Now that the airline and tourism industries are recovering from pandemic-induced downturns, it’s about time that we refresh our knowledge of how to best prepare ourselves ahead of a flight. Air travel is often associated with various health issues: there’s jet lag, dehydration, ear aches, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) caused by prolonged periods of sitting down. On top of that, medical emergencies could occur anytime during the trip, especially for those with pre-existing ailments.
All in all, it’s vital to remember some best practices to ensure a smooth getaway. In this article, we’ll talk about some health and safety tips you’d do well to follow before going on your big trip overseas.
Be Aware of Your Health Status
Getting in touch with your doctor before a flight will give you an idea of how your body might react to air travel or the climate of your destination country. For example, people with blood-related disorders and heart or lung diseases might find it difficult to spend hours in an enclosed space with lower oxygen levels such as planes. In addition, cold weather could aggravate conditions such as asthma, psoriasis, and mental health disorders like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), especially during the winter.
As such, you may want to have a chat with your doctor at least one month before your trip. Your doctor can give you expert advice on destination-specific medications and science-backed wellness practices to help you manage any ailment you may have. It’s particularly important to check with your doctor if you have chronic or critical health conditions such as allergies or pregnancy.
Do an Inventory Check of Your Medical Essentials
Medicines are best brought via carry-on luggage to ensure preparedness in case of a medical emergency. That said, you also need to be sure that none of the medicines you bring are expired. Before your flight, check first if you have enough of your prescription and essential over-the-counter (OTC) medications to last you throughout your journey. If not, you may want to buy online medicine to stock up on the essentials ahead of your trip. Just make sure to consult your doctor first on the medicines you intend to bring as well as potential needs for dosage changes.
Your medical essentials should generally include :
● Your prescription meds
● Anti-diarrhea medicine
● Pain relievers
● Cough drops
● Mild laxative
● Motion sickness meds
● Mild sedative/sleep aids
● Vitamins, especially immunity boosters like Vitamin C
Aside from medicines, it’s vital to bring other life-saving essentials as prescribed by your doctor. These may include diabetes testing equipment, inhalers, insulin, epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPen), and a medical alert necklace or bracelet.
Remember Your Other Essentials
Apart from medicines and medical equipment, it’s also important to bring items that can make your travel more comfortable. These items include:
● Hand sanitizers
● Disinfectant wipes
● Extra face masks
● Facial tissues
● Eye mask
● Gum and earplugs or earphones (to minimize the impact of air pressure fluctuations)
On top of these, you may want to bring healthy snacks to eliminate hunger during your flight. The best foods to bring on a flight are granola bars, high-protein snacks, trail mix, nuts, and fruit. Aside from being nutritious, these snacks are usually not messy to eat on a plane.
Bring Your Health Documents (Make Sure They’re Updated)
Most countries require travelers to present medical documents, particularly COVID-19 vaccination records, before allowing entry. As such, you should prepare your vaccination records and make sure that you meet your destination country’s travel requirements. Even if you don’t need to travel abroad, you should still get fully vaccinated and boosted to protect yourself and others from catching diseases such as COVID-19.
It’s also a good idea to bring any type of identification that contains information on your medical condition (i.e., diabetes or epilepsy), the medicines you need, required dosages, administering procedures, and your emergency contacts including your doctor. Doing so will help you stay prepared in case of any health emergency that might occur.
Get Enough Rest
Sleep deprivation makes you prone to jet lag which can cause a range of issues including fatigue, stomach problems, and dizziness. Before heading to the airport, make sure to get enough sleep so you can be well-rested enough to help your body adjust better to a different time zone.
Eat, Drink, and Go to the Bathroom Before Boarding
Flying on an empty stomach and with a parched throat can be an unpleasant experience, especially on long-haul flights. To stay full and hydrated, consider eating a well-proportioned meal and drinking 1-2 liters of water before boarding. It’s also best to avoid liquor since alcohol prevents your cells from properly absorbing oxygen, which is generally not great when you’re at high altitude. And of course, you should consider unloading at the restroom before boarding to prevent discomfort when the plane takes off and you need to stay seated.
Do Some Stretching
Traveling on a plane tends to limit your movements, causing numbness and overall discomfort. While at the airport, make sure to do some light stretches to flex your muscles and exercise your bones before boarding. Pre-flight stretches can also induce mental clarity and better sleep, especially if you need to go on a late-night flight.
Stay Well Before Taking Flight
Flying abroad can bring about feelings of excitement that some of us may forget to prepare sufficiently for the sake of our health. But aside from these preparations, you also need to comply with internationally-recognized safety guidelines such as wearing a mask to ensure the utmost protection for yourself and your fellow passengers.
These health tips and precautions are for your own good, but most importantly, they will ensure that medical troubles won’t keep you from enjoying your much-awaited voyage.