When flying on commercial airlines, airline passengers can develop some medical problems which tend to be minor. However, some symptoms may develop into more serious medical conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis, which can quickly become life threatening.
The following paragraph lists a number of the most common in-flight medical symptoms.
The usual in-flight symptoms you may experience are ear-popping, nasal congestion, dehydration, headaches, constipation or diarrhea, loss of appetite (possibly caused by the in-flight food), light-headedness, problems with coordination, concentration problems, confusion, irritability, anxiety, sweating, fatigue, swollen lower legs and feet, and motion sickness. Some of the above symptoms may also be associated with jet lag. In addition, jet lag can also affect your sense of orientation in terms of time and place, as well as disrupt your sense of well-being.
Some of these medical symptoms can be easily reduced or eliminated by doing a few simple things.
Drinking a glass of water, juice, or soda, every half hour or so can help you prevent dehydration and dryness in your throat, nose and eyes. Alcohol and caffeine should be avoided or consumed in moderation as they can cause dehydration as well as disrupt sleep patterns. By chewing gum you can help prevent your ears getting plugged and popping. A comfortable inflatable neck pillow can help prevent a stiff and sore neck. Wearing eye shades can make it easier to sleep on a long flight and ear plugs can reduce the constant cabin noise. Ask a flight attendant for a blanket to help keep you warm in the air conditioned cabin. It's also a good idea to turn off the overhead air nozzle above your seat as cool air blowing down on you could make you feel cold.
Most people's bodies tend to swell when they fly, so wearing loose clothing may help to relieve the swelling. It will also add to your in flight comfort. If you can, avoid salty foods. Excess salt in your body contributes to water retention which can also cause your body to swell when you fly.
Jet lag can also be a major problem when you fly. You may be able to lessen the effects of jet lag by adjusting your sleeping and eating patterns a few days before your flight to better reflect the time zone when you will arrive at your destination. This will take some discipline but it is well worth trying, as it can really make a difference.
There are some more things that you can do to reduce the effects of jet lag. If you can, try and catch a flight that arrives at your vacation destination in the daylight hours. Immediately fit into this new time zone and avoid going to bed. If you are feeling tired and wish to take a short snooze, then do it in a well-lit place. In the evening or at night, sleep in a darkened room. The darkness will quickly prepare your brain for sleep. Try to avoid watching television, or using a computer as their screens are bright and can easily over-stimulate your brain. It is not a good idea to consume alcohol or any drinks that contain caffeine such as soda and coffee, or eat chocolate, until your symptoms of jet lag wear off, as alcohol and food products that contain caffeine can disrupt your sleep.
Generally speaking, most travelers are not aware that they will only begin to experience the symptoms of jet lag as they leave their plane. That is when the passengers' biological clocks start to make internal adjustments inside their bodies to more closely coincide with the local time zone at their holiday destination. When commercial airline travelers cross one, or even two time zones, they can usually adjust quite quickly. However, if they are experiencing poor health, or are not feeling well just before they fly, then jet lag can compound these problems.
What is deep vein thrombosis, or DVT?
Deep vein thrombosis is caused by a blood clot that starts forming in the lower leg. If this blood clot breaks off, it can then travel to the lungs which can be fatal. This is a very real, life threatening, medical emergency.
The usual symptoms of deep vein thrombosis are pain, redness, and swelling in the leg. Deep vein thrombosis has always been a major health risk for travelers, especially when they fly. Recent research has shown that airline passengers are at three times the risk of developing this serious life threatening condition when compared to the general population.
Here are some of the things that you can do to reduce your chance of developing this deadly condition. You should try to avoid crossing your legs as this can reduce or cut off the circulation in them raising the risk of DVT. To increase your circulation, wear loose fitting clothing and avoid tight fitting socks or stockings. You should also change your sitting position frequently, move your legs often when sitting, and get up and walk back and forth down the aisle. If you can, try and sit in an aisle seat so you can easily get up and walk around without disturbing your fellow passengers. These suggestions will help with the circulation in your legs and reduce the chance that you will develop deep-vein thrombosis.