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Long-haul flight: advice from a specialist to overcome inconvenience during the trip

Stressed at the idea of ​​boarding a plane for several hours? Even if the game is worth the candle, a long trip on board an aircraft at altitude can be uncomfortable. Jacques Laurac, aeronautical doctor referent of the FFA (Fédération Française Aéronautique), gives us his tips for living well these few hours and better supporting your neighbors and the turbulence.

How to dress for a long-haul flight?

Living well on your long-haul flight begins well before boarding, when choosing your outfit: Jacques Laurac recommends wearing light, non-binding and warm clothes. Indeed, the temperature on board planes is often cool, due to the cabin altitude, around 2,500 meters.

Once installed, it is also possible to remove your shoes, but it is better not to stay in your socks! Instead, opt for slippers that compress the foot a little, otherwise you risk not being able to fit your feet, which will have swollen in your shoes on landing.

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Is it useful to wear compression stockings on a long-haul flight?

To stay in the clothing category, the aeronautical doctor recommends that all passengers wear compression stockings, whether they have a venous pathology or not. “Prolonged sitting can lead to blood stasis”, he explains. Wearing compression stockings will compress the veins and thus prevent possible phlebitis, which can lead to a pulmonary embolism.

Move on board the plane, a necessity

In general, you should avoid standing still on a long-haul flight, and get up to walk about every two hours, if conditions allow. A dozen round trips in the aisles would thus relieve his venous system.

“Every hour, you also have to remember to move your ankles, raising and lowering your feet regularly for a good five minutes”recommends the aeronautical doctor. “Blood only circulates when you’re in motion, so we start with the ankles and then move on to quick full-leg flexes and extensions. We also don’t neglect the upper limbs – shoulder rolls and kicks. rotation of the head are required. The whole venous system is thus in operation, which promotes blood circulation”assures Jacques Laurac.

Finally, if business class passengers have a small advantage, that of lying down, all passengers must bear in mind that they must keep their legs stretched out as much as possible, by tilting their seat in particular. You can also bring a neck strap to relieve the neck.

What to eat and drink on board a long-haul flight?

Even more than on dry land, what you ingest on board an airplane is essential. To avoid dehydration, remember to drink at least half a liter of water every 3 hours, and avoid soft drinks. Indeed, when you go up in altitude, the gases distend, and the more you drink carbonated drinks, the more you distend your stomach and intestine.

Even if a plane trip can be stressful, we also forget the small glass of alcohol to relax, because alcohol promotes dehydration. On the other hand, we favor salads and fruits, such as oranges, to hydrate and thin our blood. We will also make sure to eat light, for example by skipping the traditional bread and butter on the meal tray, and skipping the cheese / dessert stage.

Can contact lenses be worn on a long-haul flight?

As the air is particularly dry in the cabin, Jacques Laurac recommends people with sight problems to wear glasses rather than contact lenses on a long-haul flight. To overcome the phenomenon of dehydration, you can also take a small mister in your bag or hand luggage, recommends the specialist. A moisturizer for the skin and a lip balm will not be luxury either!

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How to prevent the phenomenon of clogged ears on the plane?

Finally, regardless of the duration of the flight, a very unpleasant phenomenon can occur on the plane, that of blocked ears. There is a solution, however, reassures Jacques Laurac: chewing gum, to be chewed as soon as you get on the plane, before takeoff, and when you attack the descent, on landing.

If that’s not enough, you can also perform a Valsalva maneuver, which consists of pinching your nose with your fingers, breathing hard while closing your mouth, the goal being to exhale air towards the fallopian tubes. Eustace.

Finally, if you have sinusitis when taking your flight, or if you have sensitive ears, Jacques Laurac recommends taking preventive anti-inflammatories – one tablet before taking off and one tablet two hours before landing.

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