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Thursday, January 27, 2011


Today's post is quite appropriate, given that I'm supposed to be flying off on a business trip today. I say "supposed to" because we'll see if I actually do fly out. You see, here in NJ we've already had more than four times our annual snowfall, and it isn't even February yet. The snow just keeps coming and coming. I took the picture above on Wednesday. It snowed several inches that morning. It snowed again yesterday. No planes came into Newark Liberty Airport, so I have no idea if there will be a plane for me to fly out on later this morning. The snowman sits on a neighbor's front lawn. It's almost three stories tall. 

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled post...

Travel editor Serena Brower is always flying off to some exotic spot as part of her job. Amazingly, she rarely takes a sick day. How does she keep from getting ill while cooped up for hours at a time with a couple of hundred strangers and their germs? She’s here to tell us. -- AP

Thanks, Anastasia! There are some simple tricks to staying healthy while flying. The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s important to keep your immunity up. This means getting the proper amount of sleep prior to your flight. Lack of sleep lowers your immunity and your body’s ability to ward off germs. So don’t wait until the last minute to pack and wind up staying up all or most of the night before an early morning flight. 

Keep in mind that an airplane is like a Petri dish. You’re in a confined space with lots of other people sneezing, coughing, and otherwise spreading their germs throughout the plane. To keep those germs at bay, wash your hands frequently. I like to keep a small container of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in my purse. Remember, germs are spread mostly by touch.

Ever notice that you often feel bloated after a flight? That’s due to the air pressure in the cabin. It slows your digestion. Magnesium is a great counterbalance to this phenomenon. The powdered supplement can be added to tea or water. Or just bring along a snack rich in magnesium, like nuts or whole grains.

Headaches are another nasty side effect of flying. This is due to the dry air within the cabin which causes dehydration. To avoid getting a headache, stay away from alcoholic beverages while flying and drink plenty of water.

Finally, sitting for long periods of time in a confined place at best causes stiffness and sore muscles and at worst can lead to blood clots. Make sure you get up and move around the cabin periodically. While in your seat, exercise. Yes, you read that right. Look in the seat pocket. You’ll find a card that gives you step-by-step instructions for exercising your limbs and muscles and boosting your circulation while you’re seated.

Follow these simple rules, and you’ll arrive at your destination feeling ready to tackle the day.

Thanks, Serena! Great advice, as always. So readers, ever notice that those airplane seats are getting smaller and smaller? With next to no leg room at all? Aside from staying on the ground, how do you deal with the hassles of flying these days? Let’s hear from you. Post a comment to enter the drawing for a free book from our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP


petite said...

I rarely fly or travel but when I do I try to follow those instructions. It is not enjoyable any more but sometimes necessary. Your photo was great.


Flying stopped being enjoyable a long time ago, petite. I'm short, and I feel like a sardine in coach!

Kathleen Ernst said...

I love to travel, and hate to fly. At least we can try to stay well!