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Is It Safe To Fly After A Minor Accident?

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Posted on Thu, 5 Jun 2014
Question: I was just in a car accident on thew way to the airport in Shanghai. My neck is bothering me, and I also bumped my leg. I am flying this evening to Canada and the flight is 14 hrs long. Am I OK to fly?
My colleague also hit her head and bumped her leg. Is she Ok to fly?
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Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger (40 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Yes. I consider you can both fly.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thank you for using Healthcare Magic.
It would appear that you may have suffered a whiplash injury. The symptoms that would suggest you need to see a doctor would be severe pain in your neck and/or tingling in you arms or hands. I suggest you take Tylenol for pain and do some gentle neck exercises to keep movement in your neck otherwise it may stiffen up. Avoid a neck collar.
With regard to your leg, if you can walk without too much pain then you are unlikely to have done serious damage.
Your colleague who hit her head should be aware that if she develops nausea, vomiting, drowsiness or confusion, she should see a doctor.
During the flight, keep well hydrated with plenty of water. Perform leg and ankle exercises regularly. Take walks around the cabin if possible. As it is a long haul flight, consider wearing compression stockings that can be bought at most airports.
Your whiplash may be worse after 24 hours so you may wish to consult a doctor when your return after your flight as you may need stronger pain-killers.
I hope this is of help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Regards,
Dr K A Pottinger,
MBChB FRCA
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Kerry Pottinger

Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist

Practicing since :1983

Answered : 1337 Questions

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Is It Safe To Fly After A Minor Accident?

Brief Answer: Yes. I consider you can both fly. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thank you for using Healthcare Magic. It would appear that you may have suffered a whiplash injury. The symptoms that would suggest you need to see a doctor would be severe pain in your neck and/or tingling in you arms or hands. I suggest you take Tylenol for pain and do some gentle neck exercises to keep movement in your neck otherwise it may stiffen up. Avoid a neck collar. With regard to your leg, if you can walk without too much pain then you are unlikely to have done serious damage. Your colleague who hit her head should be aware that if she develops nausea, vomiting, drowsiness or confusion, she should see a doctor. During the flight, keep well hydrated with plenty of water. Perform leg and ankle exercises regularly. Take walks around the cabin if possible. As it is a long haul flight, consider wearing compression stockings that can be bought at most airports. Your whiplash may be worse after 24 hours so you may wish to consult a doctor when your return after your flight as you may need stronger pain-killers. I hope this is of help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Regards, Dr K A Pottinger, MBChB FRCA