How to Stay Healthy on Long Flights
Now that the cold and flu season is here, travelling on long airplane rides can be risky if you don’t want to catch one of those seasonal ‘bugs’. The physical toll our bodies go through as we sit in small seats, breath dry cabin air, all the while packed in like ‘sardines in a tin’ means that we need to prepare ourselves to avoid stress and illness.
First and foremost, a few days prior to your flight, load up on Vitamin C to boost your immune system. It is true that the volume of germs on a plane is staggering, so give your body an added edge. Also, be as rested as possible and try and get extra sleep before your flight. Sleeping on airplanes is rarely a good, deep sleep, and it’s often interrupted by airplane noise and communication from the flight attendants or pilots.
Make sure you stay hydrated throughout your flight. Stick with water, herbal teas and avoid caffeine. Avoid over- indulging in alcohol, however tempting that may be! Purchase your own bottled water after the security check and bring it on the plane with you so you won’t have to keep asking the flight attendants for refills. Frequent travellers also recommend drinking Gatorade as it helps to maintain your electrolyte balance.
Sitting for long periods of time is never a good idea; however, there are limited options when you are on a long flight. So make sure you get up and walk the aisles in between meals and don’t forget to stretch to keep your blood flowing while preventing body aches. Sitting in an aisle seat means you can get up at your leisure without disturbing your fellow seatmates.
When you are sitting, create your own little world by packing good earphones, eyeshades, an iPad or iPod with your favourite music, videos and books. Don’t concentrate solely on work, but use this time to catch up on other pursuits that you have been missing. Think of these next several hours as “me” time – it will help make the time ‘fly’!
Finally, wash your hands often. Use a hand sanitizer and never touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless your hands are thoroughly clean. This is the best way to avoid those germs that thrive in airplanes. And if at all possible, secure a seat near the front of the plane. The air in the front portion of the cabin is cleaner, and let’s face it, it’s nice to be one of the first passengers off the plane with your long flight is over!