Studies have shown that one in five of plane passengers suffer from a cold or even flu after a flight, so add jet lag into the mix and you can get an understanding of why so many people suffer after a long flight.
Why do people get sick after long-haul flights?
Long haul flights disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm – the internal body clock that governs your alertness and sleepiness. When your body is out of synch, you are more susceptible to illness; your body is not able to perform at its peak which not only affects your body but your cognitive function, too.
Airplanes are a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Surprisingly, it is not the plane’s air-conditioning system that is to blame for spreading illnesses as the HEPA filters are very efficient at removing dust, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. However, the key areas for germs to lurk include:
- Tray tables
- Overhead air vents
- Toilet locks and flush buttons
- Seatbelt buckles
The very nature of travel means that you come into contact with people that ordinarily you wouldn’t, and this means that you are exposed to bacteria and viruses that haven’t built up a resistance to.
How to stay healthy on a flight
While you can’t prevent people from sneezing in the vicinity of you, you can take precautionary steps to try and stay healthy. Always try to avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes and ears on a flight. Wash your hands frequently and apply hand sanitizer gel of at least 60% alcohol content – this is the most effective concentration to kill germs. Use antibacterial wipes to clean the remote, seatbelt buckle, and tray – areas that you are likely to touch.
Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids avoid alcohol and fizzy or gassy drinks. Flying at high altitude expands body gases by up to a third and can make you ache and feel uncomfortable. Avoid unhealthy food, and instead, fuel your body with foods that aid your immune systems such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Remember to keep moving your body on a long-haul flight, simple but regular exercises are key to help your circulation and support healthy blood flow.
How to get well after a long-haul flight
Whether you are traveling for leisure or business, you don’t want to feel the side-effects of your flight when you arrive at your destination, especially if you have important meetings to attend or a busy schedule. If you can, contact a company such as Reset IV and arrange for a health boost to combat the fatigue, headaches, malaise and flu-like symptoms that can accompany a long haul flight.
There other ways to avoid an airplane cold. It is a good idea to go for a brisk walk and take deep breaths as you do so, this will help to circulate oxygen around your body. Stretch your body to loosen muscles after a long period of being stationary. If you can, stand barefoot on earth/mud, grass or sand – this is called earthing, and is a highly effective way to release the static charge your body holds while in the air.
Long-haul flights are not the ideal way for travel, however, they are often a necessity. Take precautionary measures against germs and be mindful that you need to be equally cautious about your health once you get to your destination. You need to give your body time to recover.