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What's your biggest tip for healthy travel?
Keep your hands as clean as possible, which includes frequent washing with soap and water. There are also antibacterial solutions, the alcohol-based solutions that you can carry in a little bottle both in your purse or pocket. And you need to use them before eating or handling anything that is going to come in contact with face or mouth. But keep in mind that they are not 100 percent effective against all viruses and parasitic causes of illness.
What health measures should I take while flying?
For longer flights, particularly those lasting over four hours, it is very important to get up and walk around every hour or pump your feet up and down vigorously several times. Even better than that is to have your primary care physician prescribe compression hose that would help prevent the swelling and any buildup of clots or stagnation of blood in your legs.
Should I take sleeping pills to pass the time on a long flight?
Do NOT take sleeping pills while you are in the coach class. It is one of the factors that can lead to what’s called Coach Class Syndrome, which is the formation of clots in the legs from prolonged sitting without moving in the coach class section, but it also applies to the business class, so certainly if you can go first class, that’s great. Really the best way to boost your immune system would be to avoid fatigue which is very common traveling not to push yourself too hard and to rest when your body tells you it needs to rest.
How do I avoid jet lag?
Measures to avoid jet lag would include avoidance of alcohol, adjusting to the new time zone before departures such as going to bed one hour later or getting up one hour earlier per 24-hour period before arrival in the new time zone. It would be also to drink plenty of fluids during the flight and at the destination. And at the new wake-up time to get into the bright light in the morning and maybe take a little brisk walk or some light exercise. And after you get to the destination, then it would be fine to use sleeping pills or melatonin, which you can get over the counter for inducing sleep.
For More Information
To learn more or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about travel medicine, visit Travel Medicine in Adult Health or read the Travel Health News archive.