COVID-19 FAQ #16: Is it safe for myeloma patients to travel by airplane?

Question: Is it safe for myeloma patients to travel by airplane? 

Continuing his COVID-19 FAQ series, Dr. Brian G.M. Durie discusses if it is safe for myeloma patients to travel by airplane while the COVID-19 infection continues to remain a concern.

Air travel is not safe, especially for myeloma patients.

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Videos in the COVID-19 Series


This week’s “Ask Dr. Durie” is coming from many individuals, actually, many patients and many caregivers, who want to know, “is it safe to travel by air at this time when there is active COVID-19 infection in the community?”  

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no. Despite all kinds of precautions at the airport, and in the airplane, and all aspects of air travel, there are many aspects where there is still a risk particularly to a myeloma patient who is more vulnerable to the COVID-19 infection.  

And so, even with the protections on the plane and wearing a mask, etcetera, it’s really a risk, which may be not as high as a number of other circumstances, but, it’s high enough that it’s something that you should really avoid unless you have a really urgent need to travel.     

And so, for vacation and other travel needs, a big focus should be to travel in approximately five hundred miles, for example, where you can go on a trip by car, a personal car is the way to go, where you can control the surfaces in terms of cleaning and hygiene, you are aware of the status of you family members, and friends, and to stick with that.  

And so, unfortunately for the time being, air travel is not an ideal choice and should really be limited except for a significant emergency.  


Image of Dr. Brian G.M. DurieDr. Brian G.M. Durie serves as Chairman of the International Myeloma Foundation and serves on its Scientific Advisory Board. Additionally, he is Chairman of the IMF's International Myeloma Working Group, a consortium of nearly 200 myeloma experts from around the world. Dr. Durie also leads the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative®.


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