RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Plane travel can be a jumbo-jet-sized hassle, especially during the fly-happy holiday season. But a new study just published in the journal Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine illustrates that air travel not only has its ups and down, it also can leave you battered and bruised. (Especially if global warming is making air turbulence more common.) Take some basic airplane safety precautions, though, and you're less likely to get injured.
THE DETAILS: Researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and Columbia University in New York City used what's called the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which contains information for about 20 percent of all hospital admissions in the U.S. each year, to identify patients who were hospitalized for aviation-related injuries from 2000 to 2005. They found that flying-related injuries account for about 1,000 hospital admissions and about 750 deaths every year. About a third of those injured are hurt while flying in private aircraft, and another 29 percent are hurt or killed while parachuting. (By far the most common injury: a broken leg.)
WHAT IT MEANS: Airplane travel, while often touted as safer than motoring, isn't without its risks. And while worries about crashes are probably the biggest fear for those who dread plane travel, that's not the only way to get hurt. "Undoubtedly, the most common causes of aviation-related injuries are crashes," notes lead author Susan P. Baker, MPH, a professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. "But injuries do occur in the absence of crashes, and those are most commonly due to falls or jostling due to turbulence, and falls on aircraft stairs."
Filed Under: TRAVEL TIPS AND SAFETY
Published on: December 14, 2009