Travel Articles

7 Potential Side Effects of Flying in an Airplane

November 24, 2012

A great deal of work has gone into the production of highly comfortable and efficient planes. Pilots and flight attendants are trained to ensure that passengers travelling in the winter and summer enjoy their time in the sky.

However, there are a number of people who experience adverse reactions to being transported at high speeds, between different time zones. In this article we’ll take a look at the negative effects and the different ways that they can be overcome.aeroplane side effects negative flight flying
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1)   Dehydration

Definition of The Condition: Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you are consuming.

Why It Might Happen: People don’t usually experience problems with dehydration when the level of humidity is between 40% and 70%. However, in an aeroplane the humidity may drop to 20%.

Symptoms and Effects: Flyers who are experiencing dehydration may complain of pain in the throat and nose. It is also quite common for the eyes to become dry.

Preventative Measures: It is important to keep a bottle of water or other thirst quenching drink with you on flights. Sips should be taken fairly regularly. You should also avoid the consumption of diuretic beverages such as coffee.

2)   Hypoxia

Definition of the Condition: The condition of Hypoxia occurs when people are unable to inhale enough oxygen.

Why It Might Happen: The amount of oxygen is slightly reduced aboard aeroplanes.

Symptoms and Effects: The small decrease in oxygen will not cause any problems for the majority of people. However, there is a danger of dizziness and vision impairment for people with asthma and other breathing problems.

Preventative Measures: You may request a slight increase in the amount of air circulating the cabin. Otherwise you could ask for access to on-board breathing apparatus.

3)   Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Definition of the Condition: DVT refers to the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein. In most instances it occurs in the leg.

Why It Might Happen: People who remain inactive and in cramped positions for lengthy periods are at an increased risk of DVT.

Symptoms and Effects: DVT usually leads to a painful swelling in the leg. Sufferers may find it painful to walk about.

Preventative Measures: You are advised to take regular walks through the cabin. You should also wear loose-fitting clothes and ensure that you have ample leg room when sitting.

4)   Infection

Definition of the Condition: Humans are prone to infection from a wide variety of air-borne and contact diseases. These include TB, chickenpox and measles.

Why It Might Happen: It has been claimed that infections are carried in the recycled air that is circulated on aeroplanes. However, transmission may also occur because uninfected people are seated near those carrying diseases.

Symptoms and Effects: People may exhibit any number of symptoms, depending upon the infection that has been transmitted. However, common signs include fatigue, weight loss, chills and rashes.

Preventative Measures: If you are positioned beside somebody who is obviously unwell then you ask for an alternative seat.

5)   Jet Lag

Definition of the Condition: People with jet lag are unable to adjust their body clocks when travelling from one country to another. This condition commonly occurs after long haul flights.

Why It Might Happen: Humans weren’t really designed to travel from one continent to the next in a number of hours. We shouldn’t really be surprised at having to adapt to different time zones and conditions in new countries.

Symptoms and Effects: It is common to become disorientated and have difficulty concentrating when your suffering from jet lag. You might also feel fully awake in the middle of the night.

Preventative Measures: It is advisable to take regular naps during the course of a flight. You should also aim to adjust to the daytime hours in the country that you visit.

6)   Anxiety

Definition of the Condition: It is quite normal to feel worried from time to time. However, anxiety is a condition where people experience these unpleasant feelings on a day to day basis.

Why It Might Happen: Some people may begin to worry about unprobable disasters that could happen on a long haul flight. Others may suddenly sense that they are trapped in the plane.

Symptoms and Effects: People with anxiety may experience sudden bouts of dizziness, cravings for sweet foods, bursts of unexplainable energy and fatigue.

Preventative Measures:  It is a good idea to talk about your worries with somebody that you know and trust. If the symptoms persist then you should go and see a medical expert.

7)   Air Rage

Definition of the Condition: Anybody who irrationally loses their temper on a flight is said to have air rage.

Why It Might Happen: There are a number of plausible explanations. However, the most likely include tiredness and the consumption of large quantities of alcohol.

Symptoms and Effects: People show their anger in many ways. Some may shout at the flight attendants and passengers. Others might lash out violently.

Preventative Measures: People who display the signs of road rage are encouraged to relax by listening to gentle music, using meditative techniques and eating food during the flight.

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  • kevin conway Reply

    September 26, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Well, i have read the article and have a question. I travel a lot, roughly 200K miles per year for work. I getting older these days turning 50 and i really seem to be having troubles with my legs. After long flights, over 9 hours, i can barely walk and when i do it feels like I’m getting stabbed in the calf and shin.

    i have seem 3 doctors, had ultra sounds, MRI’s and physicals….. NOTHING. it is very frustrating…. any words or thoughts?


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