Travel in general can be stressful for the human body. And air travel is no different. In fact it can be quite a challenge to stay healthy at 35,000 feet! We at Kritam have compiled this list of 5 problems you may face and tips on how to stay healthy despite them. Here are the 5 best tips for staying healthy when traveling by air, take a look.
1. Blocked Ears/Ear Pain: For our ears to feel normal, air pressure on the outside and on the inside need to be in balance. When we fly our change in altitude is extremely rapid. This doesn’t give the air pressure enough time to equalize, causing pain or blocked ears. To counter this feeling you need to introduce as much air as possible into the ear. Thus, people suggest chewing gum, swallowing and yawning. Often these actions are followed by a popping sound in the ear. This indicates that an air bubble has moved into the ear canal.
2. Leg Cramps: Sitting in one position for too long can take its toll on your legs. Muscle tightening, aching and in some cases swelling of the legs can occur. Frequent air travel can increase your risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) where a blood clot could develop due to poor circulation. Doing simple exercises like ankle flexes, rotating your feet and walking around (if possible) can prevent this. Avoiding coffee and alcohol and wearing compression stockings is also recommended.
3. Dizziness: Aircraft cabins are roughly pressurized to the equivalent of climbing a mountain. i.e. – The amount of Oxygen you receive is around the same as you would if you were climbing a mountain on foot. Implying, that this is much less than what your body is used too. This lack of Oxygen in the blood causes fatigue, headaches and dizziness. The only way to prevent this is by staying hydrated and taking a series of deep breaths every half an hour or so.
4. Dryness: The air in an aircraft is extremely dry. Humidity levels can drop as low to 4%, stripping the body of up to 1.5litres of water, if not more! Sipping water through your flight will help, also avoiding caffeine and alcohol. Apply moisturizer before boarding the flight. It will help avoid dryness. Also if you are travelling in the day, apply a good sunscreen lotion, since you are going to be much closer to the sun. Eye drops can provide some relief for tired eyes.
5. Infection: Aircrafts like any other form of public transport are carriers of a number of bacteria. The difference with aircrafts however is that the air you breathe is being re-circulated through the duration of the flight. It is therefore common for people to have developed a cold after a flight. The only way to combat this is to ensure that you are physically fit before boarding your flight. It also helps to sanitize your seat and avoid touching your face through the flight.
Air travel also causes a number of subtle changes that are not as obvious. Things like a change in your food tastes or an increase in anxiety, gas, bloating and even sleepiness. The best way to stay healthy while travelling by air is to preempt what may affect you. Carry useful items like ear plugs, eye masks, cough drops, disinfectant wipes and wet tissues (As long as they are allowed on the aircraft).
If you feel you are susceptible to illness, make sure you are well-rested and have eaten well before take-off. If you have a health condition, speak to your doctor. S/he may prescribe some mild medication.
We believe you must live healthy and travel healthy. Have a good flight!