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Stay Healthy While Flying

The Ultimate in Safety, Service and Satisfaction

Flying may be a convenient mode of transportation, but because hundreds of strangers share a very small amount of space, there is always a risk of becoming ill. The reality is that the environment of an airplane cabin is unhealthy. Not only are there challenges relating to cabin pressure at cruising altitude and diminished humidity, there are germs everywhere.

The best way to stay healthy while flying is to be healthy. Although anyone can become ill, usually people who eat right, exercise, and drink plenty of water are at less risk compared to those who do not follow a healthy lifestyle.

Making Good Choices

Beyond starting out healthy before boarding a plane, there are other things to consider that can keep you from getting sick. For example, avoid any foods that could cause indigestion, bloating, gas, heartburn, or jet lag. By sticking to certain fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and lean proteins, you will be healthier during the flight.

Additional suggestions for staying healthy while flying include the following:

  • Water – As mentioned, there is significantly reduced humidity in airplane cabins, so it is important to stay hydrated before and during the flight. With lower humidity, mucous membranes dry out, making it hard for the body to flush out germs. To avoid the high cost of buying bottled water at the airport, you might consider taking an empty bottle through security, which can then be filled at drinking fountains and on the plane when needed.

  • Restroom Break – If possible, you want to avoid using an onboard restroom. Of all the places inside a plane, this is the one most riddled with germs. In addition to microorganisms being all over surfaces, many are airborne. Therefore, always use the airport restroom as opposed to the one on the plane.

  • Washing Hands – A primary reason that people get a cold or the flu after traveling has to do with from touching their eyes. Again, with a low humidity level, eyes tend to dry out. The natural thing for people to do is rub them, but in doing so, germs are transmitted. To avoid getting sick, be sure to wash your hands often and avoid rubbing your eyes.

  • Personal Comfort – Another way to stay healthy while flying is to bring your own personal blanket and pillow. Multiple studies have been performed to determine the level of germs on airplane blankets and pillows, and the results were shocking. Remember, these items are not washed after every flight, so you could easily rest your head and cover your body with an item used by someone who was horribly ill.

  • Ear Pain – For many people, ear pain is a real problem while a plane ascends and descends. To avoid getting what experts call “airplane ear,” suck on hard candy or chew gum during takeoff and landing. Sometimes, swallowing and yawning also helps. What happens is that the Eustachian tubes responsible for draining the ears do not regulate pressure on the eardrum. As a result, the eardrum does not vibrate, which leads to severe pain. By taking the appropriate measures, the Eustachian tubes open up.

  • Congestion – With a dry environment coupled with recirculating air, moisture is drawn from the tissues in the nose and mouth. When this happens, the body’s defense system is compromised. To avoid congestion while flying, use nasal saline spray prior to the flight. If you are already congested, an oral decongestant taken approximately 30 minutes before takeoff will help.

Posted on Jul 15 2015

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