Fliers' Survival Guide for Airports, Planes
Taking some simple precautions can help ensure a safe and healthy arrival.
The air on the plane is very dry, so it is important to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water. The benefits are exponential. "This also will assure that you get up and pee," Zimring says.
"Moving your legs by walking to and from the bathroom can help prevent 'economy class syndrome,' also known as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots in your legs that develop after long flights," says Zimring, who wrote Healthy Travel: Don't Travel Without It. Remember to buy the water after you pass through security or risk confiscation.
Drinking water can help prevent DVT, but if you are at high risk for these blood clots, other precautions are needed.
"If you are over 60, obese, pregnant, have a history of heart disease, have had surgery on a lower extremity within the last several weeks, have varicose veins, or a history of these blood clots, see your doctor or a travel doctor, especially if the flight is longer than two hours," Zimring says.
Compression hose may help reduce your risk of DVT while you fly. "Exercises, such as keeping your feet flat on the ground and bringing your heel up and down, can also improve circulation," Zimring says.
You should also skip the mile-high happy hour. It's best to avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine while flying. "Alcohol is dehydrating and so is caffeine and so is the air on the plane," Zimring says. "You are better off drinking plain water."
Manage Motion Sickness
Motion sickness can happen, and most planes still provide air-sickness bags in seat pockets. Some over-the-counter motion sickness products can help, Powell says. Ginger supplements or ginger ale may also help prevent nausea.
"Take these before you start feeling sick," Powell says. "Don't eat a heavy or spicy meal before you fly."
The more turbulent the flight, the greater your risk of feeling ill. Motion sickness occurs when there is a disconnect between what your body is feeling and what your eyes are seeing. Keeping your eyes on the horizon may help.
Most planes no longer provide free meals, but many do offer snacks. "Pick up a plain turkey or vegetable sandwich," Zimring says. "This way you know you will have a decent meal instead of the junk they serve you or you can buy." Healthy eating also helps prevent motion sickness.