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Must-Have Health Tips for Frequent Fliers

By Krista Elliott

A colleague of mine flew out to London last night. My mom's friend just left for Spain. While I might not be heading any farther than the grocery store at this point in my life, it's not out of the question to think that another flight will be in my future at some point. 

And while there is a LOT to grumble about when it comes to commercial flying (the cramped seating, the inconvenient scheduling, and the long security lines come to mind), you can't deny that it's often the fastest or, in the case of overseas, only feasible way to get from point A to point B. 

One problem, though, is that flying can do serious damage to your health. So if you fly often, or will be heading out on a long-haul flight soon, pay special heed. 

Health Tips for Frequent Fliers

  • Move Your Legs — A major risk when flying, especially for long periods, is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which blood clots form in the legs due to lack of movement. This condition can be life-threatening, so it's something you want to avoid at all costs. Make sure to get up and stretch every couple of hours. Engaging your calf muscles by tapping your feet will also help keep the blood from pooling in your legs. 
  • Water, Water Everywhere — Cabin air is about 10 percent  drier than the air in your house, leading to parched skin and a dehydrated body. Drinking plenty of fluids will help stave off the negative effects of dehydration. As well, because it'll make you need to use the washroom more, you'll have an even better excuse to get up and stretch those legs every couple of hours. For a bigger boost, drink ginger tea; it will help quell any travel-related nausea and also boosts circulation. Don't forget your skin; a rich cream and lip balm applied before takeoff will help keep you from looking like the Crypt Keeper once the landing gear comes back down.
  • No Flying in a Hazmat Suit, Sorry — Planes, with their recirculated air, are a veritable petri dish. Add in the fact that your tray table may have been used as a diaper-changing table during its last flight, and it's no wonder people get sick while flying. A pack of disinfectant wipes for your hands, armrests, and tray table will go a long way toward keeping illness at bay. 
  • If It's Tuesday ... Where am I? — Jet lag is completely unavoidable. The human body was just not designed to skip multiple time zones in less than a day. But jet lag can be managed. Rest on your flight if you can, and when you arrive, stay awake until a reasonable, but early local bedtime (like 8 or 9 p.m. local time). 

Flying isn't always fun, but by protecting your health, you can at least make it as pleasant as possible. 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.


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