Air trav­el is not only fast and con­ve­nient, but also a rather dan­ger­ous form of trans­porta­tion for peo­ple with cer­tain chron­ic dis­eases.

When plan­ning a trip, you choose the most suit­able mode of trans­port every time. Usu­al­ly the selec­tion cri­te­ria are speed, com­fort, con­ve­nience and price. But few peo­ple think about the impact of a par­tic­u­lar mode of trans­port on human health.

If you pre­fer an air­plane as a trans­port for long-dis­tance trav­el, then you should remem­ber that air trav­el is not safe for every­one. For some peo­ple, they can cause a lot of incon­ve­nience and dis­com­fort, and for cer­tain cat­e­gories they are gen­er­al­ly crit­i­cal­ly con­traindi­cat­ed.

Air trav­el and health: risk fac­tors

We list the most like­ly fac­tors that pose a threat to human health dur­ing air trav­el.

Decreased pres­sure in the cab­in

Despite the com­plete tight­ness of the cab­ins of mod­ern air­craft, the pres­sure on board is less than nor­mal atmos­pher­ic pres­sure and cor­re­sponds to the pres­sure at an alti­tude of 1500 — 2500 meters above sea lev­el. The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, pres­sure can be main­tained at a nor­mal lev­el, but this will require addi­tion­al fuel costs and, as a result, more expen­sive tick­ets, so air­lines are mak­ing con­scious sav­ings.

A healthy per­son tol­er­ates low blood pres­sure with­out prob­lems, but for some cat­e­gories of peo­ple this will cause some dis­com­fort due to a decrease in the sup­ply of oxy­gen to the blood. Par­tic­u­lar cau­tion should be shown to peo­ple with dis­eases of the car­dio­vas­cu­lar and res­pi­ra­to­ry sys­tems.

air in the plane

As is known from the school physics course, any gas tends to expand in case of heat­ing or at reduced pres­sure. Since the pres­sure in the cab­in decreas­es when the air­craft ris­es, the air that is in the paranasal cav­i­ties and in the mid­dle ear cav­i­ty expands. When a per­son is healthy, the air escapes with­out prob­lems through spe­cial holes locat­ed near the nasal pas­sages, and when land­ing, when the pres­sure in the cab­in increas­es, on the con­trary, it returns. But with dis­eases that pre­vent the free move­ment of air in these areas (for exam­ple, a run­ny nose), due to pres­sure drops, unpleas­ant and even painful sen­sa­tions in the ears can occur. To help the air “pass”, hold your nose tight­ly and, with­out open­ing your mouth, exhale strong­ly.

See also
Black and White Storm by Mitch Brouner

Anoth­er fea­ture of the air on board the air­craft is its extreme­ly low humid­i­ty — 20% and below, while the com­fort­able thresh­old for a per­son is 30%. Pro­longed con­tact with dry air caus­es dry­ing of all mucous mem­branes, skin and eyes. To avoid this, or at least min­i­mize it, fol­low these rec­om­men­da­tions:

  • Drink still water or juice fre­quent­ly.
  • Do not drink car­bon­at­ed and sweet water, alco­hol, cof­fee, tea and oth­er caf­feinat­ed drinks imme­di­ate­ly before and dur­ing the flight, as they have a diuret­ic effect and fur­ther aggra­vate the harm­ful effects of dry air.
  • If you have poor eye­sight, opt for glass­es over con­tact lens­es while fly­ing.
  • Do not apply make­up, but if for some rea­son this can­not be avoid­ed, then apply a high-qual­i­ty mois­tur­iz­ing base under it.

Venous throm­bo­sis

Air trav­el involves forced immo­bil­i­ty, and the longer the flight lasts, the more unpleas­ant the con­se­quences for health can be. The legs suf­fer the most from long flights: due to con­stant sit­ting on a chair, they become numb, blood cir­cu­la­tion slows down and blood ves­sels con­strict, which increas­es the risk of blood clots.
Most often, this does not have any neg­a­tive health con­se­quences, but if the result­ing blood clot is large, it can lead to swelling and pain in the low­er legs, and more severe cas­es. This is all the more like­ly if you are in the “risk” group:

  • You or some­one close to you has had a throm­bo­sis in the past
  • If you are using hor­mon­al and oth­er estro­gen-con­tain­ing drugs
  • You have recent­ly suf­fered a low­er body injury
  • You are preg­nant
  • You have prob­lems with blood clot­ting
  • Do you smoke
See also
Weekend trips in Central Ukraine

air travel and smoking

There­fore, if you are plan­ning a long flight and belong to one or more of the above groups, you should con­sult your doc­tor.

Adhere to the fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to reduce the risk of throm­bo­sis to a min­i­mum:

  • Drink more water
  • Do not smoke before and dur­ing the flight
  • Change the posi­tion you are sit­ting in often.
  • If pos­si­ble, walk around the salon. If you are not allowed to walk, then just stand, shift­ing from foot to foot.
  • Choose those seats for sit­ting in front of which there is more free space.
  • Wear com­fort­able loose cloth­ing and shoes.
  • 2–3 hours before the flight, take half an aspirin tablet, this med­i­cine thins the blood, which pre­vents the for­ma­tion of blood clots.

Air trav­el and health. Part 2

Author: Alexan­der Kuznetsov

Arti­cle pro­tect­ed by copy­right and relat­ed rights. When using and reprint­ing the mate­r­i­al, an active link to the healthy lifestyle por­tal is required!