Dr. M.J. Bazos,
How can I improve plane travel?
Most people don't have any
problems when they fly, but it's possible to make airplane travel safer and more
comfortable. Here are some tips:
- Carry enough of all of your medicines in your
carry-on luggage. Ask your doctor if you should change your dosages if your
eating and sleeping times will change at your destination. Bring enough medicine
to last your whole trip. Take extra medicine with you in case your return trip
- If you have diabetes or epilepsy, carry a Medic
- Have the name and phone number of your doctor
with you in case of an emergency. Remember to bring along the names and dosages
of all of your medicines.
- Since the air in airplanes is very dry, drink
nonalcoholic, decaffeinated beverages and water so you don't get dehydrated.
What can I do about jet
- Get plenty of sleep before you leave.
- Don't drink a lot of alcohol.
- Eat well-balanced meals.
- Avoid overeating.
- Exercise as much as you can on your trip.
- Use sleep medicines for only a few days.
- Get used to a new time zone by going along with
the local meal and bedtime schedules.
Melatonin may help with jet
lag, but no one knows how long it can be used safely. Tell your doctor if you
plan to take melatonin or any other herbal medicines.
What about pain in my ears?
If you usually have ear pain while
flying, try taking a decongestant medicine before you get on the plane the next
time you travel. You can also swallow often and chew gum during the flight.
Babies can suck on a bottle or a pacifier during the flight. These tips work
better if you try them before your ears start to hurt.
What else should I do?
Even healthy people can get blood
clots in their legs after long flights. Try to walk every now and then during
your flight (unless the crew tells you not to). It also helps to drink enough
water, to stretch your calf muscles while you're sitting and to wear support
If your doctor wants you to
take oxygen when you travel, remember to tell the airline about this way ahead
of your flight. The airline will provide oxygen for you, for a
Federal air regulations don't
allow you to carry your own oxygen unit on a plane. You'll have to make
arrangements ahead of time for oxygen at your destination and also for layovers
between flights. You can also arrange for special meals or a wheelchair ahead of
time, if needed.
It's dangerous to fly
right after scuba diving. You'll need to wait 12 to 24 hours after diving. Ask
your doctor or diving authorities for guidelines on flying after scuba diving.