Jet lag occurs because of crossing many time zones in a short period of time disrupting the sleep -wake cycle.
Most people arrive at their destination tired, fatigued and irritable. The length of the flight is not the critical issue. The most important single factor is how many time zones you cross.
Travel is usually easier in the east to west direction then the other way around. Traveling North to south is does not cause problems because you do not change time zones.
Kids are able to adapt better to time changes. People who normally stick to a rigid daily routine, and who are bothered by changes to routine, are often the worst sufferers.
People whose lives are highly varied can often adjust their circadian rhythms better.People who sleep easily can also cope better with the adjustment. Most people feel better in 2-3 days. If you are not fit, rested and healthy you will probably suffer more jet lag than others on the same flight.
Ear Pain and Airplane Travel
Everyone either knows or knows someone that has had ear pain when flying in a plane. Ear barotrauma is caused by unequal pressure on either side of the eardrum. Descent is when people have the most discomfort, the cabin pressure increases and pushes on the eardrum causing pain.
Normally the Eustachian tube equalizes pressure between the middle ear and the outside. If you have an ear infection or a sinus infection the Eustachian tube may not function properly. In infants the Eustachian tube sometimes is too small, and may not function well enough to equalize pressure during descent. In adults, pseudoephederine, an over the counter medicine, has been shown to decrease ear pain while flying.
It should be taken one hour before travel. Some non-medical tricks that keep the Eustachian tubes open include chewing gum, sucking on candy, and yawning. In children one study has shown that pseudoephederine is not effective.
You can make sure your child is awake during take-off and landing. Give child a pacifier or a bottle, the sucking motion helps open the Eustachian tube. If possible avoid flying if your child has an ear infection or cold.
Motion Sickness is nausea, vomiting, and irritability while traveling in car, boat, or a plane. The eyes and ears maintain balance and sends signals to the brain, which in turn makes sense of these signals. Motion sickness is caused by conflicting signals sent from the ears and eyes to the brain.
The symptoms are worse when there are more twists and turns like on a carnival ride or a mountain road. The brain can usually adapt over a period of time on a boat this is called getting your sea legs.
In an airplane the aisle seats over the wings have the least motion. In a car the front seat is the best place to sit, this allows one to focus on the horizon, avoiding rapid head movements. Fresh air seems to help, so roll the windows down.
Before traveling avoid eating or try small frequent meals. Stay away from spicy or fatty foods. Saltine crackers, canned peaches, and ginger ale seem to help some people.
Over the counter medicines, anti-histamines, like dramamine, and Benadryl are available if the symptoms are severe.
Children are more prone to motion sickness, but usually outgrow it by the age of If your child has motion sickness do not let them read in the car, instead try playing with an action fiqure or word game.
Also try playing games to get them to focus on object in the horizon. Do not let them sit backwards. You should check with you pediatrician for medicine recommendations.