South Africa

Health Onboard Aircraft

Jet Lag

When you travel across time zones, you can experience jet lag. Jet lag is hard to avoid, but one tip is to get some sleep during your flight. Try to avoid alcohol as it upsets sleep patterns. Once you land, adopt local time immediately. Although it is not always easy if you are on a business trip, try to avoid any commitments in the first couple of days if you can, so that your body can get used to the time.

Motion Sickness

To help avoid motion sickness, eat lightly and drink lots of fluids while flying to prevent dehydration. If you start to feel sick, try to keep your head still, drop your seat back and close your eyes. Anti- sickness tablets can be taken half an hour before a flight and four to six hourly thereafter, if required.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

DVT is a blood clot which forms in the veins within the leg muscles, especially the calf. People with heart disease or the elderly are especially at risk, periods of prolonged leg inactivity can trigger this ailment. Pain and tenderness in the leg muscles, redness and swelling of the skin are main symptoms of DVT. If you experience any of these symptoms, let cabin staff know immediately. While flying it is advised that you keep exercising your leg muscles; take little walks around the cabin every hour or so if you can. While seated, perform a few simple exercises as shown on this site.

Changes in Cabin Pressure

Minor pressure adjustments occur within the aircraft cabin during take off and landing. Passengers sometimes experience ‘blocked’ ears, which can range from mild discomfort to very painful. Try sucking on boiled sweets, this can often help. If this does not help you can perform the Valsalva Manoeuvre - hold your nose and blow, which ‘pops’ your ears, this should cause instant relief.

Stressed whilst Flying

Many people get nervous when they fly, relaxation techniques can help to relieve stress. Put your seat in the recline position; close your eyes and breathe in gradually, as you count slowly to three. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then breath out gradually, counting to three.