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Anybody Get Sick After Flying Semi/long-haul?  
User currently offlineSJCguy From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 579 posts, RR: 1
Posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 18312 times:

Stepped off NW207 DTW-SJC yesterday and sneezed. Today, I woke up with a horrible chest cold, sneezing, hacking, the whole bit... (Nice flight by the way...)

This is probably the 4th time this year I've been sick, and it has always started on a day preceeding a long to semi long flight I take. Does anybody else get sick after they fly? I know that "recycled" air has somthing to do with it, but maybe the fact I run myself into the ground when I travel has somthing else. Any thoughts?


11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 18307 times:

Since when was DTW-SJC considered to be longhaul? Or even semi-longhaul?

User currently offlineVirginLover From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 958 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 18297 times:

I can relate to that. Last Sunday when I flew EWR-LHR, I came down with motion sickness after the flight - there'd be times where I'd still feel like I was moving and I felt dizzy...I had that for the first 2 days of my trip. However, I've only felt this on trips to LHR on Virgin, my JFK-MAD trip on Iberia was fine, even if the flight itself was nowhere near Virgin's quality! On the return flight home yesterday, I didn't feel sick as in motion sickness, but I have a sore throat. Hey, a little sacrifice for flying on the best  Smile

User currently offlineKaitakfan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1589 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 18295 times:

Last month I flew ORD-HKG-NRT-SFO. Since then I have had a mild respiratory problem. Coughing and flem in the throat. This may have been aggravated by flying SFO-SYD-MEL-SYD-SFO last week. My nose is now a bit congested as well. I too run myself into the ground when I travel. Just to show you how bad I flew a red eye flight from LAX to ORD before the 15 hour flight to HK. After getting into HK my friend and I went out to a party until 5AM. Slept only 2 hours then were back at it again and up late the next night before heading home. So I would imagine the long flights plus wearing the body down really does have a negative effect on health.

User currently offlineSEA nw DC10 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 491 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 18293 times:

DTW-SJC is a 4.45 flight bro...it ain't shorthaul. Shorthaul is DTW-MSP, MCO-FLL, DAL-HOU, SEA-GEG...need I go on?

Yes, I've experienced sickness after long haul flights, and ever after some short ones. It's the people you're around I guess, and yeah it has somthing to do with the air inside...

SEA nw DC10

User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2636 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 18291 times:

Most likely you became dehydrated. In all the planes I know, it's a myth about recycled air. You get more fresh air in a plane than in any building I know of, unless you open every window in your house with a stiff breeze blowing. In our 767's, the entire cabin is replaced with fresh air every couple minutes.

Getting dehydrated is easy to do though, because the air at altitude is VERY dry. You don't notice it, but your sinuses and such get dried out, and then more susceptible to dust, allergens, viruses etc.

Since I started flying longhaul, I drink at least one liter of water per flight, usually more. Skip the caffeniated soda and coffee, because they just help dehydrate you faster. Stick with the water - and lots of it - and you'll feel fine after a flight.


One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineFutureSQPilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 147 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 18280 times:

When I flew back from DPS to RSW with no sleep the whole way (about 60 hrs with stopovers...no sleep during stopover b/c of jetlag) I felt dizzy from fatigue and I felt like I was still flying sometimes, not to mention that my face was very dried out from the dry cabin air. Luckily I didn't pick anything up... However, on my about 3 hr flight SIN to DPS I had about 4 sick kids in the 6 seats nearest me, and the next day I came down with a head cold (surprise surprise). I don't know how the recirculated air works...but I imagine that you have a greater chance of getting sick in coach of a widebody plane as you're exposed to more people, and of course the longer the flight the more exposure.

User currently offlineArtsyman From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4748 posts, RR: 32
Reply 7, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 18280 times:

I used to always get colds after flights, but now I fly so much I seem to have developed some sort of immunity to it all.


User currently offlineVirginFlyer From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 4652 posts, RR: 37
Reply 8, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 18244 times:

I recently read a report on getting sick after flying. Some of the factors listed were:

- Dehydration (as HAL said). The cabin of a jet airliner at cruising altitude is as dry as a desert. This of course is going to have an effect on your general ability to function, and will weaken your immune system

- Lower Air Pressure. Aircraft cabins are typically pressurised to a cabin altitude of around 8000 feet. The lower pressure also affects your body's functionings, including your immune system.

- Fatigue. Dehydration and low pressure are enough to make you somewhat tired. Add into this, for longer flights, the effect of jet lag, and you will be very tired. This of course renders you a lot more susceptible to infection.

- Sitting in close proximity to others over a prolonged period of time. This naturaly increases your chances of catching something someone sitting near by may have. It is not necessarily a matter of air circulation, simply the fact that you are close to a lot of other people.

- Climate changes. If you are flying between two different climates, then chances are you will be more susceptible to picking up some sort of illness at your destination, soon after getting there. People then tend to blame this on the flight.

Hope this is helpful,


"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
User currently offlineBlink182 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 5499 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 18229 times:

I usually feel a little motion sickness after any flight(takeoff/landing) and especially long ones. I took a four hour flight yesterday and sort of feel like the room is tilting one way. It is similar to how an aircraft turns.


Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
User currently offlineDinker225 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1080 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 18197 times:

I have never gotten sick after a flight. I guess it helps living above 8000 ft. your whole life and having the average humidity level under 20 percent on a daily basis. I'm pretty imune to it I guess.

As for the motion sickness goes, after arriving in Australia in June after a fairly rough ride across the pacific, I could kinda feel like I was still bumping up and down but it left after a few hours.


Two rules in aviation, don't hit anything and don't run out of gas, cause if you run out of gas yer gonna hit something.
User currently offlineRonE From Israel, joined Jan 2001, 326 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (13 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 18147 times:

When I flew from LHR to SIN a few years ago I had a very aggressive head cold which lasted for a couple of weeks. Of course, I'm sure some of it had to do with the fact that during the flight I fell asleep wearing a t-shirt with the airconditioning blasting at me.

However, after most longhaul flights I get this after-taste in my mouth- this dry feeling and the smell of the cabin still lingers for a day or two as well as this slight nauseous sensation which lasts for a few hours after landing.

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