The air pressure in the aircraft during flight is 70%-80% less than that on the ground, and gives you the feeling as if you were on a mountain with an altitude of 2,000-2,500 meters. Also, 15-30 minutes after takeoff and before landing, a concentrated change in air pressure occurs. As a result, though passengers with good health are not particularly affected, depending on physical condition and constitution, it is said that changes in air pressure can cause aviation otitis in passengers.
- Various ear impairments caused by changes in air pressure during the elevation and descent of airplanes are generally referred to as "aviation otitis."
The airplane's on-board temperature is set to approximately 22°-26°C on its air conditioning unit. Humidity lowers as the time in the air becomes longer, and can lower to under 20% on long flights. When the cabin's air becomes drier, your body may require more water, and your eyes may dry, or your throat and nose may experience pain.
Airplanes do not experience much shaking or turbulence, but these things may occur when taking off and landing, or when passing through places with unstable air streams.
Posture While Seated
When sitting for long periods of time in the same posture without moving your lower limbs, depending on your physical constitution or physical history, hypostasis can occur in the veins in your legs, causing blood clots (deep vein thrombosis). On long flights, avoid crossing your legs, and move them around appropriately.
- "Deep vein thrombosis" is a condition where blood pools (clots) in the blood vessels (veins) behind your knees, where circulation is poor, and is carried to your lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. Symptoms include pain in the legs, swelling, change in color, and your legs feeling warmer than usual.
Please consult with your attending physician before boarding if you have a condition, as it is said that those with the following conditions or symptoms are particularly susceptible.
- Those with (a history of) deep vein thrombosis or acute pulmonary thromboembolism, or a family history including such conditions
- Those (recently) receiving major surgery, those with malignant tumors, those with conditions causing blood clot formation, or those with abnormal blood coagulation resulting from obesity
- Those with varicose veins, heart failure or recent symptoms of heart infarction, those receiving hormone therapy including oral contraceptives, those currently pregnant or who have just recently given birth, and those who have held the same body position continuously up to the day before boarding (being confined to a bed or spending long amounts of time in such things as cars, trains, or airplanes)
Easily Occurring Symptoms While in the Aircraft and Counter Measures Against Them
Find out about things to be generally careful about when boarding the airplane as well as physical changes and symptoms often seen in the cabin, and how to prevent or treat them.
If you have any unease regarding your health or if you have a condition to which an airplane is not appropriate, please consult with your attending physician before boarding.
If you are prone to air sickness, bringing your frequently used or familiar over-the-counter medicine aboard with you is recommended.
Please get plenty of rest the day before the flight.
Symptoms Occurring from the Air and Countermeasures Against Them
Due to air pressure, plugging and pain in the ears occurs. If you experience these symptoms, try the following countermeasures.
- Drink liquids
- Suck on hard candy or chew gum, and swallow your saliva
- Open your mouth wide and yawn
- Move your head up and down, and open and close your mouth, moving your jaw
If the symptoms do not clear even after trying the methods above, popping your ears (Valsalva maneuver*) is another option.
*The "Valsalva maneuver" involves first blowing air out of your nose, pinching your nostrils shut with your fingers, and then basically blowing your nose while your mouth is closed, and finally gently blowing air through your nose.
For babies, let them put the nozzle of their baby bottle or pacifier in their mouth.
Throat, Nose, Eye, and Other Pain
The humidity in the passenger's cabin lowers to under 20% while in flight, and your body requires more water, possibly making your eyes dry, or your throat and nose experience pain.
- Frequent, supplementary drinks of water, wearing a surgical mask, and periodic eye drops
Passengers can feel sick and vomit from things like sudden turbulence while in flight.
- Avoid boarding on an empty stomach
- Stay away from alcoholic beverages and drinks containing caffeine like coffee and tea
- Medicine for motion sickness
- Loosen clothing
- Recline your seat and relax