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Flight and Health

Flying has its drawbacks. While exploring the world thousands of feet above the ground is incredible, there are adverse effects of flying on the human body. Humans were never meant to fly. Yet, through engineering and imagination, now we can. Let’s take a look at how exactly flying impacts our bodies.

In commercialized jets, many of us have felt tired, sick, or even in pain after the flight. Cabin air has low humidity so the mucus in our nose dries out. This can lead to increased chances of getting sick, nose bleeds, and pain in our nose. Taste is also dimmed in planes. Due to low humidity and cabin air pressure, food on airplanes often does not taste as it should. Another risk is blood clots. As you sit in one position for extended periods of time, the chance of developing blood clots is possible. Headaches are another side effect. They result from the changing air pressure. One of the most common ones is ear pain. Again, this is caused by air pressure changes (although a good pilot can ensure that your ears do not hurt by not descending or ascending too rapidly).

While all of these problems make flying seem dangerous, in most cases the most extreme side effects are headache and ear pain. For me, flight training during the first month or so was very painful. I would have terrible headaches and ear pain during maneuvers like engine fire training. Yet, as I flew more, it got much easier to bear. Now, I barely feel tired at all after a flight lesson.

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