Here’s what happens to your body every time you take a flight


Whenever you take a flight it is likely that you will have experienced some of these unpleasant symptoms.

From jet lag and motion sickness to a swelling of the ankles and even a complete loss of taste, flying, especially long distances can play all kinds of havoc on your body.

Now an infographic compiled by reveals how the conditions inside a plane can make you dehydrated and increase the chances of you becoming sick.

The infographic claims that passengers are 100 times more likely to catch a cold when travelling by plane than at any other time.

You won't believe what happens to your body after boarding a flight!
Infographic by:

Research from earlier this year further highlighted some of the physiological effects flying has on the body.

The research compiled by health author and former GP Dr Sarah Brewster revealed some of the common health problems passengers suffer from when flying and how to prevent them.

Health problems include hypoxia, loss of hearing and taste, ankle swelling and deep vein thrombosis, constipation and motion sickness.


According to Dr Brewster the best way to prevent both hypoxia and dehydration is to drink plenty of non alcoholic drinks before and during the journey.

“Ensuring that you are well rested and drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids before and during the journey will help minimise these effects, and help you adjust better to your new timezone.”

Loss of taste and hearing

If you have ever thought your inflight meal was bland and lacking in flavour, it’s probably not the fault of the airline or the cabin crew who prepared it. In flight cabin pressure can numb your taste buds and reduce taste by up to 30 percent.

Air pressure inside the cabin and the roar of an aircraft can lead to a loss of hearing during the flight. To avoid this try wearing noise cancelling earphones.

Ankle swelling and deep vein thrombosis

Sitting for long periods can lead to Deep Vein Thrombosis which kills thousands of people every year.

DVT occurs when blood clots are formed in the veins of the legs.

You can prevent DVT and ankle swelling on long haul flights by wearing compression socks, loose clothing and make sure you regularly walk around the cabin.


Sitting down for long periods can lead to constipation as inactivity leads to both your digestion and metabolic rate slowing down.

Long periods in the air can also lead to bloating and excess gas. To alleviate this drink plenty of water and walk around the cabin to speed up your digestive system.

Fatigue and irritability

Feeling tired during and after a flight is perhaps the common symptom of air travel.

The further you travel, the greater the impact on your body clock.

“Jet lag is a result of a disturbance in the body’s 24 hour sleep-wake biorhythms and is most likely to affect those who normally follow an established daily routine, Dr Brewster said.

“If you’re flying east, try going to bed earlier than usual for several nights before travelling. If you’re going west, stay up later.

“It takes between half a day and two days to adjust to each time zone crossed and breaking up a very long journey with a stopover for rest can make it easier to adjust.”


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