Precautions to be taken when on a long flight

If you go on long flights frequently, and do not travel business or first class, chances are you face health-related problems during the flight. We list the four most common problems faced by frequent air travellers:

Also known as the 'economy class syndrome', deep vein thrombosis in air travellers is a condition in which blood clots are formed in the veins due to a combination of immobilisation and dehydration. The highest risk group includes pregnant women, people with weak joints and the elderly. "Make sure to keep moving your muscles —exercise your calves and walk around in the aisles. Also, keep drinking lots of water as this condition is linked to dehydration," says Dr S K Aggarwal, internal medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. 

If you are travelling economy in a long flight, you are bound to have a backache during or by the time you get off it. "Back problems are the most common because economy class seats are not exactly very comfortable," says Dr Aggarwal. Support the curves in your lower back by placing a rolled-up airline pillow, towel or blanket between your back and the seat. Try sitting in a slightly reclined position, which can be less stressful on the spine. Keep getting up to walk and stretch the muscles. 

If you suffer from blood pressure, take your medications before you board. Avoid airline foods that are high on sodium (they will worsen high blood pressure) and carry fruit. "Listen to music or watch a movie to help you relax during the flight," says Dr Aggarwal. 

Avoid alcohol, coffee and tea as all these could dehydrate you. Also, avoid eating fatty foods before you board a long flight. "Carry fruit such as grapes and oranges, they will keep your body hydrated and keep you feeling light and fresh throughout the flight," says nutritionist Shikha Sharma. You can also carry nuts to munch on in the flight. Have light sandwiches and drink lots of water.

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