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Flying After Having a Stroke

Flying After a Stroke

Is it safe to fly after having a stroke? Find out if you will be allowed to fly after a having a TIA. Please note that you should always speak to your doctor before booking and travelling.

Grandmother and grandchild

How can having a stroke affect my ability to travel?

Some strokes can leave people with mobility problems, which makes it hard for people to get around. This may be made harder in another country, where you won’t be sure of accessibility and may be disorientated by different surroundings.

Some organised holidays also have a itinerary of activities, so check this out incase there are any organised activities which may be physically demanding.

It is also important to be aware of how to access health services at your destination, should you require medical attention. Sometimes being abroad means healthcare is not as easily accessible, and you may encounter language barriers.

It is a good idea to check the conditions of your travel insurance to see what is included when travelling after a stroke, and upgrade to be fully covered if not.

In some cases following a TIA, a surgical procedure may be required. This means that you may be at risk from not only the recent TIA but also the surgery risks. Read more about flying after surgery here.

Although all passengers can develop a DVT (deep vein thrombosis), the risks are particularly higher for those who have suffered a stroke, and are more common to develop on long-haul flights of six hours and more. This is because you are more likely to be sedentary, slowing your blood flow, making it more likely to clot. Therefore, is important you consult your doctor before flying, ensuring they have full details of your flight to make a proper assessment. You can read more about DVT and what measures you can take to prevent it.

Airport at sunset

Can you fly after a stroke?

Although there are no set rules for when it is safe to fly after a stroke, as every person is different and doctors give different advice based on the individual, there are a few pointers to get an idea if you will be able to go on holiday after having a stroke. However, these guidelines are based on a general average, and you should always check with your doctor first before flying.

The general guide is that you should definitely avoid flying in the first two weeks following a stroke. This is because this is a crucial time following a stroke, and so problems and symptoms are likely to be at their worse. It is also a time where other related conditions may arise from your stroke.

In some more severe cases, patients may have to avoid holidays and flying for up to three months.

In some less severe cases, such as when people have suffered from a TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack), also known as a mini-stroke, passengers may be able to fly as soon as 10 days after, providing they have made a full recovery. However, as mentioned, whether the passenger has suffered a stroke or a less severe TIA, you should still get advice from your doctor, and confirmation that you are safe to fly.

How to prepare for flying after a stroke

If you are sure you are safe to fly, and have got confirmation from your doctor that you can fly, you can follow these steps to best prepare for your flight and help you have a smooth, problem-free journey.

Consult your airline

You should contact the airline that you are flying with, allowing plenty of time before travelling. This will establish that you will require special assistance if the stroke has left you with reduced mobility, vision or speech. They will be able to organise assistance, including things such as a wheelchair or staff to assist you. If you require wheelchair assistance, you can read about how to organise that here.

Check insurance

As mentioned, you should check your current level of medical insurance in regards to health. If you are not fully covered, you should upgrade it to cover you in any event.

Bring enough medication with you

Be sure that you bring with you plenty of medication and remember to take them as prescribed. You should always pack your medication in your hand luggage where they are readily available for inspection by security officers.

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Flying After a Stroke FAQs

Is flying after having a stroke safe?

The degree of safety will depend on the conditions of the individual. The severity of the stroke will have a major impact, but also the time since the stroke occurred. You should always consult your doctor before planning to fly after a stroke, as they will be able to determine if it is safe for each individual to fly after having a stroke or TIA.

Can you fly after a stroke?

In some cases, you can fly soon after a stroke. It depends on the individual’s situation, and you should always ask your doctor if you can fly after having a stroke. The general rule is that you should avoid flying for at least two weeks since having a stroke.

Why is flying after a stroke dangerous?

You are increasing the general risks associated with a stroke when flying, in addition to being away from your usual doctor and surroundings. You are also at a greater risk of getting deep vein thrombosis on a plane after having a stroke.