Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Safety of the flight depends not only on the condition of the aircraft and the professionalism of pilots. It also depends on us personally. First of all, it concerns our health problems.

In the sky, the human body does not feel at home, no matter how hard you try. Even in the cabin of a comfortable airliner, you are exposed to the harmful effects of overloads and differences in atmospheric pressure which can have an effect on your ears, legs, cardiovascular and respiratory system. In addition, you can be subconsciously afraid to fly and have to be sitting for several hours without the opportunity to stretch your legs. Such a trip can hardly be called easy.

Effects of Long Haul Flights on the Body

Effects of Long Haul Flights on the Body

Certainly, periodic flights do not harm healthy people. Our body has enough reserve of strength to easily survive during several hours in the sky every six months. But if you have some ailments, the air travel presents a direct threat to your health. If you suffer from some kind of chronic illness, it is advisable to take it into account "on the ground" when planning an air trip.

If you have certain chronic respiratory or cardiovascular diseases and if you have disorders of the cerebral circulation or traumas (especially barotraumas) of the middle and inner ear, you should fly with precautions. People, who have recently had a heart attack or a stroke, as well as women in the last weeks of pregnancy, are not recommended to fly at all.

That’s fine if your blood vessels cope with these pressure jumps, but what if your stress-worn body is not so healthy? If you suffer from cardiovascular diseases or if your blood pressure tends to run out of the norm, be sure to take the medicines prescribed to you by your doctor and keep them in an easily accessible place so that you, your neighbors or the stewardess, can easily take them in the case of the sudden increase in pressure or an attack of angina pectoris. If health causes you anxiety, ask the doctor if your body is ready for flights. Perhaps, it is not necessary to hurry up and travel by car?

Effects of Long Haul Flights on Ears

In the airplane, a person is up to 6,000 miles higher than he used to live. Accordingly, the pillar of air, which presses from above, is precisely this number of miles thinner. The pressure in the cabin is approximately equal to the pressure at an altitude of 2,000 miles above the sea level. On the one hand, it would seem that it is a trifle in the scale of the overall thickness of the atmosphere. At the same time, people sensitive to the weather changes, know very well how the air pressure fluctuation affects the human body and health.

During the flight, you not only stay in the zone of low pressure for a while, but you are exposed to a sharp and rapid drop of the pressure during takeoff and its increase at landing. At the same time, takeoff and landing represent a rather stressful situation. A person is subjected to the action of overloads in these moments.

The pain in the ears may come. To equalize the pressure in the ears, make movements similar to yawning. In this case, an additional volume of air from the nasal cavity enters the ears through the Eustachian tubes. You may also open your mouth and stick your tongue out a little. It is often advised to swallow more. That’s why stewardesses constantly offer drinks. A candy can be also useful in this case. It stimulates a copious salivation, which will lead to more frequent swallowing movements.

If your nose is blocked, you can feel much more discomfort in the ears during gaining height and descent. In addition, some microbes can be carried along with the air from the nasal cavity. That may cause otitis, an inflammation of the middle ear. For this reason, it is not recommended to go on a flight with acute respiratory diseases.

Can you fly with sinusitis? Definitely, you should not.

The cabin of the airplane is hermetically sealed from the outside air. Any depressurization is inadmissible during the flight. The microclimate inside the aircraft is supported by ventilation and air conditioning systems. However, the feature of artificial ventilation is such that the humidity in the passenger compartment is significantly lower than overboard. As a result, excessively dry air irritates the respiratory tract and mucous membranes of the eyes.

Basically, if you are all right with breathing and your eyes are not prone to excessive dryness, you will not notice any discomfort. Although, asthmatics people with obstructive forms of bronchitis or persons with eye diseases are vulnerable. For them, it would be better to take eye drops or sprays that facilitate breathing.

Effects of Long Haul Flights on Legs

Any air travel is always a limitation in movements. The longer we stay in the sitting position, the stronger the load on the lower part of the body.

Long flights deserve special attention. The usual posture of a person sitting in an armchair does not allow a good circulation of blood in the lower limbs. The arterial influx of fresh blood is difficult, venous outflow is also reduced, and even nerve trunks are pinched under the knees and in the groin. Naturally, your legs cannot tolerate such bullying for a long time. If you have to fly for hours, try to get up from time to time and walk along the plane salon. If possible, do not bend your legs at an acute angle. The more you stretch the legs, the better the flow of blood through the leg vessels. Do not sit with your legs crossed. If your legs are beginning to feel dumb, stand up, balance from the heel to the toe and walk.

Effects of Long Haul Flights on Crew Members

Some people go up to the sky almost every day to work. The regular flights require good health. All crew members, including stewardesses, pass a regular and very thorough medical examination. The slightest irregularities in the work of the heart or lungs, a kind of infection or blood pressure failures are the reasons to be pulled off the flights.

The trained strong body gradually gets used to the sky, but the years of regular flights leave their mark. Stewardesses are more likely to suffer from varicose veins than other women. The crew members have a higher risk of a stroke. A professional pathology of all flying personnel is the gradual decrease of the hearing acuteness.

Despite everything, do not be afraid of the sky. On the steps up to the airplane, be attuned to the best. Just observe safety rules and enjoy the flight. Have a good trip!

 

Written By: Helen Rogers is an editor of http://thecrossfitshoes.com She helps people get stronger. She shares running and sports questions, beauty tips. All her stories are result-oriented and make her readers become healthy, wealthy and wise.

Helen Rogers

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

Helen Rogers,

Last Modified On: June 21, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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