Have you ever stepped off a plane feeling like you may be coming down with something? I know I have. It's not because we all coincidentally got sick at the same time. But rather, it's because of the low humidity on the plane.
When you're flying at around 30,000 feet in the air and you need fresh oxygen, the only supply that the plane can circulate in for you is dry. The humidity at altitudes that high are anywhere between 10-20 percent. Although aircraft technology is changing, that's still an enormous difference between the levels you feel at home (which are around 40-60 percent).
Low humidity can cause you to feel dehydrated and increases the possibility of getting sick. Luckily I've come up with ways to prevent illness, Here's a list of how I fight back against low humidity on a plane.
1. Stay hydrated.
The first thing you need to do to fight against the inevitable low humidity is to stay hydrated. The dry air in the plane draws moisture from wherever it can get some. Typically, that's from us since our bodies are 60 percent water. The water in our body starts to evaporate from our skin, eyes, and nose.
As there's no way to prevent this from happening, our next best step is to replenish the water we lost. For every hour you're on the plane, you should drink 8 ounces of water. I like to carry an empty refillable BPA-free water bottle with me and fill it up once I pass security.
While you can refill your water bottle on the plane with tap water, it's not something I recommend. Tap water on a plane is known for being filthy. The water goes through many passages before reaching the plane's water tanks. Other ways to get more water in your system is by eating fruits and vegetables and avoiding salty foods.
2. Use saline spray.
Dry, inflamed nasal passages is another side effect of riding on most planes. When your nasal passage dries out and your mucous membrane becomes irritated, you don't have the moisture barrier that was protecting you from germs and infections in the air anymore. Also, in low humidity environments, viruses float around in the air longer than they would in standard humidity environments.
All of these factors combined can leave you more prone to illnesses such as a cold and the flu. I use saline spray to resort the moisture that was lost and help protect myself from germs lingering in the air. A few sprays in each of my nostrils seems to always do the job.
3. Moisturize your skin.
If not taken care of, your skin will also suffer. Make sure to bring a travel-sized moisturizer with you. I like to bring argan oil with me because of the high amounts of vitamin E, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. It helps moisturize my skin and diminish any dry patches I might've had.
Fatty acids alone are good moisturizers because they help prevent your cells from dehydrating. Consider taking an omega-3 oil pill before traveling.
4. Use eye drops or wear glasses.
Dry eyes aren't something you want to experience. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also cause a disruption in the proper functions of your eyes. Carry some eye drops with you to help restore and maintain the moisture in your eyes.
If you wear contacts, make sure that the eye drops you're using are specifically for them. Also, wearing contacts can increase the sensation of dry eyes. Consider carrying your glasses along with you and wearing those on the flight.
5. Use steam.
Steam can help you recover some of the moisture you lost from both your skin and nose. One way you can use it by bringing a small, dry washcloth with you on the plane. Order hot water, then place the washcloth like a small tent over your beverage and your face. Make sure to breathe in the steam.
Though low humidity on planes sucks, if you take the right measures, you can fight back all the effects it might have on you. Figure out what method works best for you so you can start off your trip on a good note.