Flight health

Air travel is an almost unavoidable part of modern international travel. Unless you can afford first class seats, you will have to deal with cramped conditions, which can make for an uncomfortable flight on a long journey. However, you can alleviate some of the discomforts and avoid deep vein thrombosis. A comfortable flight is a healthy flight, so take our advice as you take to the skies.

Stay hydrated during your flight

The dry air in aeroplane cabins is well-known. Apply lip balm and moisturiser to your lips and skin, and drink plenty of safe water. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages should be avoided because they can exacerbate dehydration. Think again if you’re hoping to avoid trips to the toilet by limiting your fluid intake. Those walks up and down the cabin are actually beneficial because they can lower your risk of…

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Thinking about a potentially fatal condition like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is unlikely to make your flight more comfortable, but air travellers on long-haul flights should be aware of the symptoms.

DVT, a potentially fatal blood clot in the leg, may have no symptoms. However, when they do occur, they include calf pain. This is often a heavy ache that worsens when you bend your foot up towards your knee. Some people get red skin at the back of the leg below the knee, and warm skin near the clot.

Consult a doctor if you suspect you have a DVT. Do not put it off until you get home.

What air travel habits will help me avoid deep vein thrombosis?

Adding a layover to your journey can help reduce your risk of DVT because it will break a long flight into two shorter flights. Wearing fitted flight stockings, staying hydrated, and taking a walk up and down the cabin every hour or so can help reduce your risk of DVT.

How to avoid jet lag

Jet lag is a sleep pattern disruption caused by travel. Insomnia at night and being sleepy or tired during the day are symptoms, as are nausea and loss of appetite. Some people experience constipation and other bowel issues if they have jet lag. And they can feel generally unwell.

You may be able to tolerate the time zone change better if you plan a leisurely journey. Give yourself plenty of time for each leg of the journey and rest well before you leave.

The other in-flight wellness tips in this article will also help you reduce stress and avoid jetlag. Breaking a long journey with a layover may help. A 45-minute nap at your regular bedtime on a flight can also be beneficial.

Allow yourself a few days to recover before diving right into the new routine by eating and sleeping at local times rather than when your body tells you to.

Maintain your comfort level during your flight

Dress comfortably for your flight. Tight waistbands can be uncomfortable after a few hours, so choose loose, thin layers over bulky clothing. You may become too hot or too cold during the flight, and you can easily remove or add thin layers as needed. If you have cold feet, don’t forget to bring some warm socks. You can further control your environment by using an eye mask and ear plugs to block out unwanted light and noise.

See NHS Fit for Travel’s Air Travel Advice for more ideas.

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