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The hidden challenge during flight travel

There are some obvious challenges during air travel such as maintaining a quality diet, avoiding eating due to boredom and travel fatigue. However, there is one significant challenge that is hard to detect, and that’s dehydration.

Pressurized cabins and air-conditioned environments increase the risk of dehydration, which is hard for your body to detect. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry
mouth, headaches and tiredness. The risk of dehydration is still prevalent during short haul flights, particularly if you boarded the flight in a dehydrated state. However, you need to pay careful attention to your hydration status during long haul travel.

This type of dehydration is different from that experienced as a result of sweat loss during exercise. The pressurised cabin and air-conditioned environment increases fluid losses from the skin and lungs, resulting in water loss alone. Therefore, there is a minimal requirement to add electrolytes to your drink. However, the addition of salt may help the retention of fluids ingested and reduce the frequency in which you have to visit the bathroom! Eating salty foods whilst drinking water is a good way to aid fluid retention.

Top tips to avoid dehydration:

Once at your destination rehydration should be a priority. Continue to drink regularly. Drink 500 ml of water with each meal on the day you arrive and ensure you drink little and often between meals.