Flying Can Affect Your Health

Flying on an airplane is often more on an ordeal than a pleasant experience. It is stressful when you think about all those security checks and irritants that are around you in the air. Some of the physical health concerns that occur in-flight include swollen ankles, aching limbs, jet lag and sleep disorders. Additionally, flights cause issues with the sinuses, stomachs, blood, ears and cells.

Despite all of these drawbacks, more people are boarding airplanes than ever before. Over the past 30 years, air travel has grown by 5% every year. Experts state that even though there are many health concerns associated with air travel they are greatly outweighed with the benefits to the traveler.

While there are many things that you can not change about air travel, there are ways to minimize health concerns, sleep issues and increase your overall comfort.


Planes have air that is filtered with ultra low humidity which can dry your airways out and strip the protective mucus layer from your nostrils. Without this protective barrier, your body is more susceptible to infections.

The best thing you can do is wash your hands frequently and keep your fingers away from your nose, eyes and mouth. Some people choose to where a mask that covers their mouth and nose to keep from breathing in germs.



The low air pressure in the plane coupled with your inactivity slows your blood circulation. This opens the door for blood coagulates to clog blood vessels, deep vein thrombosis.

The best thing to do to keep your blood circulating is to get up and walk around the plane and stretch every hour for five minutes.


Your inner ears can throw off your balance when turbulence arises or if there is in-flight motion. You can help prevent this by booking a seat that is over the wings.

Listening to headphones can bother the nerve cells in your ears. If you only travel occasionally, you will not likely have long term damage. If you fly frequently, you could have permanent damage.

You should invest in noise canceling headphones to help reduce any risks.



When you are flying 30,000 feet above the earth’s surface, you are exposed to higher cosmic radiation levels. Radiation causes cellular changes that can cause issues for frequent flyers, pregnant women and the flight crew.

This should be something that is considered if you are flying extremely frequently. If you only fly occasionally, there is not much you should be concerned about.

Jet Lag

When you travel across time zones it causes jet lag that creates symptoms of sleep disruptions and fatigue. The body has a biological clock that is attuned to the day and night cycle of the time zone we live in.

When you travel quickly through time zones, it can take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to readjust to the new time zone depending on the distance you traveled.

Before you depart, set your watch and clocks to the destination time. Try to get into the local routine as soon as you are possible. When you are at your final destination, try to stay in the sun as much as you are able to.

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