Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Impact of the Jet Engine

Long-range jumbo jets have made it possible to fly nonstop from New York to Tokyo, from Sydney to San Francisco. With the deregulation of the airline industry, jet travel suddenly became affordable to the masses. Frequent flyer programs designed to reward business travelers have created an entire population of leisure travelers ready to take advantage of the next fare war. The result?

  • More patients entering Emergency Rooms for treatment of barotitis.

  • More patients entering Emergency Rooms for treatment of allergic reactions to shellfish and foods they have eaten in restaurants.

  • More patients exposed to germs from passengers who shared the same flight.

  • More patients whose chronic health problems have been exacerbated by partying a little too heartily while on vacation.

  • More accidents due to the effects of jet lag on the nervous system.

  • More patients at risk for sexually-transmitted diseases. (In his book entitled And The Band Played On, journalist Randy Shilts hypothesized that the initial spread of AIDS was hastened by the voracious sexual appetite of a gay male flight attendant known as "Patient Zero.")

Next: The Growing Influence of Mass Media

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