Ensure air travel is pleasant with some preparation

Avoid succumbing to cold and flu bugs in the confined space of an airplane by staying well hydrated during your flight.


Do you remember when travelling by air was glamorous and sophisticated? The increase in availability of low-cost flights has made flying accessible to many, but the glamour is a faded memory for all but the elite who can afford to travel first class.

Travelling by air may no longer be the stuff of dreams, but we can improve the experience with a little preparation.

Germs on a plane

•Many people succumb to cold and flu bugs after flying. This may be due, in part, to the large number of people packed into a confined space; avoiding germs spread by other passengers who cough or sneeze is difficult in such close quarters.

Because the air inside planes is dry, mucous membranes (eyes, nose and mouth) can dry out, making us more susceptible to infections.

To stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and use lubricating eye drops and nose gel. Stay away from alcohol and caffeinated beverages (soft drinks and coffee), which promote dehydration.

Dream on

•If you plan to sleep on the plane, use a pillow to support your head. You can purchase a special cervical pillow made for travellers that fits around the neck and prevents the head from falling to the side while sleeping.

Jet lag can be a problem when travelling to a different time zone. To reset your internal clock and reduce jet lag, try a supplement of melatonin. The typical dosage is three to six milligrams at bedtime.

While air travel may no longer be glamorous, with a little preparation, it can still be a pleasant experience.

Get your blood moving

•Developing a blood clot is a potentially serious event that can occur even in healthy people during or after a long flight. With little movement, blood can pool in the extremities, increasing the risk of clot formation. To reduce the risk, walk up and down the aisle (unless the seatbelt sign is on). While sitting you can raise your feet off the floor, point and flex your toes, and circle your ankles.

For those with an increased risk of clotting, supplements containing diosmin, a flavonoid that reduces the risk of blood clotting and prevents leg swelling, may help. The recommended dosage is 600 mg once daily.

From the editors of alive magazine


Alive is Canada’s award-winning natural health and wellness magazine. Every month alive focuses on traditional and holistic healing, beauty, environmental issues, nutrition, emotional well-being, and supplementation. Pick alive up for free at your natural health store. Visit alive.com for more.

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