So you're leavin' on a jet plane?

The cost and availability of flights are subject to many factors including distance and demand but a flight from Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica averages about 3 hours and 45 minutes. Chicago, New York or Seattle flight time is closer to 6-7 hours, similar to the time required to fly from New York to California. Destinations Dental will assist you in scheduling your flight and, if you have mobility issues, we can help you through the process of requesting a wheelchair or cart.

Health Tips for Flying

Traveling from the US to Costa Rica will usually be done by commercial flight which is fast and safe for the vast majority of passengers. However, no adventure is without risks and The Aerospace Medical Association (ASMA) has the following tips.

At high altitudes, the barometric pressure or cabin pressure is similar to being on the peak of a small mountain. This causes two things to happen; there is less oxygen pressure and gases within our bodies expand. People in good health will adapt to this with no problems but those with heart, lung or blood disorders should check with their physicians prior to flying. Because gas expands in the body in high altitudes, the ASMA recommends that you do not travel if you have an ear or sinus infection or other condition where you can’t clear your ear [which is usually done with yawning, chewing or swallowing]. Also, be aware that ingesting gas-forming foods such as carbonated beverages, peanuts or cabbage may cause you discomfort and should be avoided before flying. Oh, and if you plan to scuba dive in Costa Rica, wait at least 24 hours before flying home.

The cabin humidity can be low and it is recommended that you drink about 8 oz of water every hour, limit alcohol, coffee, tea and carbonated beverages. Use a good moisturizer on your skin and consider wearing glasses instead of contacts and using moisturizing eye drops.

For those susceptible to motion sickness, get a window seat or one over the wings and fly on larger aircraft. Avoid alcohol 24 hours before your flight and while flying. If you know you are prone to motion sickness, your physician may be able to prescribe an anti-nausea medication.

Finally, be aware that the cabin is small and enclosed. Sitting for extended periods of time can increase the risk of blood clots, also known as Traveler’s Thrombosis, in susceptible people. The risk is not increased because of flying but due to immobility. The ASMA recommends that you wear loose clothing, leave the area under the seat in front of you empty so you have more room to move around, exercise your feet and ankles while sitting, stay hydrated and speak with your physician if you have any underlying medical conditions [cancer, recent surgery or history of deep vein thrombosis or a clotting disorder].

Finally, take your medications in your carry-on bag with a copy of your prescription and a copy of your medical report if you are flying to receive medical care – especially if your condition is unstable or you have had recent surgery. And, please, do not fly if you have an active or suspected communicable disease.