Keeping Safe While Flying
Note: In the times of the Covid pandemic there is actually a bit of good news for air travelers. First, people are much more aware of the risks of contagion when flying and the airlines are taking more precautions. Also with all the emphasis on mask wearing you will no longer stick out in a crowd if you use masking as a precaution. While some airlines were requiring N95 masks to fly it’s a good idea to embrace the idea. You can find the N95 masks HERE. Likewise because of increased airline sanitation it is becoming less likely that you will pick up a bug from flying. It’s still recommended that you don’t let your guard down though.
Even cruising often requires a flight to get to the ship and some of these can be really long distance flights. This exposes that love-hate side to travel. Getting there is great but traveling there not so much. Long distance flights are usually no fun at all, especially if you fly coach and with a price difference on international flights as high as ten times, many feel the pain is worth the price savings.
It’s often suggested to get up and walk around to help circulation but that is just not practical on night flights where you are stuck between two or three people on a wide body jet. The cabin crew isn’t pleased either with isle walkers getting in their way.
You can find some relief if you plan ahead on those long flights, especially if your cramped in coach. One area of particular concern is the toll it can take on your circulation. It isn’t unusual to discover that your ankles swell and maybe even hurt on and after a long flight. While the risk of developing blood clots on a flight is pretty low, it does go up with age and as travel length increases.
A lot of athletes and seniors already know the solution. Ask you doctor and he’ll tell you to wear compression socks. These stockings help increase circulation and reduce the risk of swelling or worse, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and clotting on long flights.
An excerpt from the Mayo Clinic explains, “Compression stockings steadily squeeze your legs, helping your veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. They offer a safe, simple and inexpensive way to keep blood from stagnating.” Find them HERE.
Another useful item is a travel pillow to help reduce strain on the neck. I’ve been traveling with my inflatable half-donut for a number of years and the only thing I have to recommend it is it deflates flat and does help. One concern is it doesn’t help at keeping your head up straight and that seems to be where the strain is.
Recently I found a straight line, bendable pillow that has a rigid center. It allows you to bend it so there is a higher point on one end that is supposed to support your head when wrapped behind the neck. Available HERE.
Masks and Nose Filters
Another concern with flying is getting trapped in that enclosed environment along with a number of people sneezing and coughing. It’s not uncommon to come down with a flu or cold within a few days of a long flight. One approach is to do what a lot of Asian flyers do and wear a face mask (with Covid that is getting much more acceptable). While it may seem odd to see an entire group exiting a plane wearing surgical masks, it does have a practical side. Another option is to use nose filters. They’re discreet little adhesive pads with HEPA filters that you stick to each nostril. There are several kinds with one called First Defense. You can find them on Amazon and Ebay. There are a number of competitors out there including 3M and WoodyKnows (also available from Amazon ) that claim to offer the same protection.
Sanitize Sanitize Sanitize
Another practice that has become common after the recent pandemic is using hand sanitizer. While airlines claim to sanitize the area around seats there’s no harm in doing a little sanitizing of your own. Spritz the trays, control panel and seat arms as a minimum.
Another lesson that now gets a lot more attention is keeping your hands off your face as much as possible. The most common way to catch and spread a virus is to give it access to your mucus membranes. Mouth, nose and especially your eyes, and it’s remarkably easy for your hands to pick up a bug off surfaces. In the case of most bugs they can’t gain access to your body without contacting a mucus membrane. Not touching your face is really important but washing your hands frequently is a must too.