There are certain guidelines airlines must adhere to for the safety of the passengers and crew. Cabin pressurization must be regulated if the pilot will be flying around 11,000 ft or higher. The air is much thinner the higher you go, so there must be a system ready to drop cabin pressure when the plane ascends, to distribute the proper amount of oxygen for everyone aboard. No one wants to be flying in a plane with an oxygen-deprived unconscious pilot.
The altitude and lack of oxygen could otherwise result in feelings of dizziness, fatigue and flight sickness. Lower air pressure can also lead to uncomfortable side-effects. Gas, being one of them. As pressure drops, any trapped gases in our bodies will expand. This happens to everybody on the flight.
There are air purifying systems able to cleanse 50% of the circulated air in the cabin. Air gets recirculated every 2-3 minutes by a (HEPA) High Efficiency Particulate Filter. It’s good to know some of the air will be recirculated after being filtered. But this is only when the system is turned on. During times of delayed takeoff, the filtering systems are typically not turned on.
Another one of the downsides to the filtered, recycled and redistributed air is how dry it becomes. The air humidity levels at cruising altitudes are significantly lower than what we’re used to. Dry air can lead to a dry nose, which can then lead to a dry throat and of course dry skin. It’s important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water instead of sugary beverages, like soda and juice.
When we sit for too long, blood flow and fluid can be restricted and pool in the veins in our legs, causing swelling. A warm, tender throbbing pain can result from the swelling. Any time blood flow is restricted we’ll need to try and compensate for the lack of movement. The muscles in our legs are somewhat responsible for moving blood through them.
Experts say we need to try and move our legs as much as possible during the flight. Trips to the bathroom and stretching your feet back and forth are good ways to keep moving. You can even press the back of your foot and then toes into the ground and focus on spreading your toes apart. These movements can facilitate blood circulation.
Back and Neck Pain
The effects of sitting too long in an uncomfortable, slimmer designed seat, with less and less padding can potentially ruin your day. Constant pressure on your tailbone and lack of lumbar support can lead to neck pain from not being able to properly adjust your spine.