Is Flying Good For Your Health?
Disclosure: This is not a collaborative post. All thoughts are my own and other other. There are no affiliate link or any other compensation. This post is now in the guidelines of the FTC. flying health
Budget airlines have made flying accessible to many more people than ever before. During the 1990s, new entrants like Ryanair from Ireland made it possible to hop from one country to another for the price of a train ticket, sometimes less. It opened up the world to travel, allowing millions of people to finally have affordable foreign holidays, dramatically improving their quality of life.
But is it all good news? Over the years, researchers have had the opportunity to explore the impact on flying on the human body and have discovered some disturbing trends. It turns out that flying is probably a lot more dangerous to your health than you realize.
Flying Can Cause Exhaustion
You might think that sitting in a seat for a few hours would be easy. After all, the average person spends around 14 hours each day in a chair or one kind or another. But when you’re sitting on a plane, it’s a different story. Not only are you flying through time zones without getting adequate sleep, but you also have to put up with the uncomfortable cabin pressure and the noise of your fellow passengers. A 20-hour flight from London to Sydney, for instance, can disrupt your circadian rhythm, putting you at risk of high blood pressure and poor blood sugar control.
Photo by Matthew Hurst
Flying Can Lead To Problems With Your Cardiovascular System
The media like to focus on extremes. That’s why there has been so much focus on deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a condition where the veins in the body can become obstructed by plaques during long sedentary periods. Blood cannot return to the heart and, as a result, people end up getting sick and can sometimes die. Even young people, including the tragic case of 28-year-old Emma Christofferson, can succumb to the condition.
Now there’s a big market for in-flight accessories to prevent clots from forming in the first place. Special socks and footwear all claim to help reduce the risk of suffering from DVT, but nothing is one hundred percent effective. Current advice is to avoid air travel if you have any cardiovascular problems.
Flying Is Fraught With Danger
Ask any aviation law firm, and they’ll tell you that flying is fraught with danger. Every year, planes go missing or crash in spectacular fashion. But there are all sorts of smaller events too, like helicopters malfunctioning or engines failing, requiring a crash landing. For some, just the anticipation that something might go wrong can produce mental health issues.
Flying Damages DNA
The Earth’s atmosphere protects people from the majority of high energy particles coming from space. These microscopic particles get absorbed by ozone and other constituents of the atmosphere, preventing them from interacting with your body.
But when you’re in a plane, there’s less atmosphere above your head, meaning that it’s more likely that these particles interact with your body. Most pass harmlessly through you, but some can smash into your DNA and destroy it.
Damaged DNA is a serious issue. It makes it more difficult for DNA to give instructions to cells and can lead to diseases like cancer. The hull of the plane, although made from metal, doesn’t do much to stop these cosmic visitors, and so there’s little that you can do to protect yourself.
There are some things that you can do to bolster your defensive capacities though before flying. One is to eat ginger before you travel as scientists believe it may protect against DNA damage. You can also eat other foods with known DNA-repair action, such as clove, rosemary, and turmeric.
Regular flying may be particularly dangerous for your health. Over time, damage to the DNA may exceed the body’s capacity for repair, accelerating the aging process. Flying once or twice per year might not make a big difference, but doing so every week for business could lead to health issues down the road.
Air Quality Is Low On Passenger Planes
Budget airlines do everything that they can to keep costs down, even if it means passenger health might suffer. Airline air quality is notoriously poor, containing not on plenty of dust particles, but also pathogens from all over the world.
Recently, the BBC reported that the Civil Aviation Authority in Britain had received more than 1,300 complaints regarding smoke and fumes inside the cabin. Problems with engine seals can lead to combustion byproducts escaping the engine compartment, getting into the air filtration system and eventually being inhaled by passengers.
Disclosure: This is not a collaborative post. All thoughts are my own and other other. There are no affiliate link or any other compensation. This post is now in the guidelines of the FTC.