Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Medical Tips for Long Flights

So we just got back from Maui. Vacation was a blast catching up with extended family... 

17 cousins all together ages range from 2 to 17!

However, the travel back and recovery has been brutal. We left at night so we flew red eye. The lack of proper sleep did not help but what really did it was the two 6 hour long flights back to back with a two hour layover.

two hour lay over spent snoozing at AA business lounge...

Since summer is the time of travel and after this most recent experience, I'm prompted to blog a bit on medical tips for long flights....

1.  Dry air  

- air is thin and dry on airplanes and on long flights it is easy to get dehydrated
- increased respiration rates due to the lower oxygen also increases water loss
- symptoms of dehydration include:
  • sore throat
  • dry skin and craked lips
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • irritability
What can you do?
every hour you fly you are supposed to drink 8oz water
- avoid coffee or soda which has caffeine and can dehydrate you more
- avoid sugary drinks which can also cause a "crash" after a "high"
- moisturizing lotion for skin, chapstick for lips and eyedrops for dry eyes

2.  Low oxygen pressure  
- the lower oxygen pressure in aircrafts is equivalent to 6,000 to 8,000 ft altitude
- although the barimetric pressure is adjusted in the aircraft to avoid true altitude sickness you can still experience symptoms such as:
  • headache
  • sleepiness
What can you do?
- drinking plenty of water should help this as well

3.  Long periods of sitting
-  sitting in tight quarters for hours can cause decrease blood flow in body
-  symptoms these may produce include:
  • ankle swelling
  • feet swelling
  • blood clots for folks with increased risks such as
    • serious medical conditions
    • postpartum
    • on birth control
    • over 40
    • being obese

What can you do?
-  rotating ankles, extending and flexing the foot may help circulation
-  high risk folks may need compression stockings and/or medications

4.  Shifts in cabin pressure

- body's gas can expand 25 percent
- gas expands during ascent causing tympanic membrane in ears to bulge
- symptoms include
  • ears to feel full and "pop"
  • increased flatulence
What can you do?
- chewing gum, yawning and swallowing will help ears
- avoid gas producing foods may help minimize abdominal discomfort
    • dairy products
    • beans and lentils
    • asparagus, brocooli, brussel sprouts, cabbage..etc
    • fructose
    • high fiber foods
So we should have been much more diligent in implementing the above... we may not be as beat as we are now.

Well... here are some photos of the gorgeous scenery to help us recover...