The day I was to fly to Los Angeles (via New York) from Abu Dhabi, I woke up with an itchy throat. And watery eyes. Uh – oh.
Well I couldn’t possibly postpone this trip. I knew what made me sick though. Hello? Let me count the ways. Just the day before, I was screaming my lungs out riding the world’s fastest roller coaster, and earlier that day I was melting and boiling under the sun’s full blast in the world’s 8th largest temple. Not to mention that a couple of days before that, I just literally rolled down a sand hill ala dead-log. All were mighty mighty fun! But my body and insides were telling me I’m not invincible.
And with all the constant building construction plus dessert surroundings and dry heat exposure in UAE, it wasn’t really a surprise that my throat wasn’t too happy. Not to mention that I also flew in from London, where the weather wasn’t cold but definitely much cooler than the UAE.
By the first 3 hours into the flight, my voice was completely gone.
Well guess what, I landed in LA alive and kicking. Though not in tip-top shape, I still managed to continue my adventures without taking a ‘day off’ !
So here are my tips on how to survive a long-haul flight when you are sick.
1.) Try to get an upgrade. This alone, will up your chances about 80% of getting better (or preventing your sickness from worsening). I was extremely fortunate to have been upgraded to Business Class on this flight (thank you, Etihad!) If you cannot get an upgrade, try asking on check-in if there are multiple seat rows that are vacant. That works just as well. Anything to get your body lying fully flat, closest to being in a bed as possible. And if you’re extremely fortunate to just purchase a business or first class ticket without having to get an upgrade, well it’s going to be a very favourable journey to wellness for you.
|D-I-Y business class! Left-Economy Class: All 4 seats to myself , Philippine Airlines Sydney to Manila
Right- Business Class, Etihad Airways New York to Abu Dhabi
2.) Take lots of fluids. No cold drinks. The hotter the better. I’m sounding like your mother but this really does help. The very kind Etihad flight attendant proactively kept on filling me up with hot green tea thoughout the 11 hour flight. Don’t even think about drinking sodas or juice. Hot tea is best. Good old water (warm or at least room temperature) is second best.
3.) Eat sparingly. Now is not the time to fill yourself up. No matter what kind of sickness you have, be it the respiratory one or the digestive one (its usually either of the 2 right?), it will be a world of greater pain if you eat a full meal. I’m not saying starve yourself. Stick to meals that are easy to digest. Eat smaller, lighter (less complex), frequent meals. I had creamed asparagus soup for lunch on this ‘sick flight’ plus crackers. And it was more than enough.
|I was craving big time for chicken noodle soup! The next best thing on air.|
4.)Airborne is one of the best inventions ever. To me this tablet-turned-fizzy-drink is God-sent! It’s not available here in Australia. This is one of the things I stock up on when I go to the US. Here in Australia, Berocca comes close. It’s not as miraculous as Airborne but it will do.
I have to say that you should not take these regularly. Your body should still exercise its natural immune system. But I take it on days and situations where I need to get up and jumping ASAP.
On a regular basis, I take horseradish and garlic pills. But they won’t do if your flu/cold is already full set. Airborne and Berocca are best taken on the FIRST SIGNS of getting sick such as watery eyes and itchy throat. Though I didn’t have packets and tablets of these on this particular flight, it still is my go-to formula if I want to be well ASAP. A tall glass of Airborne or Berocca + Powersleep = Alive and kicking.
|the wonder drink- Airborne.|
5.) SLEEP!!No matter how many drugs you took, or how much fluid you have ingested, you need to sleep to let your body repair itself. Don’t even be tempted to watch in-flight movies. Believe it or not as tempting as it was to watch the latest movies on this flight on the Business class entertainment system, I just slept my way throughout the flight, waking up only to eat, drink, and go to the lavatory.
And with plenty of fluids to drink, there were plenty of toilet breaks for me too. And still managed to get sick-vanity shots:
When I arrived in LA, I was still woozy but I was up and about the very next day, albeit having a bedroom-raspy voice.
Do you have any other tips for travelling when you are sick? Let me know, as I think I’ll be requiring those tips often! (flu season coming in to Australia soon)