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Healthy Flying TipsSummarized from the book by Diana Fairchild 1995 Flyana Rhyme Inc
How Do I Trounce Jet-lag?
Jet-lag is caused by a complex combination of circumstances. First, there are the environmental deviations of traveling -- shifts in time, alterations in magnetic fields, modifications in climate, and diversities in cultures. As if this weren't enough, flying in commercial jets we are forced into a sickening environment where we are deprived of air and humidity while exposed to radiation, pesticides, and pollution.
Jet-lag affects us physically, mentally, and emotionally. A physical example is swollen feet. A mental example is disorientation. An emotional one is anxiety. Swollen feet are caused by the low air pressure on board and lack of circulation from sitting for long periods without moving. To remedy this, wear slippers or large travel shoes and periodically walk around.
Abstaining from alcoholic beverages in flight (and drinking lots of water instead), is both a physical and a mental remedy -- it helps to offset dehydration, and it promotes mental clarity.
Travelers experience less jet-lag when they skip all airplane food! It's typically high in fat, salt, and sugar, and low in carbohydrates. Moreover, it's difficult to digest in flight with your intestines all swollen from the airplane's low air pressure. Either FAST (drink plenty of fluids but avoid solid foods between your departure location and your arrival destination) or bring along CARBOHYDRATE SNACKS (these help you function more effectively and think more clearly at higher altitudes).
Flying west usually causes less jet-lag than flying east. This is because eastbound travel crunches the day to less than 24 hours, so at bedtime we're not sleepy and then it's hard to get up in the morning. To help re-set your biological cycles, set your watch to the local time at your arrival destination when you first board your flight. Sleep on board if your flight lands in the morning and avoid sleeping on board if your flight lands in the evening. When you land, try taking a hot, candlelight bath instead of sleeping pills.
When you first arrive, schedule work or other important activity at a time when you are likely to have maximum energy, (i.e., in the evening, after jetting east, or in the morning, after jetting west). To help speed up acclimatization, spend some time outdoors every day during daylight hours. Even being in a room with windows helps to enlighten our body clocks. Natural light automatically cues our cells to the new local cosmology.
Along with the adoption of the local bedtime to help you quickly adjust to the new time zone, try doing what the locals: their food preference, meal times, recreational activities, and even the way they dress. If you can do only one thing at first, though, make a determination to adjust your bedtime to the new, local timetable as soon as possible.
Jet-lag is not psychological; it is cycle logical. All our internal cycles (temperature, sleep, cravings for sweets, reactions to medications) are programmable, like computers. Program yours to bounce back from jet-lag with adaptability and resilience by focusing your thoughts and feelings on your desired goals -- determine to enjoy well-being as you skirt the globe.
Lightly! Hand-carrying a little luggage requires less fortitude than later losing a lot of luggage. According to Consumer Reports, 8% of passengers who check luggage report something lost or stolen. Airline liability for luggage lost on US-domestic flights is limited to $1250; on international flights it is only $635. In addition, you must prove your claim with receipts, and they always depreciate the value of your things, rather than replace them. When preparing baggage for check-in, remember: it's easier to make a list of your effects while you are packing (video or photograph them) then to reconstruct one under duress.
Be sure to bring enough things in your carry-ons to manage for a couple of days, just in case. Always hand carry your prescriptions, travel documents, money, and valuables. Other items which you may want to consider taking in your carry-ons are:
Another reason to limit your baggage to carry-ons is that most airline baggage compartments are regularly pesticided -- so our effects can become contaminated!
Here's how to pack smart so you can keep it to carry-ons:
How Do We Prevent Dehydration When We Fly??
The in-flight air is drier than any of the world's deserts. Typically, relative humidity is 20-25% in the Sahara or Arabian deserts, while optimum comfort is around 50%. "In-flight cabin humidities gradually fall on long-distance, high-altitude flights to well below 10%, in many cases approaching 1%." (Air Conditioning Tests, Boeing Report No. T6-4453-B747SP, 1976). In-flight dryness can create thirst, scratchy eyes, bloodshot eyes, dry skin (even wrinkles), and backed-up plumbing. Yipes!
Basically, there's no way to avoid the fact that your body will become dehydrated to some degree as a result of flying long distances in near-zero humidity in commercial jet cabins. We need to be mindful of our water intake en route, and also remember to drink plenty of pure water for several days after landing. Without adequate water intake both health and inspiration quickly deteriorate. That's why I do whatever it takes.
If you plan to fly and have a head cold, please consider canceling out of compassion for your plane-mates. It's common knowledge that viruses recirculate in the recycled cabin air. A note from your doctor will ensure you do not have to pay a "no-show" penalty when you cancel. If you do have to fly, however, consider donning a surgical mask to keep your germs to yourself -- AND watch out for your ears! As aircraft descend, pressure increases, and this can cause excruciating pain in the ear. Invisible help is available, however, aboard every plane in the sky. Here's how to clear your blocked ears on a commercial flight. You'll need a cup, a paper napkin, and some hot water:
Set Your Mental Alarm: Tell your subconscious to awaken you when the new, high-pitched whine of the engines signals the top of descent (about 25 minutes before landing on long flights).