Problems Regarding The Cabin Environment
1. Air Quality
Half of the air in the cabin of all modern aircrafts comprise of the fresh air entering inside through the engines. The air coming in is taken in after being filtered by the air filters called HEPA. All cabin air is replenished every 2-3 minutes. In other words, the cabin air is completely refreshed 20-30 times per hour. In this respect, the cabin environment has much more clean and refreshed atmosphere than the house or office environment. Organic compounds, microorganisms , the amount of carbon monoxide , carbon dioxide and ozone in the cabin air do not pose a problem in terms of health.
The HEPA filters prevent the bacteria,fungi,certain viruses and other particles from entering in . Despite certain diseases known to be transmitted in aircraft cabins, it is thought that mostly person-to-person transmission, rather than by cabin filter system, occurs when the sick person coughs and sneezes. For this reason, especially the persons with communicable diseases such as tuberculosis must not fly unless the mentioned diseases are under control. Passengers should definitely cover their mouth and nose by handkerchief or by their arm while coughing and sneezing during the flight.
The humidity in cabin is generally under 20%, and it means that the air is dry. This low level of humidity causes some slight discomfort (due to dryness in skin and eyes), but does not pose any risk in terms of health.
In order to minimize the mentioned discomfort due to dryness in skin and eyes passengers should;
- Drink enough amount of water and juice,
- Limit the amount of alcohol, tea, coke, coffee and other drinks containing caffeine , ( because they increase the loss of fluid in body, and cause more significant dryness in skin )
- Use glasses instead of contact lenses during the flight,
- Use moisturizing creams will be helpful for a trouble-free flight.
For passengers who suffer from airsickness it’s recommended to,
- Prefer a window seat or a seat over a wing,
- Prefer travelling onboard the large aircrafts,
- Do not to take alcohol 24 hours before and during the flight,
- Keep their seatbelts fastened during flight,
- If the sickness is serious, they need to consult with a physician to know if they will need to take any medicine before the flight or not.
In case of prolonged immobilization during flight, blood congestion occurs in the vessels called deep veins, especially in the deep veins of legs, which carry blood to the heart, since healthy blood circulation cannot be maintained. Prolonged blood congestion may result in thrombosis therein. This may be observed in the passengers travelling by train, car, bus and aircraft for a prolonged time and it is called travel thrombosis ( clot formation ). This is related with prolonged immobilization and prolonged sitting, and it does not only pertain to air travel.
Travel Thrombosis may cause leg pain and/or leg swelling, which may continue for days and weeks after the travel, and it is not that much hazardous. These blood clots, which are called Deep vein thromboses, do not pose serious problems for health unless they do not travel in the body. However, some blood clots rarely dislodge and travel to heart and then lungs, and this may cause a dangerous condition called Pulmonary Embolism. This may be dangerous to the extent of threatening life by causing embolism (blockage in artery) in the lungs and prevention of returning clean blood to the heart.
In order to prevent deep vein thrombosis, passengers should pay attention to some issues especially during long distance flights.
It is important for passengers to ,
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes, underwear, socks and shoes; avoid tight clothes which may interrupt blood circulation,
- Never place something underneath the seat in front during flight,
- Drink especially water and juices. Avoid drinking alcohol, tea, coke and other drinks containing caffeine as much as possible,
- Walk around in the cabin at periodic intervals ( such as 60-90 minutes) as much as possible,
- Ones who have cardiovascular disease, cancer or thrombosis, must definitely consult with their physician, in order to not to experience such kind of problem.