How to calm your flight anxiety before you fly

04.03.2022 Category: Travel Health Author: Lucy Mildren

Fear of flying, otherwise known as aerophobia, is an excessive worry about air travel. It is one of the most common forms of phobia and according to YouGov, around 24% of Brits have some form of anxiety about getting on a plane.

People suffering from fear of flying experience extremely anxious thoughts which are often so powerful they become physical symptoms. These can include shallow breathing, experiencing chest tightening, sweaty palms, feeling nauseated or lightheaded and sometimes these even develop into a panic attack, meaning many opt to avoid air travel altogether. 

For some, it will have been a lifelong problem that has meant never flying at all. For others, who have flown many miles in their lifetime, it is a problem that slowly creeps up on them over time. In both circumstances, the fear can be debilitating and symptoms often trickle into other areas of life. 

Like all phobias, there is little logic to support the anxiety that it causes – travel is in fact the safest form of transport and you are much more likely to die from a car accident than in a plane crash. Knowing that fact does little to ease the flying-related anxiety of an aerophobic sufferer. 

So, what can be done to overcome our fear of flying? 

Understand the reason why you’re a nervous flyer
Fear of flying is usually caused by a combination of factors. Understanding the root cause of your own phobia is perhaps the first step in overcoming it. Is it a fear of heights? Claustrophobia? Was it that film you watched as a child? Or has a particular world event sparked the fear? Many people suddenly developed a fear of flying after 9/11 for example. Figuring this out will then allow you to tackle it in the right way and using the appropriate techniques. 

Fight fear with knowledge
Some experts suggest the first strategy for everyone suffering from a fear of flying is learning about the aeroplane and the science behind flight. Our anxiety is fed by ‘what if?’ catastrophic thoughts. Once you become knowledgeable, your ‘what if’ thoughts will be limited by the facts. There are professionally designed courses that will explain aspects like air traffic control, anti-terrorism measures, and what happens during turbulence. Some courses use Virtual Reality (VR) to simulate a flight, explaining everything along the way with the aim of injecting logic into an illogical fear. 

Seek medical help for anxiety, fear and panic
From here, a form of therapy may help to identify and break anxiety cycles. There are many different types of therapy and choosing the right one for you will depend on your own needs and goals. Hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural (CBT) are some of the most commonly used, but there are countless more to choose from. Deciding which is the most appropriate form of therapy can be daunting, so it may be helpful to seek advice from your GP or a travel nurse. 

For those who manage to make it onto the plane, there are quite a few, simple personal techniques that can be used to calm your nerves. 

Deep breathing techniques
Making a conscious effort to breathe slowly and deeply can interrupt panic. Deep breathing is known to trigger a comfort response and will help prevent hyperventilation. 

Distract yourself
Reading a book or listening to a good podcast can refocus your mind and attention.Distracting yourself from the fact that you are flying can be a great way to keep calm if you’re a nervous flyer.. Time tends to pass much more quickly when adequately distracted. 

Tell the flight attendants
Alerting the flight attendants of a nervous flyer could also help – with their training and expertise, they are ideally placed to provide reassurance and will regularly check in on you during the flight. 

Avoid coffee and wine
Nervous flyers in general should avoid drinking coffee and wine before and whilst flying. Both can leave you more dehydrated than normal. The extra caffeine in coffee can aggravate anxiety issues and the Dutch courage wine offers will pass leaving you more susceptible to jet lag. Stick with water where possible. 

Tea really does help
It’s very British to recommend tea to make everything better, but there are many different herbal teas available which can help with relaxation, reducing stress and calming anxiety. Peppermint, camomile, lemon balm and lavender teas are the most commonly used.

We advise nervous flyers and people with aerophobia to seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis and treatment options.

For more advice and information you can book a travel consultation appointment.

Christmas Opening Times

26.11.2021 Category: Clinic News Author: Sandeep Karavadra

Fleet Street Clinic will be fully closed on 25th December so our hardworking employees can enjoy Christmas day with their families. 

We reopen on 26th December for Covid-19 rt-PCR testing only, with all other services resuming in the New Year, on Tuesday 4th January.


As in previous years, we will be available for urgent medical help throughout the Christmas period. However, please remember we are not an alternative for 999. For life-threatening emergencies, immediately contact 999 for assistance.

To avoid running out of your regularly taken medication and/ or your contact lenses, please submit your requests, outlining your requirements to info@fleetstreetclinic.com as early as possible.

Please submit your requests before:

For repeat prescriptions: 11am, Friday 24th December 2021 (please note we cannot guarantee stock of all medication).

For repeat contact lenses: 5:30pm, Friday 10th December 2021.

For spectacles: 5:30, Friday 3rd December 2021. 

Covid-19 rt-PCR Testing available over Christmas by appointment only

If you need a Covid-19 rt-PCR test over the festive period, we’ve got you covered. 

We’ll even be able to deliver same-day (2-5 hrs) results for those needing rapid turnarounds. 

All Covid-19 rt-PCR tests are to be booked in advance and by appointment-only.

24th December 9 am – 5:30 pm All Services Available
25th December CLOSED
26th December – 3rd January 9 am – 5:00 pm Covid-19 rt-PCR Testing only
4th January Normal Hours Resume All Services Available

Please note, you can pre-book your Covid-19 rt-PCR test for during the Christmas period & for in the New Year online.

Book Now

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Fleet Street Clinic.

We look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Travel Tips Thursday - Botswana

19.10.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

Botswana is one of the greatest safari destinations.

The Okavango Delta offers exceptional opportunities to view wild creatures and birdlife. Elephants roam freely and herds of buffalo crowd around the winding waterways the river. The stark and desolate landscape of the  Kalahari desert can be found in the south with the longest unbroken stretch of sand there is. Whatever your itinerary, ensure you follow our top travel tips.

Vaccines

All travellers should ensure they are up-to-date with their routine vaccinations including measles, hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria-tetanus and polio (DTP). You may want to consider getting vaccinations for rabies and hepatitis B as well. Both these diseases are classed as high-risk in Botswana. We would advise you to speak with a travel nurse ideally 4-6 weeks before travel. At this appointment, you can discuss where you’re going and what you plan to do. They can then advise you of all the recommended vaccinations you should consider.

Find out more information about our travel and wellness vaccinations.

Malaria

There is a high risk of malaria throughout the year in the northern areas of Botswana including the Okavango Delta, Chobe and Moremi. There is a low risk of malaria in the rest of the country including the central Kalahari, Gaborone and Gemsbok. Individuals travelling to hight risk regions are advised to take anti-malarial medications to prevent the disease. As well as taking precautions against mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that spread malaria predominantly bite at night. For that reason, it is essential you sleep under a mosquito net.

Insect prevention

All travellers need to take extra precautions against insect bites. Mosquitoes, ticks, mites and lice are able to spread diseases such as African tick bite fever, dengue fever, filariasis and myiasis. Travellers should wear good insect repellent with at least 50% DEET and try to cover up with long loose clothes. You can add extra protection to your clothes by treating them with an insecticide. We would recommend using a permethrin spray.

See our Ultimate Bug Kit.

What about Yellow Fever?

The is no risk of Yellow Fever in Botswana. It is therefore not recommended that travellers get vaccinated. Travellers may require a valid Yellow Fever Certificate if they are entering Botswana from a country that has yellow fever, or who have transited through a country with a risk of yellow fever.

First Aid Supplies

Areas of Botswana can be remote, and access to medication and first aid supplies can be limited. Packing a good basic first aid kit is a good idea to help treat minor injuries and illnesses. Basic items such as anti-histamines, pain relief and medicines to treat upset stomachs are useful. Likewise, pack small dressings, plasters and antiseptic cream to treat minor scrapes and scratches. If you take prescription medication to ensure you pack sufficient for your trip and carry a record of the medication with you.

Book your travel appointment today

By Anna Chapman |  Travel Nurse | October 2019

Travel Tips Thursday - Greenland

19.07.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

Greenland is home to truly magnificent mountainscapes and glaciers.

Jakobshavn Glacier, the world’s fastest-moving glacier in the Northern Hemisphere can be found here.

In the Winter, tourist travel to this wonderland to potentially see the wondrous the Northern Lights. Things are quite different in the Summer.

Chasing the Midnight Sun

Summer in Greenland is an image not often associated with the country. Summertime offers eternal light in the land of ‘The Midnight Sun’ whereby the day has neither a beginning nor an end. Those wanting to experience this time-shifting experience must travel north or the Arctic Circle. The low-lying sun makes the surrounding scenery appear almost dreamlike; icebergs and hilltops are bathed in a surreal palette of pink, purple, yellow and red. Travellers to Greenland have options of hiking the land or sailing the fjords between icebergs.

If you plan to travel to Greenland this summer follow our top travel tips to ensure you stay healthy.

Vaccinations

Even though Greenland resides in the Arctic Circle, travellers should still ensure they receive appropriate pre-travel vaccinations. This includes being up-to-date with Measles, diphtheria-tetanus and polio. Greenland has a high risk of Rabies, a virus spread through the infected bite of a mammal. Travellers who plan to trek inland may wish to consider this vaccination before they travel to reduce the risk.

Suncare

Despite Greenland having long, dark winters, the summer months provide almost constant light. Bright sun, combined with the effects of lights reflection from snow and water can increase the risk of sun damage from UV light. Despite temperatures remaining cold, travellers still need to be sun smart. Ensure you wear a high factor SPF, and use lip balm to prevent cracking. Polarised sunglasses that wrap around will prevent the UV rays causing damage to your eyes.

Sea Sickness

Many activities in Greenland involve taking to the water and visiting the infamous Disko Bay in search of Icebergs. Sometimes the seas can be rough which can make for a miserable time if you are prone to travel sickness.

Sea Sickness can be reduced by:

  • Sit in the centre of the boat where the motion will be less aggressive

  • Close your eyes or focus on a point on the horizon, this can help your inner ear balance.

  • Avoid alcohol and large heavy meals, instead, keep hydrated on water and eat smaller lighter meals

  • Sucking on a mint or ginger sweet can help with nausea

  • Seas Sickness medication tablets

  • Patches that can be used to prevent sea-sickness

Trekking

Parts of Greenland can be remote so taking a good First aid kit with you is essential. Basic provisions include pain relief, plasters and medication to treat an upset stomach, such as loperamide and oral rehydration salts. If you take prescription medication to ensure you pack enough and carry the prescription with you. If you plan on trekking the hinterland, pack additional items such as blister dressings and plasters.

Book your travel appointment today

By Anna Chapman |  Travel Nurse | July 2019

Inca Trail

19.07.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

June to September is the best months to trek to Machu Picchu, although you can visit all year round. The weather is at its driest and coolest with gloriously sunny days. Trekking to the roof of the Andes is a rewarding experience that many travellers to Peru sign up for. Travellers who are trail-blazing their way on the Inca road to catch a glimpse of the forgotten city should follow our top travel tips to ensure they stay healthy on the road.

Vaccinations

All travellers to Peru should ensure that they are up-to-date with measles, diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP), and have received vaccinations against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. There is a risk of Rabies and Hepatitis B in Peru, and all travellers attempting the Inca Trail should consider vaccinations against these.

There is no risk of Yellow Fever on the Inca Trail or Cusco. However, the vaccination may be recommended to travellers who are doing further travel in Peru, such as the Amazon rainforest. Those planning to extend their trip to South America may require the Yellow Fever vaccination for personal protection. Additionally, you may require a valid yellow fever certificate to enter some other countries. It is best to book in a travel consultation with our specialist travel nurses to discuss your route.

Altitude Sickness

The highest altitude of the Inca trail is 4,215m, a whopping 1,800m higher than Machu Picchu itself! Most people start the hike from Cusco which lies at 3,400m, meaning trekking this wonder of the world poses a real risk of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is unpleasant and can develop into something serious and become life-threatening. It is best avoided by taking time to acclimatise. Ideally, if you are arriving from sea level, spend a few days in Cusco before your trek begins to adjust to the different altitude. Choose a longer trek, a slower ascent over more days will reduce your risk considerably. Alternatively, you can get a prescription of acetazolamide (Diamox) to aid the process. Speak to a specialist travel nurse about this at your pre-travel consultation. Don’t let altitude sickness ruin your trip.

Stay Hydrated

Treks on the Inca trail usually last around 5 days, meaning that an average trekker will probably consume at least 15 litres of water over the course of their trek. Unclean and unsafe drinking water can lead to sickness and diarrhoea so it is important that travellers have access to safe water. Carrying 15 litres of water on the trail is a near impossibility so travellers should ensure that they have a way to make water safe to drink. Carrying water purification tablets, or a bottle with a filter can ensure you have access to safe drinking water throughout.

Travellers Diarrhoea

Travellers diarrhoea and other common gastrointestinal infections can put a dampener on any adventure but especially when hiking. Access to toilets is likely to be limited throughout your journey so it is important to stay healthy. Ensure all food you eat is thoroughly cooked. Pack an alcohol hand gel so you can keep your hand clean before you eat and after using the toilet. It is wise to carry medication with you, so, if you do become unwell you have doctor-approved medication available to take. We recommend packing one of our Worldwide Gastro Kits. Inside there is medicine to prevent and treat travellers diarrhoea, dehydration, mild infections, nausea and vomiting. Hopefully, you won’t have to use this kit, however, for peace of mind, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Foot Health

The Inca trail typically consists of between 6-9 hours of walking a day, with shared tent accommodation. Hiking the Inca Trail through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu is both arduous and awe-inspiring. Make sure you have good walking boots that are broken in before you start. Book an appointment with a podiatrist and osteopath if you have any niggles or pain before setting off. Take care of your feet throughout your adventure – keep them clean and dry to avoid problems. Any blisters should be cleaned and covered with a dressing to prevent pain and infection. Pack your own first aid kit with some basic medications for pain, allergies and upset stomachs in case you do become unwell. Access to medical supplies will not be until Aguas Calientes at the end of the trek. You can buy a Fleet Street Clinic Essential First Aid Kit online to save you the hassle of assembling yourself. We would recommend considering a medical pedicure upon your return. Treat our feet a little bit of TLC for taking you on an adventure of a lifetime.

We would encourage all those taking on the Inca trail adventure to consider booking a travel consultation with either myself or another of our specialist travel nurses. We all have extensive knowledge on what vaccines and health precautions you should take on an individual basis to remain healthy throughout your adventure. Chances are at least one of us has done a similar adventure so we can give you some first-hand experience on what to expect too!

Book your travel appointment today

By Anna Chapman |  Travel Nurse | July 2019

Do you need a Rabies Vaccine for your next trip?

19.05.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

The risk of rabies is still widely unknown to the general public.

If caught and symptoms develop, rabies is almost invariably fatal.

Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal and is present in over 150 countries worldwide. Up to 100 children die each day from rabies, and more than 55,000 people a year are killed from the disease, mainly in Asia and Africa.

If bitten or scratched by an infected animal you need to act quickly. Even with pre-travel vaccinations, a course of post-exposure vaccinations are required to prevent disease. If you haven’t had pre-travel vaccinations, the treatment is much more intense. If treatment is given correctly and promptly after exposure, then rabies can be cured but once symptoms develop, it is too late.

Some countries are deemed high-risk of rabies.

Considering this, it’s alarming when we experience resistance from travellers who feel this vaccination isn’t necessary for travel, especially if they are visiting a high risk location.

We feel so passionately that if you are travelling somewhere with a known risks of rabies it only seems sensible to protect yourself against it. Rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease, so make sure you get vaccinated before you travel.

For more information on rabies and travel health, visit our rabies page here.

The Fleet Street Clinic is passionate about travel. We have provided rabies vaccinations for over 20 years. Our team of expert travel medical professionals provide advice and detailed consultations to ensure you have a healthy trip.

You can book a travel consultation or rabies vaccination appointment online.

Travel Tips Thursday - Uzbekistan

19.04.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

Uzbekistan is home to spellbinding architecture and ancient cities. In terms of sights alone, Uzbekistan is Central Asia’s biggest draw and most impressive showstopper. Fabulous mosques, medressas and mausoleums are just some of the pulls for tourists when visiting Uzbekistan while more eccentric views can be seen at the fast disappearing Aral Sea and Nuratau Mountains.

Travel Nurse, Anna, shares her top tips on how to stay healthy during your trip to Uzbekistan.

Vaccinations

Ensure you are up-to-date with your travel vaccinations. The minimum advised for a trip to Uzbekistan is diphtheria tetanus and polio, and Hepatitis A. Typhoid, Hepatitis B and Rabies can be considered by some travellers. It is advisable to attend for a pre-travel assessment with a travel nurse 6-weeks before your trip as some vaccinations requires several injections to complete the course.

Food and water

Precautions against the dreaded traveller’s diarrhoea should be taken to prevent an upset stomach ruining your trip. Do not drink tap water in Uzbekistan, stick to bottled water or water that has been boiled. If you are trekking or visiting remote areas it’s a good idea to take either a water bottle with a filter or some chlorine dioxide tablets to make water safe to drink, should you not be able to find a shop with bottled water.

Sour milk dishes dominate the Uzbek cuisine. Cue caution if you want to try ‘kurt’, the famous fermented cheese balls. There is a risk of a bacterial disease called brucellosis that can be spread through unpasteurised dairy products such as cheese and milk.

Travelling further afield

Uzbekistan forms one of the countries on the old silk route. If you plan on a tour of the ‘Stans’ or attempting the whole Beijing to Istanbul route, you may need to consider other travel health precautions. Depending on your route, and also the time of year you intend to travel, you may wish to consider vaccinations against Tick-Borne Encephalitis and Japanese Encephalitis.

Altitude

Khazret Sultan, Uzbekistan’s highest peak stands at 4643m. Many popular walking and hiking routes such as Big Chimgan exceed over 3000m, making altitude related illnesses a hazard. Tips for reducing altitude sickness include a slow ascent route, keeping hydrated, ensuring that your sleeping altitude doesn’t exceed 500m per day. Diamox (acetazolamide) is a prescription medication that can reduce the symptoms of altitude related illness.

Book your travel appointment today

By Anna Chapman |  Travel Nurse | April 2019

Travel Tips Thursday- Holi Festival

19.02.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

Stay healthy at Holi

Holi is a famous spring Hindu festival that is celebrated in every part of India. It is known as the festival of colours and is mostly celebrated in March in Rajasthan.

The celebration signifies the beginning of spring beginning and the end of winter. It is sometimes known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love”. During the festival, it is encouraged to throw powdered paint (gulal) into the air. This symbolises the abundance of colours of spring and the celebration of a new season.

Here are top travel tips to stay healthy at Holi.

Don’t forget your travel vaccinations

Travellers going to India should ensure they are up-to-date with their travel vaccinations. These include Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio. Rabies, Hepatitis B and Japanese Encephalitis are sometimes suggested and are dependent on where you’re travelling to and the activities you plan to do there. A consultation with a travel nurse will provide you with all the information needed to make an informed decision either way.

You can find more about vaccinations on our travel and wellness vaccine pages.

Eat, drink and be merry…

India is food heaven but don’t let travellers diarrhoea turn it into a Holi holiday hell. Avoid tap water or ice from an unknown source. Ensure bottled water has an intact seal if buying from a vendor. Alternatively, invest in a water-to-go bottle which has a built-in filter making unsafe water safe to drink. You can pick one up during a travel appointment at the clinic whilst getting your vaccines.

Eat well-cooked food served piping hot, and avoid fruits and salad items that might have been washed in the local water. It is worth investing in a gastro medical kit which contains all the necessary medicines should you get sick at any point during your travels.

Colour vision…

Holi festival is synonymous with the throwing of coloured powder. Contact lens wearers should stick to their glasses during the festival so to avoid getting dye in their eyes. Any dye that makes its way into your eye could cause a chemical injury and lasting damage. If any powder does get in your eye, wash it well with clean running water.

Don’t let the dye stop the DEET.

Dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika, Japanese Encephalitis and even malaria can occur in parts of India. Therefore, banish the bugs bites by covering up as much as possible, wearing a good insect repellent with at least 50% DEET. See our Ultimate Bug Kit.

If you are trying to conceive, travelling to ‘at-risk countries’ is not advised.
For more information on the Zika virus and advise, you can speak to one our travel nurses during a travel consultation.

We’d always recommend for travellers to book a 30-minute travel consultation with a travel nurse prior to travelling to ensure all necessary vaccinations are given and any risks are discussed.

Book your travel appointment today

By Anna Chapman |  Travel Nurse | February 2019

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS DURING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY AT 35,000FT?

19.06.2018 Category: Travel Health Author: Dr Richard Dawood

Dr Richard Dawood, Medical Director of Fleet Street Clinic, was featured in an article published in The Telegraph:  Is there a doctor on board? What really happens during a medical emergency at 35,000 feet’.

The article discusses the issue of a medical emergency in the air, and Dr Dawood recounts some of his experiences where his medical expertise has been required during a flight.

Dr Richard Dawood Fleet Street Clinic The Telegraph
Dr Richard Dawood

 

Dr Dawood shares how he is happy to volunteer if a doctor is required, and details his experience of caring for a cabin crew member after she was taken ill during an 11 hour flight to Toyko.  As an eminent Travel Medicine specialist, Dr Dawood is accustomed to helping with all kinds of travel-related health issues both pre and post travel, and as the article demonstrates, sometimes during travel as well!

As founder of Fleet Street Clinic, Dr Dawood has developed a multidisciplinary medical practice with a strong focus on Travel Medicine. If you require a travel appointment, you can book online.

In the News: The Zika Virus and pregnancy

19.05.2018 Category: News Author: Dr Richard Dawood

The Zika Virus has been making headlines recently for it’s frightening links to rare birth defects. Brazil has even gone as far as to warn women to avoid falling pregnant whilst an epidemic is rife. The link between 400 cases of new-borns with microcephaly in the north-east of Brazil is being investigate by health authorities. 

The increase in microcephaly, a neurological disorder that stunts the growth of the baby’s cranium, limiting it to a circumference of less than 33cm, has increased in Brazil from 59 cases in 2014, rising to 1,248 cases throughout 2015. Typically, life expectancy for babies born with the condition is reduced. In 90% of cases, brain function is also reduced. There are currently no travel restrictions in affected areas.

How is the virus contracted?

The Zika virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Outbreaks have been seen across Africa, Asia, Central and South America.

What are the the symptoms and treatment?

The common symptoms, usually mild and often lasting from a few days to one week, can be a rash, fever, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. There is currently no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat the virus. Pain killers can be used to alleviate these symptoms which often go mistaken as a fever, and can easily be missed, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.

Is there a way to reduce my risk? 

Insect bite precautions is paramount, especially for pregnant women in the affected areas. The NHS travel website, Fit For Travel, recommends:

  • Covering up – wearing long sleeved tops and long trousers
  • Spraying thinner clothing with insect repellent
  • Burning pyrethroid coils and heating insecticide impregnated tablets
  • Sleeping in a screened room where possible or using a treated mosquito net

If you are travelling to Brazil or any of the infected areas, book an appointment with one of our dedicated Travel Clinic nurses for information on vaccines and travel wellbeing now on 020 7353 5678.

Zika Virus – Additional Resources
Zika virus: medical advice for travellers – The Telegraph – Richard Dawood

Zika Virus – Video
Watch Fleet Street Clinic’s Dr Richard Dawood discuss Zika Virus on Victoria Derbyshire.