So you’re bloated, your feet don’t fit in your shoes anymore and you’re coming down with a cold. What happened? You probably flew somewhere! Here are a few of the most common effects of flying, and how to avoid them.

First, let’s talk about how big your feet are. Gravity causes fluid to pool in our lower extremities. When you’re on the ground, that usually isn’t a problem because you get up and walk around and the excess fluid is redistributed. But in a cramped airplane seat – you may not move for 5 hours or more! That’s why it raises your risk of developing a blood clot. So make sure you get up every hour and move around for at least a minute. If you can’t for some reason, at least pump your feet like you’re stepping on the gas, rotate your ankles and lift your knees while seated.

Another problem that arises from flying? You get sick. It’s not only that you’re in a metal tube surrounded by other people’s germs. It’s also the dry cabin air – which is literally drier than the desert. The relative humidity in an airplane drops to nearly ZERO. And when your mucous membranes dry out, they can’t trap germs as well, and you’re more vulnerable to infection. So, not only should you pack sanitizing wipes in your carryon, you may want to pack a saline spray for your nose to avoid airborne germs.

Finally, why do we get so bloated and gassy on an airplane? You can thank air pressure. It causes gas to expand in the body. So avoid carbonated beverages and high-fiber foods, which will increase gas even more.

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