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Flying in 2020?

By Joseph Chow, MD, President, Ambulatory Care

Are you flying in 2020? As I was having dinner with a group of soccer parents last week, one parent asked me about pulmonary embolism (PE) treatment. This question was not typical soccer parent talk (although you may or may not be surprised at that too), but I obliged with my thoughts. The back-story is he flew to Alaska, went on a cruise, and when he got back, he thought he caught a cold, with coughing and sweats. It turns out he had multiple pulmonary embolisms, with no history of clotting, nor would testing reveal any inheritable disorders.

As I am writing this in the airport and my nagging little cough causes me a bit more pause than average, I look at the TV on CNN, the Coronavirus is now considered a significant health threat in China, and there have been some confirmed cases in the U.S. Maybe my cough is something else? All of a sudden, those passengers who wear masks aren’t so silly looking anymore, and in fact, I should probably sit next to them rather than avoid them. I collect my thoughts on how I would answer questions from patients on what to do and how to avoid them when flying. Given the Coronavirus is a virus, avoidance hand washing is the best preventative since there is no specific direct treatment.

The next story was coverage of Kobe Bryant’s sad passing from a helicopter crash. Kobe played in my era and was undoubtedly an iconic basketball player who even won an Academy Award last year. I never liked the Lakers much, but certainly respected him with his excellence and apparent work ethic.

2020 has indeed started off challenging, and I’m sure it will continue. To tie together my main points: get up and walk when flying, don’t sit on your layover, wash your hands, cough in your sleeve, and take everything at work and home in perspective. There will be a lot of good in 2020, no doubt.

Ready to board that plane?

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