If you have a long flight coming up, you don’t have time to be sick or deal with health-related illnesses when you land. Unfortunately, long flights can sometimes lead to illnesses. Here are four ways you can stay healthier when flying for long periods of time:
Concentrate on your breathing. Breathing pressurized cabin air can be like breathing at high altitudes, and you may experience many of the same symptoms, such as shortness of breath and dizziness. There’s also less humidity in the air, which can also make it more difficult to breathe. Concentrate on your breathing while in flight. Try taking longer, deeper, slower breaths to ensure you’re getting enough oxygen.
Stretch, flex, and move. Blood can pool in your extremities if you stay seated for a long time. This is especially true when you’re in a pressurized cabin and your body isn’t processing oxygen as well. Lack of movement can lead to a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), dangerous blood clots in the legs. To help keep your blood flowing, stretch often, especially your calves. Tap or flex your feet to keep the blood flowing, and try to get up and move around the cabin often. Some experts even suggest wearing compression socks to help reduce the likelihood of DVT.
Eat properly before and during flights. You should not eat a big meal just before or during a flight because your body has a harder time digesting food when in flight. It’s a better idea to eat smaller meals, and try to stick with warm food as it stimulates digestion. Also, pack some healthy snacks like raw almonds or fresh fruit, and avoid alcohol and caffeine before and during a flight.
Stay hydrated. Do you ever feel parched after a long plane ride? It’s because the recirculated air in airplane cabins has lower humidity than the air on land. This means that not only does your body get dehydrated on the inside but it also gets dehydrated on the outside. Drink lots of water during long flights, but also remember to keep your eyes, nose, and skin hydrated. Bring along moisturizer, a saline nasal spray, and eye drops to ensure that you don’t land all dried out.
Even long, private flights can be hard on your health. With a little planning, you can reduce the amount of stress on your body during a long flight so that you can keep moving when you land.