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15 ways air travel can affect your health

Stacker Logo By Meagan Drillinger of Stacker | Slide 1 of 16: Leonardo da Vinci said it best: “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Even in the 15th century, people were being turned on by the possibility of flight. We’ve come a long, long way since then.

It's no secret that airplanes have revolutionized the way we see the world. About 3.6 billion people travel by plane every year, and according to the CDC, these numbers are rising. In fact, in the United States alone, people obtaining passports are increasing by the millions year after year. In 2015, 15.5 million Americans were issued passports. In 2019, that number rose to 20.6 million. But while air travel may be one of the most efficient ways to travel on the outside, inside the effects are wreaking havoc on our bodies.

From inner-ear stress and mood swings to sensory deprivation, and even some situations as risky as death itself, you may not understand what you're putting your body through every time you step on an airplane. Think about it. You're cruising at 35,000 feet in the air in a steel tube at an average rate of 500 miles per hour, with 300 of your closest friends. Nothing about it is natural. And while many preventative and security measures have been honed and perfected over the years to keep us all safe in the skies, nothing is truly perfect.

Stacker used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2020 Yellow Book (Health Information for International Travel) issued June 2020 to compile 15 facts about how air travel can impact health. Supplemental information was gathered from research conducted by health organizations, research centers, and news reports.

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Leonardo da Vinci said it best: “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Even in the 15th century, people were being turned on by the possibility of flight. We’ve come a long, long way since then.

It's no secret that airplanes have revolutionized the way we see the world. About 3.6 billion people travel by plane every year, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these numbers are rising. In fact, in the United States alone, people obtaining passports are increasing by the millions year after year. In 2015, 15.5 million Americans were issued passports. In 2019, that number rose to 20.6 million. But while air travel may be one of the most efficient ways to travel on the outside, inside the effects are wreaking havoc on our bodies.

From inner-ear stress and mood swings to sensory deprivation, and even some situations as risky as death itself, you may not understand what you're putting your body through every time you step on an airplane. Think about it. You're cruising at 35,000 feet in the air in a steel tube at an average rate of 500 miles per hour, with 300 of your closest friends. Nothing about it is natural. And while many preventive and security measures have been honed and perfected over the years to keep us all safe in the skies, nothing is truly perfect.

Stacker used the CDC 2020 Yellow Book (Health Information for International Travel)  to compile 15 facts about how air travel can impact health. Supplemental information was gathered from research conducted by health organizations, research centers, and news reports.

Click through the slide show above to learn more.

You may also like: Most and least stressed states in America

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