Hello and welcome aboard!
Lots of us travel by way of air often enough to know the discomfort that can occur when we take to the skies. There are many reasons for this and I am here to help you understand and mitigate these effects!
1) Pressurization – The cabin altitude we normally fly at is approximately 8,000ft. This means there is less pressure to force oxygen into your lungs and you feel as if you are breathing air atop a high mountain. Breath slowly and deeply while onboard!
2) Humidity – Much of the air onboard that you are breathing is cycled both from the outside and inside air through a type of filter and compressor. It keeps the humidity low, approximately 4%, so you need to really drink good, hydrating water. Double your normal fluid consumption and try not to exacerbate the problem by drinking lots of alcohol and coffee!
3) Moisture – Because of the dryness of the air, bring hydrating eye drops, saline nose spray, face mists, hand cream, lip balm, etc. (preferably natural) to help restore your moisture balance. You will look and feel more refreshed when you are headed to your destination post flight!
4) Bloating – This comes from the pressurization effects along the with sodium from the foods you may be eating on the fly. Any air pockets in your body must be pressure equalized as well so many times we can get a bit blown up and gassy. Try to eat foods that will not make your stomach upset and stick to foods that put your stomach at ease!
5) Bacteria and Viruses – At the airport and in the airplane, we are exposed to all kinds of bugs like these. Always bring anti-bacterial wipes or gels with you to use on your hands. You can wipe areas down such as armrests and tray tables. Never fly with a head cold if you cannot clear your sinuses or ears!
6) Supplements – Because of the fatigue, stress, dehydration, and exposure, your immune system will take a hit. You want to take some vitamins and minerals a few days before and during your trip that include anti-oxidants, Vit C, Echinacea, Zinc, Magnesium, etc. in order to help boost your body. Try products such as Airborne, Zicam, or Emergen- C for immunity!
7) Stretch – Blood clots can be more of a factor when you take to the skies. Every hour you are onboard, tighten and relax each muscle in your body. Hold them tight for 10 seconds each then release. Stretch as best as you can in your seat, get up, and walk around if you can!
8) Rest – Flying can make you feel a bit rundown. Make sure you get plenty of good sleep before and during your trip. Take a catnap on the flight if you are tired and having a Zzzband or neck pillow will help!
9) Jet Lag – Changing time zones can really wreak havoc on our bodies. If your trip is for less than one week, try to stay on your original time zone body clock. Sleep and eat when your normally would if you can, so that you reduce the effects of having to change schedules. If you are gone for longer, try to slowly change your normal cycles by no more than 3 hours per day to go easy on your body!
10) Comfort Aids – Flying can be uncomfortable so bring those items that will help you feel at ease. This would include comfortable (but stylish please! no flip flops and sweat pants) clothing, ear plugs, ear phones (especially noise canceling), will really help reduce the effects of fatigue. Eye masks create the darkness you may need to calm in order to sleep. Bring toiletries such as toothbrush, small toothpaste, small deodorant, hair brush, lip aid, a pair of clean undies, a pair of clean socks, and essential medicines, etc. in case you encounter an unexpected long delay or overnight when you cannot get to your luggage!
11) Anxiety – The lack of control, being in a jet at high altitudes, and feeling trapped in close proximity to strangers can be disconcerting. Try to breath deeply and use a mental picture (or actual picture) you can look at which will help you feel happy and calm. Bring snacks and distractions such as books and movies you enjoy. Strike up a conversation with a seat neighbor and spread good vibes!
I wish you great health and successful flights! Thank you for flying with me! Blue Skies! Laura