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Major causes of incapacitation in flight could be..
  • A
    smoking, acute medical condition, lack of sleep and stress.
  • B
    gastrointestinal upset, stress, hypoxia and fatigue.
  • C
    decompression sickness, high cabin temperature and fever.
  • D
    drunkenness, fatigue, poor diet and headache.

Incapacitation can occur gradually or suddenly, ranging from mild to very severe. While causes are many, steps can be taken to identify and minimize risk factors.

  • The most common causes of sudden incapacitation are gastrointestinal (stomach and bowel) problems, such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Heart problems and fainting are the main causes of serious incapacitation. Complaints of chest pain (often confused with indigestion), weakness, palpitation or nausea should be taken seriously.
  • Subtle incapacitation is most commonly caused by hypoxia, hypoglycemia, extreme fatigue and stress, alcohol, drugs or other toxic substances. 

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