Long-haul air travelers gain comfort from new product

During long periods of time in the sky, air travelers of all ages can experience an increased accumulation of liquid in the legs. Slowing of blood circulation creates a feeling of discomfort, heaviness and swelling, often referred to as Economy Class Syndrome. Travel compression socks offer some relief but a new alternative product looks to be even better.

Fresh Legs Compression Socks and Leg Sleeves, offered by a Miami travel compression apparel company, is a new product with the same benefits of traditional travel compression socks, but footless, allowing them to work with open toe shoes and sandals.

The new product makes use of graduated compression putting the greatest amount of compression in the bottom part of the garment and the least amount of compression in the top portion. The result improves circulation and enhances blood flow, making travel more comfortable.

Different than what might be described as “old lady” socks, these US-made Fresh Legs products are available in over 15 colors including purple, neon pink, yellow, green and two tie-dyed options.

Flickr photo by Hyougushi

Should you postpone your travel plans when ill?

The recent incident involving the woman who died mid-air has drawn attention to travelers who choose to fly when seriously ill. CNN ran an article offering advice for those who fly while sick, and to summarize, they advise against it. I consider myself a student of remote medicine and medical care with limited resources, and I am finding it difficult to think of a more remote, under-equipped location than a commercial airliner at 30,000 feet.

The CNN article discussed a company called MedAire and their advice to consider postponing flight plans when ill. The basic theory is that if someone is sick on the ground, their condition will likely be exacerbated by the cabin pressure, making them worse. MedAire reports that they receive approximately 50 in-flight calls per day from pilots with sick passengers and documented 97 on-board deaths for 2007.

Federal law requires that all US commercial airliners carry basic medical supplies including an AED (automatic external defibrillator), oxygen and a basic medical kit. The purpose of the AED is to detect a lethal cardiac arrhythmia and deliver a lifesaving shock, that hopefully converts the heart to a safe rhythm. The contents of the medical kit vary, but generally include aspirin, nitroglycerin, alcohol swabs, anti-histamines, broncho-dilators, epinephrine, dextrose, a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, shears and IV tubing with saline fluid. The article also points out that although flight attendants have training in handling in-flight emergencies, they are not medically trained.

Perhaps the most important lesson that can be learned from this article is that a traveler is ultimately responsible for their own safety and well-being at all times. There is a tendency to take for granted the fact that most people reading this live in areas where an ambulance service and trained medical care are merely a phone call away. This is not always the case when traveling — especially at 30,000 feet above the ground.

Some basic pre-planning for a flight should include a carry-on bag with ample supply of medications and a list of medical conditions. Loose, comfortable clothing and proper hydration cannot be stressed enough.

A very good and informative article from the Aerospace Medical Association offers some tips for healthy airline travel.

More Road Trip Games

Martha recently wrote in a post about road trip games inspired by her 5 day trip across the Canadian praries.

Here is a game that we play on trips. This is a version of the alphabet game. In this version players search billboards and road signs for letters of the alphabet starting with the letter A. A sign can only be used once. Once you see the letter you need, you call out what it is and the sign where you saw it. You have to go in alphabetical order. Once a sign is used you move onto the another letter on another sign. Whoever gets to Z first wins.

And here are three road trip games you can buy. Kevin Joy, a writer for the Columbus Dispatch pulled together suggestions in an article I’ve culled from. These particular three appeal to me because they don’t require technology to play.

Conversations to GoIf you want to think of things to talk about, here’s a solution. This game doesn’t seem to have winners or losers. According to the description there are cards with questions that center on travel. If you’re creative, why not think up your own questions? On the otherhand, pulling questions from a box have a certain random appeal tha breaks down trip monotony.

Miles of Smiles: Travel Games & Quizzes to Go. This one is published by American Girl so the cover looks “girlie”. Hopefully, the games inside would interest boys as well. I like these game books because they provide many options from which to choose. When stuck in a car for the next 50 miles until there’s a highway exit, it’s great to have some control over something.

Are We There Yet? – This one looks like it might be my favorite of the bunch. It’s a card game, scavenger hunt where players are delt five cards with items on them. Whoever finds their items first wins. To speed things up (like in Wyoming it could take hours to see something new) you can put a time limit or within a mile limit on this one.