15 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Fly

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6. Motion sickness

Motion sickness is a common side effect of traveling and, contrary to popular belief, it happens to people who don’t only travel by sea or car. The body, the inner ear, and the eyes send inconsistent signals to the brain. Cold sweats, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue are common symptoms. Many student pilots experience motion sickness. But after a while they get used to the sensations of the flight environment and don’t have any issues.

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7. Swollen feet and ankles

Leg and foot swelling is very common during flights — you sit down too much, blood flow slows down and blood pools in your leg veins. That, combined with the extra pressure on your legs from sitting, leads to swelling. Most of the time this is harmless and is easily taken care of –“ just get up every hour or so and move around — and never wear tight clothing. People at a higher risk of swelling and experiencing complications from it are pregnant women and people who’ve recently had surgery or take certain medications.

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8. Bad breath

Who hasn’t been embarrassed to open their mouth after waking up from a nap on a plane? Bad breath is a side effect of dehydration. Saliva, which has antibacterial properties, keeps the mouth clean and bacteria away. Chewing gum can help stimulate saliva production.

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9. Dehydration

The reason you get dehydrated in airplane cabins is because of the low-humidity level. Jets draw in 50% of the air circulating in the cabin from the outside, and that air lacks moisture. The obvious answer is to drink more water and refill a water bottle often. You should also wear glasses instead of contact lenses and your carry-on should contain lotion, eye drops, and nasal spray.

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10. Mood changes

Medical journals say there are studies that suggest jet travel appears to cause mood changes based on the disruption of the circadian rhythm. Though the medical community is not certain why this happens, enough research has been done to confirm that it does. The studies say these changes increase periods of depression for those traveling west compared with those with an elevated rate of manic/hypomanic episodes — this is associated with bipolar disorder — with eastward travel.