Don’t let jet lag bring you down!
The truth is that air travel can pose a number of health risks. In fact, some studies suggest that at least one out of every five people who fly suffer from a cold or flu after the flight.
When the physical and mental stresses of flying are combined with the inevitable indulgences of of the holidays it can be a recipe for disaster.
Thankfully, there are some simple strategies you can use to avoid getting sick from air travel. That way you can enjoy your family and friends and get back home feeling healthy and strong.
Humans are not designed to be 30,000 feet up in the air. The air at this altitude runs around 6-10 percent humidity. This is less humidity than a desert! For perspective, humans are most comfortable and healthy at around 50% humidity.
The lack of moisture in the air draws water out of our bodies leading to dehydration. One of the first systems to be affected by dehydration is the mucociliary clearance system. This refers to the mucus membranes lining the nostrils, ears, throat, and digestive tract to begin to dry up. These mucosal layers are our first line of defense against invasive pathogens. When it begins to dry up we become far more susceptible to infectious disease.
In order to prevent this from happening it is important to stay hydrated on your flight. Drink at least one full liter of filtered water before you board. Drink another liter or more during your flight (depending on length of transit). This means you will probably have to use the restroom more. However, despite the inconvenience, getting up to use the lavatory during a flight is actually a good thing.
You may be familiar with the increased risk of blood clots on long flights. Statistics show that long distance air travel can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) by up to four times! DVT refers to blood clots that most often form in the legs. These clots are a result of poor circulation and lack of movement.
Usually these clots will disintegrate without causing symptoms. Yet, on occasion, they will dislodge and lead to arterial blockage and possibly death.
To avoid DVT make sure to move regularly during a flight. Get up to use the restroom, walk around the cabin, and have a good stretch. Even switching up your position in your seat can help prevent clotting. One good excuse for moving around the cabin is to go wash your hands.
It may sound trite, but one of the best ways to stay healthy on an airplane is washing your hands. The hands are the most likely place that we will pick up pathogens while traveling. Arm rests, door handles, window shades, magazines, seat back pockets, and AC knobs all harbor thousands of potentially pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
In addition to taking trips to the bathroom to wash your hands with soap and water, it can also be smart to bring antibacterial gel or wipes with you. That way you can mitigate possible infection without getting up to wash your hands every time you lower the window shade.
We have all heard of jet lag. But what is it exactly that causes jet lag? Jet lag is a result of a disruption to the body’s circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm can be thought of as the “body clock.” This clock is present in every cell of the body and is controlled by the master clock in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN uses signals from the environment to determine what time of day it is. This information is used to direct the activities of the body to synchronize with the wake-sleep cycle.
Certain bodily functions and hormone fluctuations occur in the morning to wake us up and prepare the body for the activities of the day. Other bodily functions prepare the body for rest, repair, and detoxification during sleep. When we fly long distances we disrupt these cycles and confuse the body clock leading to a weakened immune system and increased susceptibility to disease.
The signals that control our circadian rhythm include light, temperature, and food consumption. The most important of these is light.
To avoid jet lag you can make sure to get a few minutes of sun exposure in the new time zone after your flight. This works best if you take off any sunglasses or eye glasses so the full spectrum light can enter the eye. Also, expose as much of your skin as possible to the sun for the immune benefits of vitamin D production
The number one way we are exposed to pathogens is through food. While the food on the plane or in the airport might not necessarily be contaminated, it is most likely less than healthy. Most airplane food is made with low quality ingredients which will lead to inflammation and decreased immune function.
Additionally, the airplane tray tables don’t get thoroughly cleaned between flights and therefore harbor copious amounts of bacteria and viruses. So you probably want to avoid eating on a plane.
For these reasons it is best to either fast during air travel or to eat a healthy and easily digestible meal at home before you leave. This way your body can focus on protecting your from pathogens instead of struggling to digest an egg mcmuffin or cinnabon.
If you will be on a long flight and feel like you will need sustenance you can bring your own food. Green and Red Supremefood sachets are portable and can be easily added to water for on-the-go nourishment rich in immune boosting vitamins and minerals.
You can also get the health effects of fasting without fatigue by using Instant Ketones. This supplement provides the body with a fuel source called ketones which will keep you energized without having to consume sugar.
To keep your immune system in strong it is important to have a few particular nutrients. Vitamin D is crucial for immune health taking up to 10,000 IUs of vitamin D before a flight can vastly improve your immune function.
Another important nutrient to supplement is Q10. This will aid in mitochondrial function which is the basis for energy production in every cell of your body. This will help mitigate the excess radiation exposure from air travel.
You can also you MCT oil capsules to help kill unwanted bacteria and yeasts in the digestive system and provide the body with mitochondrial energy to help boost immune function.
By implementing just one or two of these strategies, you can easily prevent most jet lag and sickness caused by air travel. The holidays are a time for family, friends, food, and fun. But if you get sick and have jet lag it can be a lot more difficult to enjoy the festivities.
If you do get sick this holiday season, or just overindulge during your holiday feasts, you can find expert guidance on detoxification and rejuvenation at www.DivineHealthDetox.com. There you can join our FREE 21 Day Detox program complete with recipes, shopping lists, and informational videos.