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Stay Healthy While Flying

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G’day, readers!

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As predicted in my last post, I had a lovely weekend with my dad and sister in beautiful, bright, bonny Colorado. Yes, Colorado is a series of adjectives starting with the letter “B”.

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I won’t go into detail about the trip (check out this post for five reasons why I love Colorado), but I will show you a few pictures:

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Don't scare it away.
Don’t scare it away.

I brought back a few edibles, including the only Earl Grey tea I’ve ever enjoyed.

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Since high school, I’ve stubbornly tasted Earl Grey tea over and over again, only to face repeated disappointment over the unexpectedly odd flavor (probably from the Bergamot). Why am I so persistent? Because I’ve always wanted to be able to say, in an appropriately commanding tone, “Tea, Earl Grey, hot.”

(If you get that reference, I will be massively impressed.)

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Thank you, Celestial Seasonings!

I also made off with more than my fair share of coconut amaranth granola, made by my sister (sorry, Courtney).

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This granola has the perfect amount of crunch from the toasted amaranth and chew from the coconut. I have to get this recipe from Courtney before I run out. Adding to To-Do list … now.

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With the dreariness of February upon us, many opt to travel to warmer or brighter locales (like Colorado!). Often these trips involve jumping on a plane, tossing and turning in an area the size of a tuna can, struggling to read or sleep during the most intense turbulence this decade, and stumbling off the plane looking like you’ve just been riding a Tilt-a-Whirl repeatedly. No? It’s just me? Still, I know flying doesn’t leave me feeling my best, and I know other people agree. What can we do to feel our best at 30,000 feet?

Check it:

4 Tips to Stay Healthy While Flying

Whether on a 45-minute puddle jumper or a 22-hour trip around the world, flying presents challenges for your health. Long lines, cramped seats, less-than-healthy airline food, and the stress of travel can take a toll on your wellbeing. A 2009 study in BioMed Central calculated the possibility of H1N1 transmission on airplanes and found that the longer the flight, the greater the number of potential infections. Increased exposure to sick travelers while flying comes with the territory, but there are steps you can take to keep yourself healthy.

(1) Wash Your Hands
Germs may be lurking on your tray table, in your seat pocket, and even in the airplane pillows and blankets. The most effective way to keep bugs out of your system is to wash your hands properly. The CDC recommends wetting your hands and rubbing soap between them for at least 20 seconds, making sure to scrub the backs of your hands, under your fingernails, and between your fingers. Rinse thoroughly and use a clean towel to dry your hands. When soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

(2) Eat Healthy to Stay Healthy
The ready availability of airport food high in fat and sugar means it’s easy to let your regular healthy eating habits suffer. Healthy bodies have an easier time fighting off infectious diseases. Bring your own nutrient-rich meals, such as salads and whole grain sandwiches. If you’re running short on time and must buy food at the airport, choose meals packed with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, such as chicken or fish.

(3) Stay Hydrated and Avoid Alcohol
The airplane environment is dry, which provides the perfect for viruses to thrive and spread. Mucous membranes in the nose and mouth also dry out, making them less effective at preventing infection. Staying hydrated will help counteract the dry air. Bring an empty water bottle through airport security and fill up at the airport. Sip water throughout your flight. Kicking back with a drink may sound like a good idea; however, alcohol can be dehydrating. Avoid alcohol before and during your flight.

(4) Avoid DVT
Deep vein thrombosis can occur when a deep vein is blocked, commonly in the legs. Long periods of immobility, such as during extended flight times, can increase risk of DVT (a full list of risk factors can be found on the CDC’s website). According to the ACCP, those on flight longer than 8 hours should avoid constrictive clothing around the waist or lower extremities, stay hydrated, and flex calf muscles often. If the pilot has turned off the seat belt sign, getting up and moving around can help.

Q: What do you do to stay healthy while flying/traveling?

References:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Handwashing
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism
Geerts, et al. Prevention of venous thromboembolism: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (8th edition). Chest. 2008 Jun;133(6 Suppl):381S–453S.
Wagner BG, Coburn BJ, Blower S. Calculating the potential for within-flight transmission of influenza A (H1N1). BMC Med. 2009 Dec 24;7:81.

20 Comments

  1. For your next Earl Grey, hot:

    You can say to Peter: Number One! Make it so!

    xD

    1. Haha! I love it! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

  2. I have been following George Takei on Facebook for too long to NOT get the reference dear Jessie! Even though I have never seen Star Trek (though I am seriously tempted to start now!). And I just love this one:
    http://i.imgur.com/9tCOn.jpg

    As for flights, I’ve never flown more than 4 hours, so getting up to stretch is not strictly necessary for me, though dehydration is a problem, especially as I tend to drink coffee during the flight. I am sorry to say that people’s hygiene practices mean that sometimes visiting the toilet can be a germaphobe’s worst nightmare, as many people fail (yes, fail is the right word) to wash their hands and then touch the surfaces and the door handles and everything.

    I used to be a nervous flyer (though I have improved a LOT in recent years), and I have a better alternative to calming nerves down than alcohol: munching on something, anything (preferably your lovely suggestions of fruit and lean protein). The very process of doing something as normal as eating, even though you feel your stomach is clenched in fear, makes you feel more comfortable and relaxed. It’s counter-intuitive, but it works!

    1. What a great picture! πŸ˜› I can wholeheartedly recommend watching Star Trek, Christa!

      You have some great tips for flying in comfort (bringing your own snacks to munch on is perfect). I agree with you on the hygiene issue – gross :O

  3. I read “Tea, Earl Grey, hot!” to Mike and he immediately smiled. He gets you!

    1. Haha, he sure does! πŸ˜›

  4. I’m flying tomorrow so this is so perfectly timed!!! Great post!

  5. I was a big Star Trek Next Generation fan as a kid. Voyager wasn’t bad. I hated Deep Space Nine.

    Your pictures from Colorado look awesome!

  6. Nina King says:

    Try Lady Grey tea from Twinings of London (blue box, available in any store).

    1. I’ll look for it – thanks, Nina! πŸ™‚

  7. Jessie! πŸ™‚ I officially designate you a Colorado mountain range and ranch hipster.

    1. Haha! Thanks, Aletheia! It is a great honor to accept this designation πŸ™‚

  8. Welcome back Jessie…and thanks for the lovely nature captures…it warms my spirit ;o)

    The travel tips are spot on…have been using these especially on my cross Atlantic trips.

    Have a wonderful week,
    Claudia

  9. Love the photos and glad to read that your trip went well. I love Earl Grey tea myself and will definitely try the Celestial Seasonings brand sometime.

    I often do little stretches while flying to prevent cramping and discomfort (and DVT too, I suppose!). I’m sure the people around my think it is weird, but it sure helps me! I also drink lots of water and avoid alcohol, juice and pop on the plane or I become way too dehydrated.

    1. Thanks for the great tips, Megan!

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