be used more than once. obviously any mask has to be fitted property for it to work.

    Having listened to the specialist though I may in future wear my masks but will have to take a couple as if you take them off to eat or drink the inside is going to have bugs on it when you put it back on and then you are going to be breathing any bad stuff in any way I would think? I don't really know but am concerned as I think everyone who has a lung condition is.

    What do others think?

  • Hi

    I worked with dangerous chemicals for many years and you are right.

    You do need very specially made masks for the amount of protection required.

    Regarding air travel, l would think to avoid all the bugs on board you not only need a mask,you would need eye protection and rubber gloves...worn continuously from when you enter the airport to when you leave the destination airport !!! Or ask for an outside seat on one of the wings !!!,

    After my experience of my last flight home from holiday, ( l developed a clot in my lung ) l am more concerned about cabin pressure and the room to move about during the flight.

    We can try to avoid germs and bugs the best we can....but unless we take up residence in a sterile plastic bubble, we will be exposed to some.

    Best thing is to keep yourself as fit and healthy as you can, and keep your fingers crossed !

    Velvet xx

  • I brought some masks back from Japan I wouldn't say they are any particular grade. I feel better wearing one especially listening to all the coughs and sneezes on board. And I have felt poorly on a couple of occasions after flights although I have no real way of knowing if that was due to picking up something on board or not. I always wear masks when decorating at home but of course that's in my own environment. I just think it is something I can do to help myself and doesn't impinge on anyone else

  • Hi susanlu

    If it works for you that's all that matters.

    I wish you many healthy flights

    Velvet xx

  • I've had Bronchiectasis all of my life Susan (both lungs) as well as Emphysema which I developed later, and never had any problem with flying. I have flown everywhere, short and long haul and never worn a mask, and with the new 'planes now which don't recycle air but draw it in from the outside, makes it even better. Enjoy your holidays. XX

  • Didn't realise new planes didn't recycle air. I'll enjoy my next plane journey in a more relaxed fashion!

  • Flew to the States Sunday using oxygen but no mask,consultant said they are of little use,enjoying the warmth and sunshine at the moment which makes me feel good,I am an IPF sufferer,I suffered most from The Welfare dept at Thomson holidays ,nearly 5 hours in travel agents sorting out their requirements,,such a long story,upshot is though they need a fit to fly dated within 30 days,not the usual one ,which is normally valid for 6 months.I was fortunate that my registrar answered the phone on a Saturday at the hospital and confirmed I had attended an appointment there on Friday and was fit to fly,how exceptional was that,but they still wouldn't let me use planes oxygen,had to take 4 batteries for my oxygen concentrator,borrowed from others.I intend to make a complaint when I get back to the UK ,I think they are discriminating against oxygen users,no way can you have a fit to fly every 28 days,.Then the flight crew were so wonderful to me,they couldn't believe what had happened,and really looked after me,and they said if I needed to use their oxygen I could,however mine did last.Its a minefield out there,the travel industry need to clarify and publish on their websites exactly what is required,Sooki.

  • Where are you in the States? Just started to get colder here so glad to hear you are enjoying the warmth.

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