Travel Advice & NHS Travel Vaccinations
Fear Of Flying Statement
Downend Health Group recognise that the fear of flying is real and frightening, and we understand the impact it can have on some people.
Our GP’s and Nurses are often asked to prescribe Diazepam, or similar drugs like Lorazepam Temazepam or Clonazepam, for patients who have a fear of flying, or who need to sleep during flights. However, prescribing these drugs for such situations is no longer recommended, instead, we recommend tackling this properly by using self-help resources or considering one of the ‘Fear of Flying’ course run by many airlines.
There are many reasons as to why it is not considered safe practice to prescribe drugs for these situations. We have listed them below so you can understand the rationale behind this.
- Although plane emergencies are rare, taking Diazepam reduces awareness and reaction times for patients, so you risk not being able to react to save your life if you have to escape quickly. You may also put other lives in danger by getting in their way or relying on help.
- The use of these drugs can put you in an unnaturally, deep sleep. This means you won’t move around as much as during natural sleep, so you have a higher risk of developing a blood clot (Deep Vein Thrombosis – DVT) in the leg or lungs. Blood clots are very dangerous and can kill. This risk increases if your flight is longer than 4 hours.
- These drugs can have short term, negative effects on memory, co-ordination, concentration, and reaction times. They can be addictive if used for a long time, with withdrawal leading to fits, hallucinations, agitation, and confusion. Diazepam in the UK is a controlled drug and Doctors are obligated to follow strict prescribing guidelines which state they should not be used to treat short-term ‘mild’ anxiety. Fear of flying in isolation is not classed as a generalised anxiety disorder.
- Some people get agitated and aggressive after taking Diazepam or similar drugs and behave in a way that they would not normally. This can pose a risk on the plane, which may affect everyone’s safety and mean you are in breach of the law.
- There is evidence that using these drugs may increase anxiety in the long term, especially if used repeatedly.
- Diazepam and similar controlled drugs are illegal in certain countries.
- Diazepam can stay in your system for some time. Taking Diazepam may lead to failing drug tests. This is important to note if your job or sport requires you to have random drug testing. It may also have implications for driving; Diazepam is a drug that is subject to drug-driving regulations in a number of countries including the UK.
- It is important to tell your travel insurer about your medical conditions and any medications you take. If you do not disclose this information, you may invalidate your insurance policy.
Further information may be found in the links below
- NHS Inform: Phobias
- Easy Jet: Fear Of Flying Course
- British Airways: Flying With Confidence
- Virgin Atlantic: How To Cope With A Fear Of Flying
The practice is not affiliated with and does not endorse any particular company. The links to external websites are for patient information purposes only.
NHS Travel Vaccinations
When travelling outside of the United Kingdom, you may require certain travel vaccinations to protect you against serious diseases. The practice only provides the following, free NHS travel vaccinations to our patients. They are offered for free as they protect against disease thought to represent the greatest risk to public health if they were brought into the country.
Please speak with a member of our Patient Assistant team if you would like to book an appointment for an NHS travel vaccination. We recommend that you make this booking at least 6 weeks in advance of your date of travel. The first appointment will be a telephone call with a travel nurse who will discuss your needs. They will then arrange a follow up, face to face appointment to administer your travel vaccines.
We do not offer the following vaccinations. These will need to be booked through a private travel clinic. The cost of these vaccines may vary depending on the number of immunisations you require.
- hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis
- tick-borne encephalitis
- tuberculosis (TB)
- yellow fever
Malaria Prophylaxis medication can be obtained from larger pharmacies or private travel clinics.
The following links provide further advice and guidance on travel immunisation:
Information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad
Fitfortravel is a free public access website providing up to date health information for the UK public on avoiding illness and staying healthy when travelling abroad.
Travelling in Europe
Your rights & EU rules
If you are travelling to Europe the EU has published useful information for travellers on the European website.
As an EU national, you enjoy the right of free movement. This means you’re entitled to travel, work and live in another EU country. If you’re a citizen of a Schengen country – which is most EU countries – you’re also free to travel to other Schengen countries without the need for border checks.
As an EU national, you can also benefit from EU-wide passenger rights for travel into, out of or within the EU by air, rail, bus/coach or ship. You can travel with pets and other animals in the EU provided you comply with the rules (pet passports). There are EU limits on taking alcohol, tobacco or cash with you to another EU country. Each EU country can set its own limits or restrictions, so check before you go.
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