There are four categories of flight lengths: the short-haul flight which is under three hours; the medium-haul that could be not less than three hours but not more than six hours; the long-haul that is around 6 to 12 hours; and the ultra long-haul which is over 12 hours long.
For some people who love to go on flights, a 6-hour long flight (or more) is not a problem. They will just tell you that they only sleep through the whole trip. However, having these long-haul flights is not a joke. You could face serious health problems within and/or after it.
Here are some of the problems you might encounter during long-haul flights:
1. Air Sickness
This is a challenge for people with motion sickness during flights. Symptoms consisted of nausea, vomiting and sometimes spatial disorientation.
If you know you suffer from this sickness, here are some tips to help you:
- make sure that you drink a lot of water before your flight, limit your alcohol intake and avoid heavy meals.
- you might be very excited about your trip, but you need to have a good rest before your flight (at least try to).
- take a motion sickness pill at least an hour before your flight
- during flight, avoid your head tilted forward most of the times when looking on your phone or tablets. Try not to focus on the screen too close to your face or eyes.
- use the headrest and settle your back on your seat
- listen to music
We are told that we need to drink plenty of fluid in a day. but during a long flight, we might not meet that requirement due to lack of activities as we usually sleep throughout the trip. Aside from the fact that the circulating air in an aircraft cabin is kept dry.
To prevent this, you must:
- drink plenty of fluids before and during the flight.
- avoid drinking alcoholic drinks before or during flights.
3. In-flight Flatulence
The accumulation of gasses generated in the intestines or stomach is a common discomfort everywhere we are. We usually get this during flights when we eat or drink, and our digestive system does not function very well due to being sedentary for a long period of time. Another reason might be because of the pressure when inside an aircraft while flying. Think about an empty bottle that you have while on your flight. After you’ve gone off the plane, you will notice that the bottle is quite bloated, same goes to our body.
But farting in public is embarrassing so we tend to hold it, as long as we can. This is not good, especially for very old people that might give a problem to their cardiac function.
What to do:
- eat slowly because the faster you eat; the more air gets inside your stomach and will make you feel bloated.
- release it! (At least go in the toilet to save yourself from embarrassment and for other passengers to have a peaceful flight).
4. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
This might not apply to everyone but it is good to be aware about it. Also known as “Traveler’s Thrombosis” or “Economy Class Syndrome” is a condition in which a blood clot (thrombus) is formed in a deep vein in a leg due to sitting for a long period. This could be painful in the affected area as it swells and could be fatal when the part of the clot breaks off and flows into the lungs.
To prevent this:
- stretch your legs regularly and do some mobility exercises; walk around the cabin once in a while.
- take short naps instead of very long hours of sleep to prevent inactivity.
5. Jet Lag
I would say that this is the most challenging if you are traveling to the other side of the world. Our Circadian Rhythm a.k.a. “body clock,” which is responsible for our sleeping pattern will be messed up leading to insomnia and total tiredness. Some people may experience nausea and vomiting after the flight. Personally, I suffered from this, and I’ve been sick the whole trip from the airport to our house. Adjustment period may take three days to one week until you get to sleep well at night.
Jet lag is something you can’t avoid but here are tips that could help:
- have a good rest before your departure to lessen tiredness.
- relax your body and mind during the flight.
- if you arrived at your destination at daytime, try not to sleep right away. And do your best to sleep during night time.
Long flights may not be as exciting as we thought it could be, but what’s important is for us to get to our destination safe. Just make yourself comfortable during your flight, try to relax and look forward to what’s waiting for you there (unless it’s work of course).
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and these problems were based on my experiences, and some people that I knew. Some information was thoroughly researched from different websites.
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