Is flying on a plane bad for your health?

Today, flying is one of the most ordinary things people around the world do. It is the most convenient way to travel internationally. Many people travel not only for leisure but also for work. Business travelers who fly on a plane are a large percentage of all passengers.

Very often, these people are perceived as global elites. It would be pretty exciting to have breakfast in New York and dinner in Paris, for example. However, imagine this happening to you at least twice a month.

That may seem like an excellent opportunity for some people, as they can visit different countries and get to know their cultures. Yes, but have you ever wondered if these frequent airplane flights don’t harm your health?

If you are asking yourself this question for one reason or another, then in this article, we will discuss the possible risks that frequent air travel carries. Let’s look at which they are and how they affect the human body.

Air Travel Health Risks For Frequent Business Travelers

According to some scientific studies, international business travelers, flight crews, and diplomats are at high risk of developing certain diseases because of their lifestyles. The frequency of flying on a plane is extremely high, which leads to adverse consequences.

One of the main reasons for this is that you are exposed to a small amount of cosmic radiation and jet lag every time you fly on a plane. If you rarely have to travel, you do not need to worry about it. 

In these cases, radiation exposure is minimal, and you can overcome jet lag in a few days.

But, for other passengers who fly dozens of times per year, stress builds up in their bodies because of radiation exposure. That, in turn, increases cancer risk and other chronic diseases. In addition, jet lag influences aging and heightens the risk of having a heart attack. 

Moreover, frequent travel leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. 

These include :

  • fast food consumption
  • excess drinking of soft drinks and alcohol 
  • irregular water consumption 
  • lack of exercise
  • poor sleep schedule 

In addition, jet lag is the cause of mood swings, disorientation, sleep problems, gastrointestinal problems and affects productivity.

Business travelers who complain of these symptoms are over 70%. And although there is not enough evidence today to conclusively confirm the real risks of frequent air travel, this percentage is sufficient to understand that it certainly impacts business travelers’ physical, mental, and emotional health.

The radiation risks of air travel

As we know, the sun and stars emit cosmic rays, which are directed to the Earth. Fortunately, most of these particles do not reach us, as the atmosphere and magnetic field protect us. 

But if you’re on a plane about 30,000 feet up in the air, the atmosphere there is thinner, which means you’re exposed to more radiation.

Of course, this is not a cause for concern if you rarely travel. But, if you are a frequent flyer, these small doses of radiation that you are exposed to on each flight begin to accumulate. That is why pilots, flight attendants, and the rest of the crew on most airlines are considered the people who are at most health risk.

Another question that arises is whether an airport screening is harmful to our well being. In this regard, we must say that the exposure to radiation during the airport screening procedure is minimal, so you have nothing to worry about.

However, let’s return to the question: Is the additional radiation dose during the flight dangerous for health? Scientists are still looking for an answer to this question. But according to research, the crew is much more at risk of developing various types of cancer than business travelers.

Of course, it is difficult to say whether other factors cause cancer, but frequent exposure to cosmic radiation certainly contributes to this. However, there is no denying that frequent air travel is a health hazard even for business travelers.

Is flying on a plane bad for your health?

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Chronic jet lag

Radiation is not the only factor that can affect your health while flying on a plane. We all know how important sleep is for wellness and how its violation leads to body disorders.

Business travelers and the aircraft crew have a high risk of accumulation of radiation in the body, and most of them experience chronic jet lag. Every passenger experiences jet lag, but it passes very quickly for those who travel infrequently. However, this is not the case with passengers who fly too often.

Jet lag, also known as desynchronosis, disrupts the body’s rhythm when traveling long periods by plane. 

This violation is usually temporary, leading mainly to:

  • fatigue
  • drowsiness
  • lethargy
  • stomach problems

During frequent air travel, jet lag becomes chronic, associated with cognitive deficits, including memory impairment. In addition, according to some studies, chronic jet lag can switch off genes that are linked to the immune system. As a result, the risk of having a heart attack or stroke is raised.

Blood clots and getting sick

Last but not least, there is some risk for all passengers during long flights, no matter how often they travel. For example, blood clotting is a risk that can increase up to four times during long international flights.

In addition, enclosed spaces in air cabins in combination with a weakened immune system cause infectious diseases, including :

  • influenza 
  • measles 
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome 
  • tuberculosis 
  • food poisoning 
  • viral enteritis
  • smallpox

In this regard, most people  who are suffering from cardiac and pulmonary disorders, neurological disorders, recent surgery, pregnancy, pediatrics, and other forms of problems should be cautious about long-haul flights.

All this proves that it is vital to be more informed and careful about your wellness. And as convenient as air travel is, frequent long-haul flights certainly have an impact on your health.