Healthy air travel

Flying can be a hazardous business – not from a safety point of view – but in terms of your health.

Sometimes you can catch a bug on the plane and spend most of your well-earned holiday in bed. There are many ways of easing the effects of a long flight, so that you can arrive feeling like a human being.  Although the incidences of deep vein thrombosis are quite rare, this can also be a side-effect of flying, particularly on long flights.

Before the flight

  • Find out if the airport you’re flying from has any spa, gym or other exercise facilities. There may be a small charge but it gets you off to a flying start!
  • Get to the airport early to book your seat so that you can sit in the most comfortable and convenient position.
  • Wear loose comfy clothes such as track suit bottoms and sweatshirts – there’s no reason to look smart on a ‘plane.
  • Pack a toothbrush, and other essentials in your hand luggage so you can freshen up in the tiny toilet!

Anxiety and stress

Going away can be stressful because there is so much to do beforehand. Some people have a fear of flying and get in a state about it. Often they find it hard to relax on a ‘plane.

The air conditioning can make people feel a bit light-headed, have a headache or feel slightly sick.

  • Fear: Bach Flower Rescue Remedy helps anyone who is scared of flying or generally anxious to calm down – a few drops on the tongue can be very calming.
  • Feet: Put a cooling peppermint foot lotion on your feet to keep them from swelling up.
  • Water: Try to drink water more than anything else. Rather than waiting for the drinks trolley to come round, carry your own water so that you can drink when you like.
  • Drinks: Avoid coffee, caffeine in soft drinks and alcohol because they dehydrate the body.
  • Food: Take a few snacks with you, so that you can eat when you need to rather than when the meals are provided.
  • Nausea: If you feel sick or headachey take the homeopathic remedy Nux vom. It can help you sleep too.
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DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

The problem is worse in economy class because your legs haven’t got so much room. The longer the flight the greater the risk is, because legs are cramped up for much longer.

DVT is a medical emergency and if there is no doctor on the plane it is essential to visit one as soon as the plane lands.

Symptoms of DVT :

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness in the calves
  • Redness
  • Fever

People who are particularly at risk are:

  • pregnant women
  • anyone with a history of blood clots
  • very tall people
  • overweight people
  • women taking the contraceptive pill
  • anyone who gets dehydrated while on board.

Other ways to prevent DVT:

Exercise :

  • Before going on board and during any stops the plane makes, walk around a lot. It isn’t advisable to sit still for several hours before a long flight.
  • Once in your seat take off your shoes and wiggle your toes about. If possible simulate walking with your feet or lifting them up and down one by one. Squeeze and relax muscles throughout the body regularly.
  • Get up as often as you can and walk around the plane. One excuse is to keep going to the loo so that you’re moving around!
  • Some airlines offer exercise programmes or massages. Take advantage if you can!


  • Take your own water and drink it whenever you’re offered drinks – a couple of glasses of wine with a meal is fine, but more might make you more at risk;
  • Elasticated support stockings can prevent the risk of DVT – buy from department stores, chemists and supermarkets;
  • Take off shoes when you get on the ‘plane to prevent feet swelling up;
  • Try a supplement like VascularGuard that provides antioxidants to support the blood vessels and cardiovascular system to prevent DVT.
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Depending on what time of year you fly, there are often people around you coughing and sneezing. Try as you might to resist them, the body gets worn down during the flight and it becomes harder to fight off germs which are circulating.

There are several ways of fighting bugs:

  • If the flight is not full and you’re near someone who keeps spluttering germs, ask to be moved!
  • Take the herbal remedy Echinacea on the day before, and during a flight to boost the immune system and makes your resistance stronger during a long flight.
  • Make sure hands are clean and coat the inside of your nostrils with either olive, jojoba or almond oil to prevent germs getting in through tiny cracks inside your nose!
  • At the risk of looking strange, cover your face with a cotton handkerchief which has been soaked in water, or better still, buy an airline mask! Both help to stop you breathing in bacteria and viruses.
  • Drink plenty of water and use it to take your potions!
  • Take Vitamin C before the trip and during to protect against colds.


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Easing jet lag

Tiredness, depression, lack of concentration, constipation, and disturbed sleep are common problems as the body clock adjusts to the time difference and the long flight.

Some people suffer more than others and people who travel all the time on business don’t seem to be too affected. This could be because most of them travel in first or business class and have more room to stretch out and sleep! The more sleep you get, the better you are likely to feel.

To try to ease your jetlag:

  • Take Siberian Ginseng, an energising herb, for several weeks before the journey to make your body capable of dealing with jetlag.
  • Take homeopathic Arnica tablets to cope with the shock of travelling from one side of the world to another.
  • If sleep is going to be seriously disturbed and you are effectively missing a night, take the homeopathic remedy Cocculus every four hours from the beginning of the journey.
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On arrival

It isn’t always possible to time it, but experts say that you feel better if you arrive at your destination late afternoon or early evening.

  • For instance if you fly to New York and it’s 3 p.m. your body clock is on 8 p.m.
  • It is a good idea to have a light evening meal, go to bed around 9.30 to 10 and get a decent night’s sleep.

The worst thing to do is get completely out of sync with the country you are in and be sleeping during the day and reading your book at 3 a.m!

  • If you arrive early and need to stay awake, or if you’ve had a couple of hours’ nap and have the rest of the day ahead of you, have a long bath with a few drops of any of these aromatherapy oils in it: grapefruit, rosemary, juniper, lemongrass.
  • Before going to bed have a bath with a few drops of lavender, geranium, neroli or sandalwood oils in to help you to sleep.
  • If you’re feeling depressed and negative because of disorientation and tiredness try Bach Flower Remedy, Olive;
  • Often the mind is buzzing when you have just arrived in a new country-  Bach Flowers White Chestnut helps to stop thoughts going round and round;
  • Enjoy a good massage at your destination to soothe away jet lag and put you back on form.
  • Spend some time outside and get some exercise.
  • Keep drinking lots of water.
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