If you’re a person who is constantly flying for work, chances are you’ve experienced the displeasure of getting a cold or flu after your flight. While airplanes are an extremely convenient and fast way to get from one place to another, they can be very unhealthy environments. Luckily, there are ways to prevent yourself from suffering. Here are a few tips for staying healthy on an airplane.
1) Stay hydrated.
Because of the altitude and low humidity, airplanes are extremely dehydrating environments. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before and during your flight. One way to make sure you stay hydrated is to prepare beforehand by bringing an empty water bottle to the airport. You can’t bring liquids through security, but if you bring an empty water bottle and fill it whenever you can, your health has a greater chance staying in tip-top shape.
2) Don’t drink alcohol before boarding the plane.
If you’re a nervous flyer or you just want to socialize at the airport, it can be tempting to grab a few drinks at the airport bar before your flight. However, alcohol is very dehydrating, and when you’re going to be in a low-humidity environment like the plane, you’re going to be feeling pretty dehydrated already. Dehydration lowers your resistance to cold and flu germs. Your immune system is also suppressed when you drink. If you want to go to the bar, drink some seltzer water and increase your chances of arriving at your destination feeling healthy.
3) Be active.
If you’re on a long flight, one risk you have to watch out for is developing leg clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The risk of DVTs increases during long periods of immobility, such as time spent sitting on a plane with minimal leg room. Dehydration and low cabin pressure can also cause leg clots. Trying to create situation in which your muscles are contracting your legs are moving. Don’t do any strenuous exercise such as deep knee bends, but it’s a good idea to contract your calf muscles.
4) Pack your own blanket and pillow.
You’ll probably want to get some sleep on the plane, and to stay comfortable, you’ll want a blanket and pillow. There aren’t many airlines that give out blankets and pillows anymore because they harbor germs, but if your airline hands them out, it’s a good idea to forgo those amenities for your own.
5) Prevent dry eyes.
In a dehydrating environment like an airplane, passengers are bound to suffer from dry eyes. While dry eyes may not seem like a huge cause for alarm, people are more likely to rub their eyes when they are dry. Touching your eyes is one of the main ways that cold and flu viruses are transmitted. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before boarding your flight. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently and try to limit the number of times you touch your eyes.
Airplanes can be a difficult environment for even the toughest immune system. Take these precautions to make sure you land feeling just as healthy as you were when you took off.