Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Air Travel

Air Travel

Healthy considerations during air travel

Air travel has become so commonplace, that many people think of it as routine as taking the bus was in years past. However, particularly on longer flights, air travel may pose some discomforts you should be aware of. The following are tips, which are especially useful for those traveling internationally, those who may be on airplanes for long periods of time, or passengers crossing multiple time zones.

Tips for making air travel more comfortable and more safe:

Relieving pain in your ears during air travel:

Relieving motion sickness during air travel:

Other healthy tips to consider during air travel:

Tips for preventing jet lag

Rapid travel across several time zones disturbs normal body rhythm and produces many physical and psychological stresses on the body. Commonly referred to as jet lag, the medical term is "circadian dysrhythmia," and while this rarely causes any severe problems, you may be uncomfortable for a few days before your body adjusts to your new time zone. The symptoms are usually worse when flying long distances in a west-to-east direction.

What are the symptoms of jet lag?

The following are the most common symptoms of jet lag. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of jet lag may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a doctor for diagnosis.

How long does it take to recover from jet lag?

The rule of thumb is that generally for west-to-east trips, it takes one day to recover for each time zone you crossed. For east-to-west trips, one day is required for each one and a half time zones crossed.

Some people like to break up a long trip with a stopover to help themselves adjust to the new time zone to which they are traveling. It is also a good idea to build in an extra day or two of low-key activities to help compensate for jet lag.

Is there any way to prevent jet lag?

There is nothing that eliminates jet lag entirely. The following tips will, however, help to minimize its effects and help you to recover more quickly:

What is important to know about aircraft disinsection?

If you are traveling internationally, you should be aware that, in some countries, aircraft passenger compartments are sprayed with insecticide while passengers are on board. This is done to prevent the importation of mosquitoes and other insects from one country to another. While the World Health Organization has determined these procedures to be safe, they may aggravate certain health conditions, such as allergies, asthma, and certain respiratory disorders.

Countries where disinsection generally takes place include those in Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, and the South Pacific regions. For more information about disinsection procedures, contact your travel agent or airline.

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Online Resources of Travel Medicine


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