Many studies suggest that flying more than 10 km above the ground can affect our mood, consciousness, sensory function and cause skin problems. Jochen Hinkelbein, president of the German Society for Aerospace Medicine at the University of Cologne, says that absolutely healthy people have nothing to fear. However, in the modern world, you can hardly find such people.
Experts in the German aerospace medicine community say that the cabin of an aircraft is not the most suitable place for humans. After all, the pressure inside the aircraft corresponds to the rock pressure at an altitude of 2400 m. The humidity in the cabin is lower than in the desert, and the air temperature is cooled to 10 degrees. How can a person adapt to such conditions? But I dare say that such conditions are forced measures that help maintain a comfortable temperature in the cabin for passengers and compensate for the heat emanating from people and on-board electronics.
Oxygen, pressure, plane
In an airplane, the pressure is low, which reduces the amount of oxygen in our blood, on average, from 6 to 25%. Such pressure surges a priori suggest the use of an oxygen mask if you were in the hospital. However, at altitude, the mask is used only in emergency situations and only as directed by the pilots.
Lack of oxygen (hypoxia) is most felt by older people and those diagnosed with problems with the upper respiratory tract (in particular, asthmatics). Hypoxia can lead to a temporary loss of the ability to think clearly and clearly. There may also be minor problems with memory and concentration. Look at those who play games during the flight. For many, reaction to what is happening on the screen slows down. At altitude, the brain works a little slower than usual.
Natalia Korchma, a cardiologist at the ON Clinic Kharkiv medical center, says:
“Hypoxia can provoke dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and lead to loss of consciousness. Most often people suffering from cardiovascular diseases are susceptible to it. If you feel unwell, notify the flight attendant, sit back to improve blood circulation and be sure to drink water. ”
For those who are exposed to hypoxia, it is not advisable to consume alcoholic beverages before and during the flight.
Coffee: to drink or not to drink?
coffee. They additionally load the heart, which threatens to deteriorate well-being at altitude.
Ear, throat, nose
According to the Civil Aviation Administration, the air in the plane is refreshed every 2-3 minutes. Compared to most air-conditioned buildings, airplanes benefit, because in ground rooms it changes every 5-10 minutes.
However, Dr. Richard Dowd, travel health expert for Telegraph Travel, notes that the conditions inside the aircraft cabin still increase a person’s vulnerability to airborne infections. During the flight, you can get sick with many colds and respiratory infections. Low humidity for many viruses and bacteria is a habitat, and a large crowd of people in a confined space, and even sneezing, is an ideal scenario for quarantine.
According to Dr. Dowd, the cough of a passenger sitting next to him is the fastest way to spread infection and develop serious diseases (such as tuberculosis).
I will add: airlines are trying to keep the airshows clean. For example, staff clean their planes after each flight, including seats, tables with trays, and toilets.
Legs, arms, head
During flight, blood circulation is impaired, which can lead to swelling of the feet or ankles. Pregnant women and overweight people are at risk. It is not for nothing that it is recommended to stretch your legs during the flight. Simple exercises for the lower extremities are suitable for this, for example, a rotational character in the ankle area. In the same way, you can stretch your hands, which improves blood circulation.
If your head hurts during the flight, low humidity is to blame. It is she who causes dehydration of the body, which provoke spasms. Drink plenty of water to prevent this. Even skin can suffer from dehydration. Moisturizing lotions can be used to restore the skin’s moisture balance.
Otolaryngologist at the ON Clinic Dnipro Medical Center Natalia Poznyak explains:
“It is common for adults and children to experience ear congestion during flight. This is due to the high air pressure. Chewing gum, hard candy, or yawning can help restore hearing. When you feel pain in the ear cavity during takeoff, it is an inflammation that indicates the development of an otolaryngological disease. In this case, you need to see a doctor upon arrival ”.
From heaven to earth: about children and pregnant women
Children and pregnant women are a special category of passengers, where the acceptability of the flight must be agreed with a doctor (pediatrician or gynecologist, respectively). Contraindications for children’s flight include sinusitis and purulent otitis media, others
Hearing problems in children
hearing problems, lung and heart disease. Doctors do not recommend pregnant women to fly if there is a threat of miscarriage, premature birth, and development of fetal pathologies. Gynecologists do not approve of flying even when a pregnant woman is diagnosed with thrombosis.
In flight, a person is affected by cosmic radiation, which is proved by research by scientists. Passengers are exposed to nearly the same dose of radiation as X-rays on a seven-hour flight from New York to London. This means that the consequences for the health of children and pregnant women can be negative, although today there are no exact studies of this issue.
What is jetlag?
The body’s response to a change in time zone is called jetlag. As a result, a person may experience drowsiness, fatigue and loss of energy upon arrival. Sometimes you can get acquainted with gastrointestinal disorders, fever, and a general feeling of malaise. The body is not always able to quickly rearrange its biological clock. It all depends on the state of health, flight distance and climate at the place of arrival.
Good sleep, exercise, and walking in the fresh air help to readjust your biological clock and get rid of jet lag. In order not to overload the nervous system, give up alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
The flight can affect the same person in different ways: increasing the discomfort from staying at an altitude or reducing it to a minimum. It all depends on the destination, the comfort of the air show, the age and health of the person flying. A 2007 study found that flying longer than three hours causes discomfort for almost all passengers. This is due to a long stay at an altitude.
If the flights are very difficult, it is better to coordinate the precautions with your doctor in advance. When you are unsure whether a flight is for you or not, ask your doctor. Do not risk your health so that this flight does not cause negative consequences.