Take to the Air

Take to the Air

Do you remember when travelling by air was glamorous and sophisticated? The increase in availability of low-cost flights has made flying accessible to many, but the glamour is a faded memory for all but the elite who can afford to travel first class.

Travelling by air may no longer be the stuff of dreams, but we can improve the experience with a little preparation.

Germ Warfare

Many people succumb to cold and flu bugs after flying. This may be due, in part, to the large number of people packed into a confined space; avoiding germs spread by other passengers who cough or sneeze is difficult in such close quarters.

Because the air inside planes is dry, mucous membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth) can dry out, making us more susceptible to infections. To stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and use lubricating eye drops and nose gel. Stay away from alcohol and caffeinated beverages (soft drinks and coffee), which promote dehydration.

Get plenty of sleep before flying and ensure you supplement with vitamin C to increase immune function and reduce the severity and duration of colds. Take 500 to 1,000 mg daily.

Aged garlic extract also supports immune health, protects against oxidative stress, and reduces fatigue and stress. The typical dosage is 600 to 1,000 mg daily.


Developing a blood clot is a potentially serious event that can occur even in healthy people during or after a long flight. With little movement, blood can pool in the extremities, increasing the risk of clot formation.

To reduce the risk of clots, walk up and down the aisle (unless the seat belt sign is on). While sitting you can raise your feet off the floor, point and flex your toes, and circle your ankles.

For those with an increased risk of clotting, supplements containing diosmin, a flavonoid that reduces the risk of blood clotting and prevents leg swelling, may help. The recommended dosage is 600 mg once daily.

Perchance to Dream

If you plan to sleep on the plane, use a pillow to support your head. You can purchase a special cervical pillow made for travellers that fits around the neck and prevents the head from falling to the side while sleeping.

Jet lag can be a problem when travelling to a different time zone. To reset your internal clock and reduce jet lag, try a supplement of melatonin. The typical dosage is 3 to 6 mg at bedtime.

While air travel may no longer be glamorous, with a little preparation, it can still be a pleasant experience.

Flight Survival Kit

  • Pack healthy snacks, such as almonds, fresh or dried fruit, and energy bars.
  • If your ears hurt when ascending or descending, try chewing gum, drinking water, and plugging your nose and blowing to clear your ears.
  • To reduce stress, try deep breathing exercises or meditation.

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