Being seated for a long time, such as on flights longer than about four hours, may increase the
risk of developing blood clots in the veins in your legs (also known as deep vein thrombosis or
DVT). Some airlines provide information in their in-flight magazine or entertainment system on
exercises you can do in your seat to try and reduce the risk. You should try to walk up and down
the aisles from time to time, when the seat belt signs are off and it is safe to do so as well as
doing these exercises. Some people are at increased risk of DVT and may need to speak to their
doctor before travel about additional precautions, such as compression stockings (‘flight socks’)
The air in the aircraft cabin is often quite dry (because it has low humidity) and this can lead
to your lips, nose, eyes and skin feeling tight, dry or uncomfortable. Contact lens wearers may
find that they need to remove their lenses. The dry atmosphere does not lead to dehydration and you
do not need to drink extra water.
On most aircraft, some of the cabin air is re-circulated. The re-circulated air is filtered
before re-entering the cabin and does not carry bacteria or viruses. Like any public place where
people are in close contact with one another, germs can easily be spread on aircraft. If you have
an infection you may spread this to passengers seated around you particularly if you have a cough.
Be considerate – avoid travel if you are unwell and if you do develop a cough while travelling,
make sure that you cover your mouth when coughing, dispose of any tissues safely and wash your
It is often said that alcohol has a greater effect when you are flying, but there is no
scientific evidence that this is the case. There is no harm in enjoying one or two drinks on your
flight, but don't overdo it: no one likes a drunk on board an aircraft; you don't want to arrive at
your destination with a hangover; and if you cause problems by being disruptive, you are likely to
be met by police when the aircraft lands.
Consider taking a small-sized hand-wash gel on the plane to clean your hands before eating (be
careful with the size due to limits on liquids in hand luggage).
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