9 Negative Effects That Flying Has on the Body

Modern air travel seems to be continuing on an impressive evolutionary path! We’ve got to admit, there really is no better feeling than knowing that you can get half-way across the world in less than a day’s time. Nevertheless, hidden health dangers associated with flying can put a damper on your fun vacation.

If you’re planning a big trip soon, be sure to pay attention to some of these potential health risks:

  1. Contracting an illness

    According to the Journal of Environmental Health Research, passengers are 100 TIMES more likely (yikes!) to catch a common cold than those who are in their everyday surroundings.

  2. Developing hearing issues

    This one is for those who travel frequently. The National Institute for Public Safety and Health says that an individual’s hearing may be compromised after just a four-hour flight.

  3. Constipation

    It’s safe to say that constipation is one subject that we don’t necessarily like to complain about to our friends and co-workers after we return from a trip, but it can be an uncomfortable matter! To combat this, be sure to drink lots of water, and avoid caffeine and alcohol altogether.

  4. Loss of moisture in the skin

    Ever step off of an airplane and feel like your lips are ready to shed like a snake’s skin? This feeling is because of the dry environment in the cabin. The best way to avoid ultra-dry skin is by, again, drinking lots of water. Also, pull down that window shade if you’re flying during the day. A plane’s windows don’t offer sufficient UV protection.

  5. General fatigue

    Fatigue is caused by the prior point on our list—insufficient circulation. Basically, you don’t get as much oxygen when you are flying, and this lack makes you sleepy and cranky (well, in my case at least).

  6. Quickening of the aging process

    Hopping between time zones confuses the body and disrupts your natural sleep cycle. This factor can have a negative effect on your immune system, as well as your vital organs. In fact, consistent jet lag may put you at a higher risk for a heart attack or stroke.

  7. Problems with taste

    European air carrier Lufthansa conducted a study that shows that an airline passengers’ ability to discern salty and sweet foods becomes reduced by 30% in flight. Their solution—stay hydrated!

  8. Inadequate circulation in the legs and feet

    This point should be of the utmost concern to you, especially if you suffer from diabetes or other diagnoses that affect your circulation. Get up and take walks as much as possible mid-flight. If you have turbulence or a sleeping aisle seat partner and can’t get up, then simply flex your feet back and forth from your seat.

  9. Exposure to radiation

    Yet another one for all of you frequent fliers out there. All passengers are put in contact with small, safe levels of radiation during flight. Nonetheless, if you are a person who flies often, then the radiation can build up in your system, causing potential serious health issues.

    rear interior view of an airplane with passengers

    The most consistent piece of advice that experts give to airline passengers is to hydrate as much as possible. That goes for before you take off, while in-flight, and after you land.

    Are you a frequent flier? If so, how do you handle these side effects? Let us know all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!