Flight Survival 101
Air travel is probably one of the most incredible forms of transportation we have. Being able in one day or less to be on the other side of the world or in a completely different hemisphere is incredible. Air travel has not only become one of the most popular forms of travel, but also one of the safest. However, flying can cause health discomforts and issues, especially on your longer flights. Here is a list of the top issues plaguing passengers and what you can do to combat them.
It is highly unlikely that are bodies will become seriously dehydrated while flying. However, due to the drop in humidity levels that our bodies are most comfortable with we will experience symptoms such as dry eyes (especially for contact wearers) and dry throat. While the dryness resulting from the lower humidity levels in the plane is a discomfort, it can also leave us more prone to infection.
To prevent flying dehydration drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Try to avoid the coffee, tea, and alcohol which all have a diuretic effect, unless you plan to balance with additional water consumption. Don't make avoiding a trip to the loo prevent you from keeping hydrated. You will also feel less tired and less prone to any jet lag when your body is properly hydrated.
Airplane cabins are a perfect germ breeding ground. Lots of people from all walks of life in an enclosed space with recycled air.
To stay healthy in close quarters there are a few things you can do…
- Boost your immune system before you go with Vitamin C or an immunity booster such as Airborne.
- Use hand sanitizer. You can get one of the little travel sizes to take with you in your carry-on and use before eating or drinking.
- Use the air vent above you to help blow germs away from your inhalation. Set the vent to low or medium so you can feel the air flow on your hands in your lap. The vent will create a current to help blow anything away from your immediate space.
The change in altitude and the pressurization of the cabin can wreak havoc on your inner ear. It actually has been appropriately been give the name airplane ear. This same issue can be experienced when you are swimming/diving or driving up into the higher altitudes of the mountains.
To help relieve the pressure or clogged feeling of the ear there are several approaches. Swallowing or yawning can help ease the discomfort because it allows air flow to the middle ear, thus equalizing pressure. Chewing gum often helps to facilitate the same effect during take-off and landing. And of course, back to our fluids, if you a drinking your water, you are swallowing, so you solve two issues at once. Last, you can take a sinus decongestant like Sudafed before flying to dry up the mucus membranes.
Leg and foot swelling is common during flying and usually harmless. It is often the result of sitting inactive for such a long period of time, especially on your long haul overseas flights. The bent seated position of your legs also contributes to the issue by increasing pressure on your veins.
Swelling can become an issue if it lasts for a long time and is isolated to one side or the other. In this case you may need to worry about a more serious condition such as a blood clot. There is higher risks for clotting if you have recently had major surgery or take birth control pills. In such cases as this, you should consult your physician before flying as he may prescribe medication or suggest the wearing of compression stockings.
For the average flyer, here is a list of things to do during your flight to relieve swelling…
- Wear loose fitting clothing
- Get up and walk every hour or so
- Do foot exercises while sitting where you flex, extend, and rotate the ankle
- Change your position in seating often and avoid crossing your legs
- Drink plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol
Be mindful of your body, before, during, and after travel! No one wants to start their long awaited vacation feeling sick. Following a few simple tips and being prepared for your time in the air will make a more joyous you upon arrival.
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, and WI. She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide ride of leisure vacation planning.