Every frequent flyer knows the health perils involved in taking to
the skies. No, not the chances of a crash or a terrorist attack, we're
talking about the recycled human exhaust, the prison-grade food, and
the super-germs that lurk in the bathrooms. Given that all this is common
knowledge, it's surprising how few people do anything to limit the impact
of this toxic environment. Here are a few simple steps that can help
you stay healthy and, equally important, look great when you arrive
at your destination.
Step 1: Prepare for Take-Off Before your trip, make sure to
boost your immune system with healthy eating, vitamins, Echinacea/Goldenseal,
or whatever health supplements you trust. Get plenty of rest, too. The
common practice of running yourself down so you can sleep on the flight
is counterproductive. Everyone packs for the trip, but few people pack
for the plane. Bring your own food, water, comfortable shoes, a sweater,
and other provisions discussed below.
Step 2: Don't Touch Anything! Planes are beyond filthy. Bring
a packet of anti-bacterial wipes and clean your hands before you eat
anything or put your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth. When you
use the bathroom, use a paper towel to touch handles and use your own
wipes to wash your hands.
Step 3: Drink Like Crazy Unfortunately, we're not talking about
cute little bottles of booze; we're talking about water. Drinking alcohol
dehydrates you and the air in planes is already way too dry. You want
to stay hydrated with lots of bottled water. Many people don't know
that there are no standards on airlines for water quality. Luckily,
many airlines now hand out bottled water. Just in case, pack your own.
Step 4: Bring Your Own Environment Personal air purifiers,
gizmos that you wear around your neck, are a great way to keep some
of the cruddy cabin air at bay while giving you a constant dose of moist,
ionized air. This treated air can make you feel a lot more energized
and awake at the end of your trip. You'll look like a dork, but it's
worth the sartorial shortcomings. Be advised that these devices can
irritate some people's sinuses, so your mileage may vary. For long, time-zone-hopping
flights, sound-canceling headphones can cut down on jetlag. These phones
block out unwanted cabin and jet engine noise (which can contribute
to fatigue). Bring your own CD player (or laptop) and the music you
enjoy rather than relying on the poor selection and sound quality of
Step 5: Primp for Landing Most women already know the benefits
of moisturizers, but few guys ever touch the stuff. On a plane, you
should. Right before your flight lands, moisturizer your face and hands
- it's a great way to freshen up. You should also carry a good eye cream
for grueling flights that leave bags and dark circles. Carry some eye
drops, too. Even if your eyes aren't particularly bloodshot, they will
At first, you may feel like a Howard Hughes wannabe swabbing down
the cabin with wipes and lugging around your cabin-health carry-on bag.
But it'll all be worth it the first time you feel like a human being
rather than a side of beef as you head to that big meeting.