women

Preparation For A Healthy Trip (Part 6)

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There are several steps you can take to help you stay healthy and in good shape while you’re travelling.

Jet lag

Jet lag is experienced after a long flight across several time zones. When you travel long distances rapidly your body’s biological clock is disturbed. Until your body adjusts to the ‘real’ time at your destination you may experience fatigue, disorientation, sleep difficulties, impaired concentration and physical performance, anxiety, loss of appetite and constipation.

What you can do

Jet lag will usually disappear within about three days after arrival. There are a number of ways to minimize the impact:

Plan ahead

·         Start the journey in as relaxed a state as possible. Have a good sleep the night before flying and allow plenty of time to get to the airport.

·         For very long flights plan a stopover if possible. Try to arrange the itinerary so that you are flying into the night.

·         Try to avoid making important commitments for the first 24 hours after arriving at your destination.

During the flight

·         Reduce alcohol and coffee intake to a minimum. Minimize dehydration by drinking plenty of water.

·         Eat only when hungry.

·         Wear loose clothing. Wear comfortable shoes and take them off in-flight. If you are at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (see below), your doctor may suggest circulation stockings.

·         Try to sleep at the appropriate time for the time zone of your destination.

·         Make sure you do some in-flight exercises.

Description: Jet lag will usually disappear within about three days after arrival.

Jet lag will usually disappear within about three days after arrival.

When you arrive at your destination:

·         Adjust to your new time zone by exposing yourself to daylight. Bright light helps you to reset your body clock.

·         Try to adopt your usual bedtime routine.

·         If you need to take a nap during the day, keep it short.

Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis)

Air travel, especially long flights, may increase the risk of DVT, blood clots in the deep veins of the legs. Although the risk of developing DVT is very low, the condition can be serious. Blood clots can break off and travel to the heart or lungs, which can be life-threatening. Clots in the legs when travelling are more common:

·         After 12 hours or more of flying

·         In the left leg

·         In very tall or short people

·         In people aged over 50

·         In those storing their hand luggage under the seat in front

·         In people who consume excessive alcohol

·         In those who have had a clot before

·         In people who have had recent surgery or are in a cast.

What you can do

Book an aisle seat so you can easily get up and move around the cabin. Break long journeys with a stopover if possible.

If you think you may be at risk of DVT, speak to your doctor who may suggest compression stockings to prevent swelling and help stimulate blood flow, and/or prescribe a medication to help prevent blood clotting.

Description: Book an aisle seat so you can easily get up and move around the cabin.

Book an aisle seat so you can easily get up and move around the cabin.

Aspirin is of limited value in preventing clots in veins.

To prevent the development of DVT on long flights, doctors recommend you keep SAFE (Support, Activity, Fluids, Ensure no pressure) on the plane by remembering the following.

·         Wear compression stockings if advised by your doctor.

·         Keep moving. The in-flight magazine or safety card will generally contain a set of simple exercises you can do while seated. Use stops to walk about.

·         Travelling at altitude can be dehydrating. Minimize dehydration by drinking plenty of water. Limit alcohol and caffeine-containing drinks.

·         Wear loose clothing and ensure there is nothing pressing on your calf muscles.

Motion sickness

Motion sickness results when the motion you see is different from the motion sensed by your inner ear. It can occur in a car, train, airplane or boat.

And once the symptoms (dizziness, nausea and vomiting) start, motion sickness can be tricky to stop.

Description: Motion sickness results when the motion you see is different from the motion sensed by your inner ear.

Motion sickness results when the motion you see is different from the motion sensed by your inner ear.

What you can do

To prevent symptoms of motion sickness:

·         Limit movement by choosing seats with the smoothest ride. In a car or bus sit at the front. In a plane sit in seats over the wing. On a boat sit near the middle or a central cabin on a cruise ship.

·         Keep your head as still as possible.

·         Recline in your seat.

·         Restrict visual activity. Close your eyes or focus on distant objects rather than close objects. Avoid reading. Stimulating your other senses can distract you from the motion. Aromatherapy oils (lavender or mint), as well as ginger or other flavored lozenges may help.

·         Make sure there is good ventilation.

·         Steer clear of large meals.

·         Medications can be used to prevent or treat motion sickness but many of them have the unwanted side effect of making you feel sleepy. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

 

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