The Surprising Impact of Flying on Your Health

Air travel is now more popular than ever, with many travelling monthly, weekly and even daily. While its great fun to get away on holiday every now and again, an airplane cabin is not the healthiest environment.

Dr. Ryan Harvey from House Call Doctor breaks down his top 5 tips to stay healthy while flying:

  1. Stay Hydrated

It is easy to become dehydrated during a flight, so ensure you are drinking plenty of water to keep your fluid levels up.

Water will help ensure toxins are flushed out of your system.  It is also especially important to drink water if you plan on drinking alcohol on the flight since alcohol dehydrates your body.

Not drinking and retaining enough water can make you feel fatigue, headaches and nausea, and aeroplanes are the perfect environment for draining you of all moisture.

So, make sure you pack a bottle and fill it after you go through security or buy a bottle afterwards.

  1. Eat well

One of the best things to do before a flight is to eat before you leave home before you tempt yourself with the highly processed and unhealthy food offered at airports.

Additionally, eat more fruit due to the fact it’s a good source of hydration and healthy sugars. Oranges particularly are a tasty source of vitamin C which helps boost your immune system and keeps you hydrated.

While on the plane, some flights offer meals, however you take the risk of the meal being under nourished and something you may not like. To avoid these issues, it is best to pack your own healthy snacks but be aware of any restrictions of what you can and cannot take on board.

  1. Keep moving
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While it may seem difficult, it is important to keep moving on any flight to prevent stiffness, pressure wounds and aching muscles. Movement encourages blood flow and loosens up muscles which is also vital for avoiding circulatory conditions, like DVT.

One of the best tips to aid movement is book the aisle seat- therefore you no longer must be crawling over other passengers.

While it is best to physically get up and walk around the plane, simple stretches can also aid blood flow for example flexing and relaxing your calf muscles or rolling your ankles.

  1. Clean your area

WIPE DOWN EVERYTHING! Airplanes are known for germs with the enclosed space, recycled air and the number of passengers which pass through.  While modern day technology air filters have helped reduce the number of microscope viruses and bacteria it is still best to ensure your personal hygiene. Always carry hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes when travelling to ensure the area you are sitting, and most likely eating are free form any harmful bacteria.

  1. Chew gum

Airplane ear is a painful sensation within your inner ear which often occurs as the plane ascends or descends. In order to minimises the pain felt from this it is a good idea to chew gum. Chewing gum and even yawning relieves the pressure in your eustachian tube (middle ear) allowing air to flow freely and quickly.