Health tips for frequent/long-distance fliers

My head is clogged up with major nasal congestion, I keep blowing my nose, I’ve got a scratchy throat, I’m less than my usual level of alertness, red eyes, almost feeling feverish but not quite, and it’s been almost a week since I returned from London on a short business trip. Just two weeks before that I had a business trip to San Francisco.

I think part of my problem is that I act tough – go, go, go on these trips, eat, drink, handle stressful business in the day, try to enjoy some entertainment at night, get up early to screw around on the internet, and pretend a tough mind can overcome the body’s need for regular sleep, nutrition, etc., despite the fact that I only sleep an hour or so on an intercontinental flight and maybe 4 or 5 hours per night when I get there (due to the time difference). So, I guess I have now learned a lesson.

In the future I’ll try to:

  • Take multivitamins before, during, and after my trip
  • Drink lots of water on the flight and in the other country
  • Avoid alcohol, especially on the flight
  • Try very hard to sleep a regular night’s sleep in the other country, resisting the urge to climb out of bed at 4 am to go online
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies and avoid heavy foods such as large cuts of meat
  • Get fresh air, sunshine and exercise as much as possible

I’ve generally tried to observe those guidelines in the past, but I guess I’ll be more conscientious in the future. Anything I’m missing, to avoid feeling jet-lagged, rundown and clogged sinuses?

Also, my wife (Taiwanese) is almost angry at me because I’m not following her suggestion to go to a doctor now to either (a) have them suck my sinuses dry with a hose or (b) give me medication. I think she’s wrong. A week into this, I figure I’m now on the mend, just a couple of days left, and there’s no way they can suck the snot out of me now – that’s only for early on, when one is at the height of one’s snotty symptoms. As for drugs, those are surely inferior to toughing it out a few days more and getting over this naturally. I figure she’s just giving a typical foolish Taiwanese approach of go to a doctor and have them work miracles on you rather than dealing with it naturally, right?

How do you deal with frequent/long-distance flying beforehand, during and afterwards?

Has anyone tried this product: Fess Frequent Flyer Nasal Spray?
fess.com.au

Dehydration is probably the biggest problem on airplanese for me. Therefore, lots of water and no alcohol.

Also, I wear ear plugs. They do wonders especially since most people don’t realize how much of a difference it makes (since your ears adjust to noise).

Bring a inflatable pillow. I also use their blankets to cover up to avoid getting the AC blow on you too much. Also swedish hostesses are very nice to have around.

Yea, I’ve started using one. I still don’t get much sleep, but I agree, it’s definitely an improvement.

Unfortunately, they don’t have them in the economy class, cattle car. :frowning: I’ll have to upgrade next time.

Well, I think the symptoms you describe are a common cold, which you undoubtedly caught from the recycled airflow in a jet. Filthy damned things, planes. Add to that general fatigue and you’ve got all the right dynamics for lower resistance and greater susceptibility to that stew of lurgies floating through the cabin.

HG

That’s what I figured, HG. Just to confirm, going to a doctor can’t possibly do anything for me except to placate my wife, right? They can’t suck snot from one’s sinus with a hose when it’s already deep up inside ones head? And there’s no sense taking drugs for a cold, when it’s nearing the end, right?

Of course it’s a balancing act: time wasted and embarassment of acting like a pansy and a fool to the doctor v. satisy the wife and get her off my back.

The quack can offer a range of pills that will ease your symptoms, it may also be that you’ve copped a secondary upper respiratory tract infection, in which case antibiotics will help. That’s why they throw them at you.

Then of course, coming home with a bunch of pills will draw sympathy not rage from the missus. If you time it right, say nip out from work right now to head to the quack, you may even cop the rest of the day off. All in all, its a winning strategy!

HG

Make sure you take a baby/children’s or other low dose aspirin daily. This, among other benefits, thins your blood and decreases the risk of clotting on long flights.

I’d caution against the Aspirin. You see, if the plane was to crash and you survived the initial impact, well the odds are greater that you’d bleed to death from the hole that was once of your limbs before help arrives, if you were taking Aspirin.

A very important suggestion to anyone taking long term Aspirin is to stop it before any operation or airplane crash.

Just some thoughts.

HG

[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]I’d caution against the Aspirin. You see, if the plane was to crash and you survived the initial impact, well the odds are greater that you’d bleed to death from the hole that was once of your limbs before help arrives, if you were taking Aspirin.

A very important suggestion to anyone taking long term Aspirin is to stop it before any operation or airplane crash.

Just some thoughts.

HG[/quote]

Then it’s back to alcohol. That way, should any plane crash occur, you’d be in a better mood when the shit hits the fan. plus, the pain won’t be as bad, and it will thin your blood.

Man-up and deal with it.

Water, keep hydrated. But the other thing is also try to exercise at the hotel gym if possible. I haven’t tried that part because well… it’s damn hard when you’re out and about during the evenings for business ‘social’ activities. Don’t mind the alcohol so long as I manage to keep hydrated - requires frequent toilet visits though.

+1 on the earplugs - remove them right after landing when the engines are just idling and you’ll be amazed at the whole circus going on around you. takes that piercing bite out of any baby’s cries.

1 or 2 bottles of water if allowed (still can take them on flights from Taiwan to other Asian destinations), why sit there parched when u can rehydrate whenever. local snacks from wherever you took off are good too.

plenty of magazines for quick short reading between naps.

for longer flights over 3 hours - laptop and divx movies(nothing naughty) and earbud style headphones - watch whatever you want. share an earbud with a gorgeous stranger if you so feel inclined or relax in your own private theater 20,000 feet in the air.

Two liters of carrot juice a day for two days before you fly. Never suffer from jet lag again. It’s a mountaineering trick to deal with altitude. I do it everytime I fly overseas and never have a problem other than not being able to shit for the first few days. Too much fiber, I don’t kno.

This is all about healthy living.

Drink water and sleep on the plane. You body does not need much energy when you sit for 10 hours. Skip the food.

Carrot juice does sound like a good idea – packed with nutrients.

[quote=“robi666”]This is all about healthy living.

Drink water and sleep on the plane. You body does not need much energy when you sit for 10 hours. Skip the food.[/quote]

Good point. I have finally learned that I don’t need the first meal that they give you, when you finally reach altitude, about midnight or 1 am. Why would I want dinner then? I don’t usually eat dinner then. Plus, I already ate dinner just a few hours earlier and airline food is notoriously bad. Seems like everyone eats that first meal compulsively, because they come around with the carts and give it to you. But, I now reject that meal and try to sleep instead. I also have learned that I don’t have to finish all the food they give me just because it’s on my plate, especially when it tastes crappy, like the “omellete” and hotdogs for breakfast.

Incidentally, this is not a health tip but a traveling tip I’ve discovered: I like to carry everything in carryon suitcase instead of checking my luggage, but whenever I’ve tried to bring shaving jel in my carryon they have always found it and made me throw it away. Well, this past christmas my bro gave me a nice shaving brush and shaving soap. It works well. I like it. But the extra benefit is I now bring that in my carryon when I travel, and I no longer have to worry about buying new shaving jel when I get there (or checking a bag just to transport shaving jel). :slight_smile:

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I think airline food is not worse than night market food.