People have been traveling to different places for hundreds of years, but like most things, our transportation methods have seen some pretty significant advancements, as evidenced by the fact that most of us no longer use horse-drawn wagons to get around. The travel industry makes billions of dollars every single year, and that is because people are able to visit any corner of the world, and thanks to the advancements made in air travel, we can fly across the world in less than a day. It is true that we hear about airplanes going down every now and then, but such cases are very rare, and they should not keep anyone away from flying because airplanes are indeed the safest way to travel.
We have learned a lot about the human body over the last 300 years, and it is thanks to scientific research that we have uncovered some interesting things, such as what happens to our bodies when we do travel via airplane. Air travel may indeed be very safe, but that does not mean that it does not have some kind of impact on the body, an impact that for the most part is not that dangerous. It is true that everyone's body is unique and therefore reacts to certain things differently, but for the most part, our bodies are all affected in similar ways when it comes to air travel, and this list will identify 20 of the ways in which our bodies are affected by airplanes.
20 Our Taste Buds Go Numb
Every single one of us needs to eat, so it only makes sense that airlines would offer food on their flights, and as many of us would agree, airplane food does not taste that great, but as it turns out, the problem does not entirely lie with the food itself. Once the plane reaches about 30,000 feet, our ability to taste dramatically changes, to the point that someone with a sweet tooth may not want any type of sugar whatsoever. The biggest contributing factor to this taste change though is the fact that a third of our taste buds go completely numb, which is why we view airplane food as being pretty bland.
19 We Get Nervous
There are some people in the world who never get nervous, no matter what they are dealing with, but for most of us, we get nervous for all kinds of reasons, and flying on an airplane happens to be a very common trigger. This affects everyone, even those who are not afraid of flying, but with them, they always appear to be a lot more serious and easily agitated compared to other passengers. The only reason why this happens is that we know that we are not in control of our own safety while on a plane, which leads to us getting nervous, which in turn causes our body to become more anxious.
It is true that we all need food, but more importantly, we also need water, which is why you can get water whenever you fly, and as you may have noticed, people tend to drink a lot more fluids while on an airplane. The numbers do vary depending on the person and travel time, but if you were to find yourself on a 10-hour flight, there is a good chance that you will have between 6 and 8 glasses of water, and that would be because the low humidity levels in the plane cause us to become dehydrated. To make matters worse, most of the water on planes contain traces of salt, which dehydrates you faster.
People have to deal with pain every single day, and one of the more common examples of daily pain comes in the form of a headache, which usually hits people randomly, but there are also people who have to deal with chronic headaches. Over the decades, we have learned that headaches can be triggered through numerous things, and one of those things is flying on a plane. The reason why people get headaches while on a plane is because the oxygen level drops inside the cabin, which causes a mild hypoxia that leads to your brain getting less oxygen, which leads to headaches.
16 Our Ears Pop
It is true that everyone's body is different, and that we all have different experiences when we fly, but there really are a few things that happen to every single person who flies, and one of those things would be the fact that our ears pop. This is commonly known as "airplane ear", and it occurs every time the plane ascends into the air, and every time the plane goes to land, and the reason behind this is because the air pressure around us changes so fast that the air inside our ear expands, which creates pressure. This can cause severe ear pain, but if you yawn or chew gum, you can get your ears back to normal.
15 Our Skin Gets Dry
There are a lot of people who have to deal with dry skin, and when those people have to travel via airplane, they end up not having a very good time, because everyone's skin gets dry while flying. This happens because the humidity level inside an airplane is usually around 20%, which would be fine if it were not for the fact that even the Sahara has more humidity in it, which means that there is usually more moisture in a desert than in an airplane. Our skin is at its best when humidity levels are between 40% and 70%, and you cannot even get any relief from moisturizers because there is not enough moisture in the air for the moisturizer to work properly.
14 Our Face Gets Bloated
We all take selfies, and when we travel, many of us tend to take at least one as soon as we land, but as many of you might have noticed, people's faces tend to look a little bloated in those pictures. The reason for that lies with the fact that we tend to remain seated for either the entire flight or the majority of it, which causes a build up of gasses in the body, which leads to us getting bloated in areas like the face. If you walk around prior to getting off the plane though, there is a chance that you will be able to relieve some of your facial bloating.
13 Our Consumption Tolerance Drops
Everyone drinks alcohol at some point, and although it sounds like a bad idea, alcohol is available on flights, and more often than not, at least one of your fellow passengers will find themselves tipsy. When we see someone who is drunk, we usually assume that they simply drank too much, but that does not really apply on airplanes though, as our body's alcohol tolerance drops while we are in the air. This happens because of the low air pressure and low humidity levels in the cabin, which causes our blood to be unable to absorb alcohol like it normally would.
12 Higher Levels Of Emotion
If you exclude sociopaths, every single person on the planet has emotions, and our emotions can sometimes get out of hand, usually when we are stressed, and as we mentioned earlier, people get stressed on planes. On any given flight, there is likely at least one person who ends up crying, which makes sense because roughly 55% of people who travel via airplane find themselves to be more emotional while in the air. What is really interesting about this though is the fact that at least 40% of men either cry or feel like crying while they are on a flight.
11 Our Back Gets Sore
On any given flight, there are people who sleep with blankets, and those who sleep without one, and if you happen to be one of the people who does not use one then you are more likely to end up with a really sore back. While on a flight, you will be sitting for a prolonged period of time, which causes your muscles and tendons to contract, which causes back discomfort and soreness. When you sleep without a blanket, your body is obviously not as warm, and when your muscles contract while your body is colder, it can cause severe back pain.
10 We Ingest Harmful Bacteria
Earlier, it was mentioned that the lack of moisture in an airplane cabin causes you to get dehydrated, which is why you drink more water than usual while on a flight, but you should actually try to avoid drinking the water offered on the plane. The reason for this is quite simple, as the water usually has traces of fecal matter in it, which can lead to someone getting sick via listeria and/or E. coli. If you are flying for a long time, the best thing you can do is try and bring your own bottled water on the flight, but keep in mind that even if you do this, the food on the plane comes with its own set of bacteria as well.
9 Our Chances Of Getting Sick Skyrocket
When you get a cold or the flu, it is because you caught it from someone who caught it from someone else, and that happens because germs can literally be found everywhere. If you are in a confined space with a sick person, then there is a high probability that you will get sick as well, and that is exactly what happens while you are on a plane. Whether it is in the airport or the plane itself, you can find traces of the common cold, MRSA (which can cause a variety of different infections), and influenza virtually everywhere, which is why you are 80% more likely to get sick on a plane.
8 Our Legs Swell
We now know that it is not healthy to spend most of the day sitting, which means that it is not a smart idea to stay in your seat throughout the duration of a flight, especially if the flight lasts more than 5 hours. If you are on such a flight, you should try to get up and move around a bit, because our legs actually swell up while on an airplane, which is why people get leg cramps during flights. That is not the only thing that happens when your leg swells though, as it can also cause reddened skin, but more importantly, it causes the blood in your legs to become stationary, which can lead to blood clots.
Sleep is a natural bodily function, and without it, our body would not get the much-needed recharge that it needs, which is why people sleep on airplanes, but as you might have noticed, you get extra sleepy while on a flight. You can thank the plane's cabin pressure for that, as it is similar to what you might find if you were 8,000 feet above sea level, and when you are that high up, your body's red blood cells cannot take in oxygen like they normally would. This causes our body to not work at its normal speed, which means that we get tired a lot faster, which explains why people find it hard to stay awake during a flight.
6 We Get Toothaches
A lot of people have to deal with headaches, but there are also a lot of people who have to deal with toothaches, but in most cases, that kind of pain is the result of questionable dental hygiene and health. As mentioned earlier, the air pressure in the cabin changes a lot, and it can, in fact, affect your teeth if there is any kind of opening that can allow air into one or more tooth. Many people will deal with some level of dental discomfort while flying, but there are also people who end up dealing with much more serious pain, so before you get on a plane, try to see a dentist beforehand.
5 We Develop Some Memory Loss
No matter how old we get, we are able to remember things from our childhood thanks to our ability to retain memories, but this ability is not perfect, as we often forget things, while other people have to, unfortunately, deal with varying degrees of memory loss. Believe it or not, flying on an airplane actually negatively affects your memory, and it is all thanks to jet lag, which occurs whenever you travel long distances. Jet lag is capable of impairing our ability to retain certain memories, but what is really scary is the fact that in some cases this effect can last up to a month after the flight.
4 We Become More Gassy
There may be some people who do not want to admit it, but we all release gas from time to time, whether it be in the form of a burp, or in the form of flatulence, and it is good to get rid of that gas because keeping it in your body can lead to a slew of issues. For those who have been on a plane before, you have probably noticed that you feel gassier than usual while on the said flight, and that would be because of the air pressure in the cabin. This pressure causes the gasses in our body to circulate differently, which is why more gas escapes from us during a flight.
3 Our Breath Stinks
No one likes bad breath, which is why so many people choose to use mints, mouthwash, and/or gum to freshen their breath because no one wants to have a conversation with someone who smells like a sewer every time they open their mouth. With that being said, you should bring along some gum for your next flight, because as it turns out many people develop bad breath while flying. This happens because your body produces less saliva while in the air, which leads to your mouth getting dry, which leads to a build-up of bacteria, and bacteria tends to give off some bad odors.
2 Our Radiation Levels Rise
By now, most of us understand the dangers associated with radiation, as our bodies are not meant to absorb that kind of energy, but what many people might not realize is that our radiation levels actually rise while we are on an airplane. This should not be that surprising though, seeing as planes bring us much closer to the sun than normal, and for all the good our sun does, it does produce harmful radiation. Do not let this scare you though, because the amount of radiation we are exposed to while on flights is not harmful, as long as you are not a pilot or flight attendant who fly much more frequently.
1 Going To The Bathroom Can Be Difficult
No matter what you eat, your body will digest it as best it can, and when the entire process is done, you will hopefully find yourself in close proximity to a toilet, but some people do find it difficult to go to the bathroom when they have to go #2. Constipation can be a very serious issue, and what many people might not know is that everyone gets some form of constipation while flying. When you sit for a prolonged period of time, your metabolism slows down considerably, which is why so many people have a difficult time going to the bathroom during a flight.
References: bestlifeonline.com, brightside.me, home.bt.com