With an ever-increasing competitive market in the airline industry, cost cuts are being made by the airlines to ensure your fares stay low, and this sometimes means smaller seats and uncomfortable bodies both during and after the flights.
We have all experienced this, getting squashed up in a fetal position with a larger boned person sitting next to you, and then they snore or sweat. Where do you go? What do you do? Pretend you are asleep until the flight ends? So what happens to our bodies in the air and are there things that we can do to ensure we can enjoy our destination without this jet lag.
Air environments are pressurised and this means you are breathing in less oxygen and also filtered air. Unless your body adjusts to the faster breathing rate to get more oxygen, you can feel tired, and in some cases the lack of oxygen may contribute to DVT or deep vein thrombosis - a condition where blood clots develop in the legs.
Humidity levels can be less than 25% which means your body becomes dehydrated resulting in the slight headaches, light-headedness, sore throats, coughing, dry lips and dry or watery eyes most of which are also due to a lack of fresh air.
As an airplane pressurizes and decompresses, some passengers will also experience discomfort as trapped gasses within their bodies expand or contract in response to the changing cabin pressure. Some common problems occur when gas is trapped in the gastrointestinal tract, the middle ear and the paranasal sinuses, which can also cause headaches and nausea. Crossing time zones can also throw out your biological clock so give youself time to adjust.
Simple tips -
• Adjust to the pressurized cabin air from the beginning. To equalize pressure, air must enter or escape through the Eustachian tube. Many people do this by blocking their nose and mouth and blowing lightly which will equalise this pressure. Swallowing, yawning, chewing gum or sucking a lolly can also help this.
• Drink lots of water before, during and after your flight which helps to rehydrate your body, give you more oxygen and help reduce jet lag. Try replacing alcohol, tea and coffee which further dehydrate you with a water or a juice.
• Moisturize and lip balm to protect and rehydrate the skin
• Wear glasses instead of contacts to avoid eye irritation from dehydration
• Deep breathing techniques before and after the flight in an area that has lots of fresh air and oxygen.
• Have a hot steamy shower when you land
• Carry your inhaler if you are asthmatic
• Use a nasal decongestant 30 minutes prior to flight if you suffer sinus problems
• Stand up and move around every hour to increase circulation and lymphatics – exercises should include drawing circles with your ankles and wrists, pumping your feet up and down, knee lifts and pull knee to chest, neck rolls, shoulder rolls, stretching the legs by touching the floor
• Get a good night sleep before your flight
• Give yourself time to adjust to new time zone – normally one day
• Brisk walk and deep breathing when you get to your destination
• If you are prone to motion sickness try focusing on a point which doesn’t move and this will help to minimise the fluid movement in the vestibular apparatus of the inner ear.
It is recommended not to fly or seek medical advice before booking a flight if
• You have a cold – with inflammation of the middle ear and sinus congestion it can lead to pain but also it is courteous not to give others in the cabin your cold.
• Tooth infections, which can lead to excruciating pain as pressure decreases and the air expands.
• Serious conditions like pneumothorax, heart and lung disease, other respiratory problems, recent heart attack, those prone to DVT or clotting problems
• People with heart or lung disease should consult their GP to measure their oxygen saturation. If it is already low, then patients will know it could drop to problematic levels and they could tell the airline they will need oxygen during the flight.
• Medical research indicates factors increasing the risk of DVT – family history of DVT, recent surgery or injury in lower limb or abdomen, blood disorders, immobilisation for over a day, above 40 yo with oestrogen hormone therapy including the pill, pregnancy, smoking, malignant disease, obesity, dehydration, heart failure, varicose veins. (Compression stockings may assist in preventing swelling of ankles and feet)
• It's dangerous to fly immediately after scuba diving. You'll need to wait 12 to 24 hours after diving. Ask your doctor or diving authorities for guidelines on flying after scuba diving.
For a tune up or preparation flight treatment to ensure a safe and happy flight
Book Online at www.HealthState.com.au or contact 0404001172 Our Osteopathic doctors and Beauty Therapists will have you tuned up, rehydrated and ready to arrive Fresh and Fabulous.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is informative only and is my opinion. It does not constitute medical advice. Always consult your GP or medical specialist before changing or coming off any medication.