Flying can really wreak havoc to our bodies. Here are 13 health tips to get you to your destination feeling more refreshed.
13 tips to a healthier flying experience
Long haul flights can leave all of us feeling like we’ve just had a big night out in town. We get the usual hung over symptoms: sore throat, headaches, dehydration, dizziness and even exploding eardrums. It can also give us the usual thought that pops into our head on a hung-over Sunday “I should’ve just stayed home”.
Low oxygen levels, humidity and sudden changes of pressure really messes with our finely tuned bodies. Here are a few expert tips to help you fly smart.
Dealing with pressure
Cabins are pressurised to mimic an altitude of roughly 7,000 feet. Still, this can cause oxygen levels to dive, which can leave most of us feeling the effects after a couple of hours. This can cause fatigue, brain fog as well as headaches and dizziness.
- If you have a pre-existing condition, it’s best to go see a doctor before flying.
- As much as it pains me, one of these tips is not to partake in the alcoholic beverages on board because it makes your cells less efficient at absorbing oxygen and dehydrate you faster.
- Quit smoking. Smoking depletes oxygen levels by eight percent.
- Choose to fly on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner – they have higher air pressure and humidity levels and fewer pollutants
On your seat
No one likes to sit in an upright, narrow chair, for hours on end, but it cal also be dangerous, especially for older passengers who suffer poor circulation. There’s increased risk of developing blood clots in the veins of your legs. It also doesn’t help your blood oxygen levels because the blood pools in your legs and feet, that stops efficient circulation of oxygenated blood around the body and brain which can cause dizziness or even fainting.
- Walk up and down the aisles and do some small exercises – we’ve all seen the exercise guides in in-flight magazines and entertainment systems. Give them a go – you may look silly but it’s a lot less silly than getting deep vein thrombosis
- Compression stockings help prevent blood collecting in the lower limbs
- The Aviation Health Institute recommends taking low-dose aspirin (100 – 150 mg) the day before flying, during the flight and for three days after to improve blood flow by thinning the blood and making it less likely to clot.
- If possible try to wear loose fitting clothing in breathable fabrics, as well as not constricting veins or blood flow, you’ll also be extra comfortable.
Hoping that this doesn’t scare you but, the average passenger that will feel equivalent to descending at roughly 350 feet a minute, as you drop from the pressurised cabin level of 7,000 feet to zero in about twenty minutes. As a result your ears pop and can hurt like hell. The reason? Eustachian tubes inside the ear are opening and closing, trying to balance and match the changing pressure inside your ear with that outside your head.
- Yawn, chew gum, suck on some lollies or swallow to open the Eustachian tubes
- If that doesn’t work, try the Valsalva Manouevers, this was shown to me by a helpful flight attendant when I was a child. Hold your nose, keep your mouth shut and forcefully exhale.
- Make sure you are awake during landing ready to do both points above.
- You could also go the medical route and take a prescription decongestant or antihistamine on the day of and before flying.
- There’s also air pressure regulating ear plus that you can purchase which slows the rate of air pressure on the eardrum.
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