Few travelers are aware of the effects of long-distance flights on their bodies. Most think they’ll just experience jet lag at their destination. However, with COVID being an issue people are naturally concerned about how to stay healthy on a plane. Fortunately, there are ways to do it.
Start by checking all of your airline’s requirements for traveling, such as this quarantine guide and new fares at Cathay Pacific. In addition to that, there are a few simple steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling so that you will feel cooler, less bloated, and more energetic when you land.
First, let’s clear up some terms.
Difference Between Isolation and Quarantine?
People hear about needing to isolate or quarantine when they travel. Although both will restrict your movement, people should be isolated to prevent them from being exposed to confirmed cases of COVID.
Quarantine is the term used when people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are asked to stay at home or in the hospital until they are no longer infectious. If they have any doubts or confirmations about COVID-19 for traveling you can check airline and government’s quarantine guides. They may ask you to self-quarantine unless you are very sick and need to be hospitalized.
Can I Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Yes. However, all travel carries a certain risk of infection or spread of COVID-19. Before you travel, please check if COVID-19 is spreading in your area and where you travel. If you or your family member is sick, has symptoms of COVID-19, or has been with someone with COVID19 in the past 14 days, do not travel. Consider postponing all trips, including major trips to areas where infection rates are high. Consider postponing visits by family members or friends who are more likely to be infected with COVID-19.
Plan Your Air Travel Before Boarding
Before going on a trip, we often run ourselves ragged getting things accomplished. This is actually a bad idea. The lack of sleep and stress wears down your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to catching a cold or some other bug.
A week before your trip, start toning down your schedule. Being busy until right before you leave won’t make the vacation any better. In fact, if you get sick as a result, it will ruin that trip. Go calmly into your getaway to protect your overall health.
Air on the Plane
On the runway, the air on the aircraft feels clogged as it recirculates (through a high-efficiency HEPA particulate filter), so you will not smell the fuel. When you reach a high altitude, everything will change. Half of the 35,000 feet of air on the plane is external and completely sterile. The remaining air is filtered with high-efficiency HEPA particle filters and used in key areas of the hospital. Flight attendants do not get sick more often than others.
Entering/Exiting the Plane
Health experts say that due to overcrowding, the most dangerous part of air travel occurs before and after the flight when you’re on the plane and in close proximity to other passengers. (Airports can give you more space to get away from the crowds.)
As the plane becomes full, social distancing on the plane becomes more difficult. Even if you fly with the middle seat empty, you can still be within the range of other passengers in front of or behind you, and as people get situated they come into closer contact with one another.
Keep your mask on and know exactly what you need and where it is so that you can get seated as quickly as possible. After the flight, take the suitcase from the luggage carousel and leave the airport.
Use of Masks
Full face masks must be worn on airplanes, buses, trains, and other public transportation within or outside the United States, as well as in transportation hubs in the United States. In the open area of the vehicle (for example, on the open deck of a ferry or on the open deck of a bus), passengers do not need to wear a mask depending on local guidelines.
Shared Surface Cleaning
Once upon a time, there was no need to clean personal space on an airplane. After the coronavirus, health professionals now recommend this practice. It is not clear how long the coronavirus will last. It can survive on the surface of objects, but CDC has not ruled out the possibility of contracting the coronavirus by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching the surface of objects with the virus.
Ways to Relieve Stress
Managing stress and anxiety is important for both your overall health, and for traveling safely. Healthy eating, exercise, and adequate sleep help us reduce the effects of stress and anxiety on the body. So, before you fly try to eat well and get enough rest so that you’re in good form when you travel.
Anxious on the plane? Remembering and recognizing the good in our lives is a very positive action that can help reduce stress. Be grateful for what we have — our health, our family, our home, food, etc. — instead of focusing on negative things or elements that induce stress. Active breathing and a meditation app might also help.
Staying dehydrated is essential to overall health. The amount of water we need depends on our age, weight, gender, height, physical activity, and environmental conditions (ie hot weather may require you to drink more water). So, listen to your body and drink up.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
Even if you are struggling with anxiety and think that alcohol can calm your nerves, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol when traveling. The reasons include dehydration due to alcohol in an already dry environment, and because of the reduced oxygen content in the air, alcohol has a greater impact on people. It can also impact jet lag. Drink water and decaffeinated beverages until you reach your destination.
Why Does COVID-19 Intensify Travel Fear?
The typical fear of travel tends to predict the worst (think about car accidents, missed flights, or lost passports). Although these events are hardly based on facts or data, COVID-19 exists, so the more you travel, the greater the risk of contracting the virus.
The best course of action is to pre-plan the elements of your travel, try to remain as healthy and relaxes as you can before leaving, and rest on the plane as much as possible. Being thoughtful is one of the easiest and smartest ways for how to stay healthy on a plane.