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Flying with High Blood Pressure

AllClear Team
Last updated 11 October 2020
Flying with high blood pressure: Grandmother and daughter at the airport

COVID-19 travel regulations for those with high blood pressure

Some underlying health conditions are linked to an increased risk of developing a serious illness from COVID-19. Those with a diagnosis of high blood pressure (hypertension) are at a high risk. Click here for more information and advice regarding COVID-19 and high blood pressure.

This guide will provide you with information about travelling with high blood pressure. It will also provide you with resources to help answer any COVID-19 travel-related questions you may have.

If you’re still planning to travel this year, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Travel regulations continue to adapt to the constantly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. So, here are some useful guides to help you travel with confidence:

To ensure that your holiday is comfortable, safe, and enjoyable, follow our step-by-step guide below…

Can you fly with high blood pressure?

Millions of people fly safely with high-blood pressure every year. However, there are things you should check before travelling – talk to your doctor, take your medication and travel with a blood pressure monitor – to help avoid any issues.

Before travelling with high blood pressure

Before you fly, consider visiting your doctor to discuss your travel plans – particularly if your blood pressure is unstable.

They will determine whether or not you should fly. This of course an important consideration for your health, but also for your travel insurance – as you will need to be determined fit to travel for your policy to be valid.

If your doctor deems it unsafe for you to fly, they still may be able to recommend a better time for you to travel or for you to change your travel plans slightly.

Travel Insurance

In the new COVID-19 travel era, travel insurance is more important than ever before, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition, such as high blood pressure.

To ensure that you are comprehensively covered, you should take out a policy which includes enhanced COVID-19 cover.

You must also remember to declare your high blood pressure as a pre-existing medical condition. There are many complications of high blood pressure – such as a blood clot – which you may not associate with the condition, but that you won’t be covered for unless you declare high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is often a condition that people don’t bother to declare, says Dr Harikrishna Patel from AllClear: “It’s often something which people get used to living with and don’t give a second thought to.”

But this is not necessarily the case: “Travelling invariably means a disruption to routine and possibly a change in time zone, so tablets may be delayed or missed altogether. Heat, physical exertion, change in diet or a tummy upset can all have an impact.

So what might be a stable medical condition at home could potentially be a problem abroad that results in a medical emergency claim.”

Find out more here: High Blood Pressure Travel Insurance.

Medication

If you’re taking blood pressure medication and your journey will involve you being away from home for more than a couple of weeks, make sure you have enough medication to last the duration of your trip, including extras in case of emergency.

Consider also the time zone of your destination, as you may need to take your medication at a different time to normal.

If you will need to take medication during your flight, be sure to speak with your airline to confirm it’s allowed in your carry-on bag.

Blood Pressure Checker

If your blood pressure is unstable, it’s well worth investing in a good blood pressure monitor.
That way you can keep an eye on your blood pressure while you’re on holiday, and ensure that it remains within a safe blood pressure range.

High blood pressure is considered a level consistently at or above 140mmHg and/or 90mmHg.

COVID-19 Travel Essentials

Before heading off on holiday, you will need to remember to pack a few COVID-19 travel essentials. So, make sure you add the following to your packing list:

A face covering

By now we’re all used to wearing a face mask when out in public spaces within the UK. However, it may seem strange to picture yourself wearing one while on holiday. However, face coverings are a measure put in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and are now mandatory in many countries. So, remember to take a couple with you for when you’re away. Click here for more information on COVID-19 and face masks.

Antibacterial gel

Antibacterial gels are relatively cheap and are an excellent on-the-go solution. In this new travel era, hand hygiene is essential – so grab a bottle or two to take with you on your travels. For effective use – make sure it’s at least 60% alcohol concentration. Click here for further information.

At the airport

If you’re travelling with high blood pressure – there are a few measures you can take to help manage your condition and keep you and others around you safe when at the airport.

Social distancing

Prior to 2020 we were all used to airports being busy places, with long queues and crowds of people. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 a few changes have been made to help reduce the risk to passengers and staff. Measures put in place have been implemented to help maintain social distancing where possible.

Changes you may see:

  • Arrows on the floor to create one way systems
  • Markers to show 2 meter distance
  • Lift capacity reduced to one household at a time

Reduce stress

With queues, COVID measures, and security to contend with, it’s fair to say that flying can be a stressful experience!

So take time to minimise the level of stress you are exposed to. This can be through simple things, like making sure you’re up to date with the new COVID-19 airport measures before you travel or packing a few days in advance so you know you have everything you need.

During the flight

When on the plane, there are a few things to consider that are a little different following the outbreak of COVID-19. If you have high blood pressure it’s important to be aware of the following changes.

Eating and drinking

As expected, flying post COVID will be a little different than what you’ve experienced previously. Eating and drinking on a plane certainly has changed and varies from airline to airline. Given that food and drink can impact blood pressure – knowing that things have changed can help you plan in advance.

In general many airlines are still serving food or drinks on the plane. However, some have suspended in-flight service entirely to reduce contact between passengers and the flight crew. The time you fly, your flight duration and your cabin class are all factors which will affect your inflight experience when it comes to food and drink. So, make sure you check what’s allowed and what’s not when it comes to your flight.

Stay active

Due to COVID-19, it may not be possible to walk around the plane as regularly as possible. To aid circulation, you can do some gentle leg exercises from your seat to ensure you keep circulation moving throughout the flight. This activity helps reduce the risk of any blood clots, and you can also buy flight socks to help in this regard.

How to travel with confidence during the pandemic

Find the answers to the most common questions that AllClear policyholders have asked about their travel insurance cover

Article sources:

The information in this blog post is not intended to replace professional medical advice. It is a general overview of a broad medical care topic. Blog posts are not tailored to one person’s specific medical requirements, diagnosis or treatment. If you do notice symptoms or you require medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider to obtain professional medical help. Read through our disclaimer for more information.

high blood pressure infographic




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