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What do long flights do to our body?

What do long flights do to our body?

If you've recently taken a long flight, chances are your body still feels like it's been killed.

As the size and space of airplane seats shrinks year by year and is greatly reduced compared to the 1990s, the time passengers spend in the air is increasing significantly.

When Qantas launches its non-stop flight from Sydney to London in late 2025, it will be the world's longest flight at 20 hours. Currently, Singapore Airlines' longest flight from New York to Singapore is over 18 hours long.

The discomfort of long-haul flights goes beyond cramped positions—there's also dry air, nose and skin changes, and air pressure changes during takeoff and descent, which can affect your sinuses. At worst, flying can become deadly if a blood clot forms in your extremities and travels to your lungs.

But experts say most of us needn't worry.

"In general, flying is safe for everyone, and problems only occur when you have a certain problematic condition," says Michael J. Manyak, a doctor specializing in urology and expedition medicine.

Experts have revealed how the body reacts to long flight times and what you can do to ease the discomfort.

Dry air and changes in air pressure

About 50 percent of the air that circulates during flight is drawn in from outside the plane at high altitudes and dryness - so it's generally much less humid than what you're used to breathing on the ground. This environment can make your eyes, nose and mouth feel excessively dry.

Drinking water before and during the flight will help you be more comfortable and improve blood circulation too.

And while some respiratory conditions like asthma can be made worse by cold, dry air, most people shouldn't worry about symptoms.

Changes in air pressure during take-off and landing cause the air in the sinuses to change and can result in nose and ear pain for some people. This is especially true for those with sinus problems.

It is recommended to take decongestants before the flight, drink water and take anti-inflammatory medicine if you have a cold or virus.

If you always feel sick after traveling, it is related to the fact that airports are crowded with people and do not have air filters.

Muscle pain

If you do not have the opportunity to move, you are holding a position - this means prolonged engagement of your muscles, which leads to pain.

It's not uncommon for people to feel stiffness in their back, neck, or even their legs while standing in the same position for a long period of time.

Move from time to time in the aisle of the plane. It will help you.

Slow digestion, difficulty breathing

Sitting for long periods of time also affects your digestive system, as the movement of food through your intestines slows down as well.

If you're sitting, you don't get the physical stimulation of your bowels.

A sitting posture can restrict the movement of the ribs, also leading to slower and shallower breathing. Shallow breathing can lead to decreased oxygen intake…This can cause foggy thinking, dizziness and even fatigue.

Gastric reflux can also result from a slouched posture and has the potential to cause nausea.

DVT and blood clots on the plane

By far the biggest risk to your body on a long-haul flight is something that can also affect you on the ground when you stay for a long time in a confined position.

The worst is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots in the legs. If a blood clot travels from the legs to the lungs, it can become a life-threatening problem.

Signs of DVT include swelling, throbbing, or pain in one leg. The pain occurs because you have blocked the blood supply and return to the heart... The veins involved swell, causing pain.