The Social Diary ~
on-line magazine covering High Society ..& more
Summer Travel In
the Social Diary Health Expert Columnist Ruth S.
Column #12, May 15th, 2006
“Summertime and the livin’
is easy” and the flying is hard and vacation time is just
around the corner. In fact, I’ve talked to more people who
are off on trips in May and June and flying off to join cruise
ships, river cruises, or to tour overseas. Inevitably lately the
subject of protecting one's health while traveling comes up and
people are investigating and investing in various items to protect
One of the items that more and more people
seem to be putting into their air travel carry-aboard luggage
is surgical masks. If this keeps up we won’t recognize anyone
aboard. The masks do help, however, to protect you in the low-oxygen
cabin environment. It would be terrific if all passengers on every
flight protected themselves by wearing a mask or dampened handkerchief
or both. Just put the dampened hankie inside the mask since layers
do help. The tightness of mask fit to the face is key. Like any
filter, if air can bypass it, it is no good no matter how efficient
you think it is. Another great idea is to bring along an extra
mask to offer to someone seated nearby who is coughing and sneezing.
Further, take along hand wipes and use
one before you eat and to wipe off the table or tray that your
food is placed upon.
Different kinds of air purification devices
are available and more passengers are bringing them along. The
most commonly used are air filters that work simply by trapping
microorganisms and particles from the air. But there are other
kinds that you may want to research. The one I see on flights
most often is a personal air purifier to protect your breathing
zone, is smaller than your cell phone and creates an electronic
shield around the wearer. It’s designed to just hang around
your neck and create a particle-free zone around the wearer of
approximately 20 inches in all directions. I’ve also seen
another model recently that sits between two people and is said
to provide clean air for two. It’s a bit larger and sits
on the arm rest.
Before you use your air purification device,
shut the overhead air vent above your seat in an airplane. Many
respiratory infections can circulate and be transmitted to you
through that vent, especially the common cold.
Support hose and medical compression stockings
are other good healthful travel choices. Both maintain circulation
in your legs, particularly useful on long flights, and may ward
off blood clots. Compression stockings are the only clinically
proven elastic stockings that have been shown to almost completely
remove the risk of contracting a deep vein thrombosis on a long
Even when wearing compression travel stockings,
it is important to exercise your legs during the flight. If you
are in an aisle seat and circumstances permit then walk up and
down the aisle. If you are unable to get out of your seat, you
should exercise your legs by alternately raising your heels and
pressing down on your toes and then raising your toes and pressing
down on your heels. Do this 25 times every half hour. It is better
not to fall asleep in a cramped position for hours at a time.
Further, you should drink plenty of water
and other non-alcoholic drinks during the flight. If you take
an alcoholic drink you should also consume at least twice the
volume of water or fruit juice. Likewise if you drink coffee you
should also consume extra water.
When traveling, it is vital that you pack
carefully and plan ahead to prevent illness. Don’t forget
to do the following:
*Bring all of your medications with you
and bring extra along just in case of delays. It’s best
to keep each prescription in its original bottle or box. Also
bring prescriptions with you that list both the brand and generic
names just in case your medications are lost or stolen and you
need to replace them in a foreign country. I also include several
kinds of anti-biotics for various ills as prescribed by my physician.
Then I can telephone her from wherever I am, describe my symptoms
and, if appropriate, she can tell me which to take, how frequently
and for how long.
*Create and bring along your basic first
aid kit. Include pain killers, decongestants, antibiotic ointment,
anti-diarrhea medications, bandages, and motion sickness medication
and whatever else you might require and take along extra glasses
or contact lenses as well as the prescription for them.
Ruth S. Jacobowitz is a
health advocate, lecturer, and the author of five consumer health
books and a lecturer on health matters. Her newest book
is Final Acts—a novel.
Visit Ruth at her web site www.ruthjacobowitz.com
Back to Buzz - May 15th
to New this Week.........Jacobowitz
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