Tips To Help You Stay Healthy When You Fly

The word “flying” brings up several different thoughts in people. Some might think about the experience of sitting next to the aisle and looking at the clouds. Others might think of airplane food or elbow fights with the person they’re sharing an armrest with. Most frequent fliers might think about how much sleep they’re going to catch up on during the flight.

One thing that almost all of us tend to miss out on is our health on airplanes, despite the fact that we’re clearly affected by it. By incorporating a few tips in your travel, you can avoid all the things that affect your health. Here are 6 of these tips.

1. Stay Hydrated

Cabin air conditioners eliminate most of the moisture from the air. And, 3 hours into the flight, the humidity drops by 10–20%. This causes dryness in the throat and mouth. It is hence important that you drink water throughout the course of the flight.1 Additionally, people who are traveling with children should ensure that they have oral rehydration solutions with them to prevent their child from getting dehydrated.2

2. Move Around

Prolonged sitting in cramped spaces leads to blood clots in the deep veins of our lower limbs, causing our legs to swell. These blood clots may also get formed in the veins. This condition is called deep vein thrombosis and can lead to serious lung problems. Risk factors that might increase the chances of developing this condition include

  • Previous history of blood clots
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Use of estrogen-containing birth control or hormone replacement therapy
  • Obesity
  • Active cancer
  • Current or recent pregnancy
  • Old age
  • Recent surgery or hospitalization

In order to avoid this condition (even if you don’t have any of the above risk factors), be sure to ask for an aisle seat so you can move around regularly. Additionally, you could go for extra legroom and stretch your legs while you’re sitting.3

3. Eat Smart

Airplane food might not be the best options at all times. Case studies point to the possibility of intestinal and respiratory infections. So, it might be best to carry your own food when you’re flying.4

Additionally, if you have motion sickness, be sure to avoid eating 3 hours before the flight and eat only small portions throughout the flight. The latter is important for people who suffer from nausea and vomiting as well. Make sure to avoid carbonated beverages which worsen the symptoms of motion sickness.5

4. Wear A Mask

If you’re traveling during the flu season, it’s highly possible for you to come down with an infection yourself. Most airplanes pump 50% fresh and 50% recirculated air into the cabin. The engines have very high temperatures that kill any bugs or infections that may be present in the cabin.

But, despite the fresh air supply, you might be at risk of contamination, especially if someone in your row is sick. So, it might be a good idea to carry a mask with you at all times that you can wear in flight.6

5. Swallow Regularly

One of the most common problems that people encounter on flights is ear pain and blockage. This can get particularly bad if you have a sinus problem.

This middle ear and sinuses are filled with air and should always be at the same pressure as outside air. However, during rapid ascents and descents, the outside pressure changes more rapidly than the one inside.

This makes it important for air to travel through narrow passages in your nose and throat to get to your sinuses and ears, leading to the “pop” that we feel. In worse cases, this can cause pain, dulled hearing, dizziness, buzzing in the ears, or sinus and ear infections. To avoid this, chew gum throughout the flight, or simply swallow a lot.7

6. Listen To Music

Stress is a common, underrated health condition that people experience during flying. Apart from ensuring that you’ve got all the documents you need along with back up money, sit back and relax while listening to music. This will help take some of the stress off of any delays as well.8

Besides these, make sure to get plenty of sleep before your trip to avoid jet lag. You could also set your watch to the time in your destination to get used to that specific time zone. Additionally, stay hydrated before, during, and after your flight.9 These few simple tips can help making flying a more pleasant experience for you.

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