Long-haul flights are not always healthy. A study summarizes their impact on the body

A new study published bySens AlertMonday, on the impact of long-haul flights on the human body.

The site believes that long trips are “not always healthy,” as it summarized its impact in 4 points, namely:

1. Dehydration

Dehydration is common on long-haul flights, which explains the feeling of dryness in the throat, nose and skin on the plane. The longer the flight, the greater the risk of dehydration.

This is due to the lower levels of humidity in the cabin compared to the normal situation on the ground. This is mostly because a lot of the air circulating through the cabin is drawn in from the outside, and there isn’t a lot of moisture in the air at high altitudes.

The risk of dehydration is increased by not drinking enough water or drinking too much alcohol.

Therefore, it is advised to drink water before traveling and during the trip.

2. Damages

As cabin pressure changes, the gas in our bodies reacts accordingly. It expands as the plane rises and the pressure drops, and the opposite happens as we descend. This can lead to common problems such as:

Earache – when the air pressure on both sides of the eardrum is different – which leads to pressure on the eardrum.

Headache – can be caused by the expansion of air trapped in the sinuses.

Bowel problems – which may cause you to pass wind more.

You may also feel more sleepy than usual. This is due to the body’s inability to absorb as much oxygen from the cabin air at a greater altitude than it does on the ground.

Most of these problems will not necessarily be on long-haul flights only, and it is a major problem during the boarding and landing of the plane.

3. Blood clots

Blood clots, associated with prolonged immobility, are usually a major concern for travelers. These include clots that form in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) and can travel to the lung (where they are known as pulmonary embolism).

And in the event that you do not travel on the plane, the risk factors will increase, and the chance of developing blood clots will increase, especially in the elderly, those who are obese, those who have a previous history or family history of clots, who have certain types of clotting disorders, who have cancer, or who have had recent surgery, are pregnant or have recently given birth, or are taking hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptive pills.

And according to a review conducted in 2022, combining data from 18 studies, the longer you travel, the higher your risk of blood clots. The authors estimated that there was a 26 percent higher risk for each additional two hours of air travel, starting with flights of four hours or more.

The only current advice is to keep moving on the plane, stay hydrated and drink less alcohol.

Usually if you develop a blood clot, you won’t know about it until after the flight, as the clot takes time to form and travel.

So watch out for post-flight symptoms – leg pain and swelling, chest pain, cough, and shortness of breath. Seek emergency medical care if this happens.

4. Jet lag and coronavirus

And there’s jet lag, and it’s about time, the time we think is different from the actual hourly time, especially when crossing different time zones.

Longer trips mean you’re more likely (but not always) to cross more time zones. Jet lag usually becomes more difficult when you cross three or more time zones, especially if you’re traveling east.

And don’t forget the coronavirus and the possibility of catching it while traveling, so “take the usual precautions – wash your hands regularly, wear a mask, and don’t travel if you’re not feeling well.”

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