People want to get back into the air. You could have an even longer option if you fly long haul.

Qantas will start flying passengers from Australia's east coast to London on non-stop flights in the late 20th century. Current flights take the best part of 24 hours but are broken up into smaller legs.

One of these flights will affect your body. Do you think it's the same as when you fly long-haul?

1. You can become dehydrated

On long-haul flights, dehydration is a problem. You can feel dry on an airplane. The risk of dehydration increases with the length of the flight.

The cabin has a low level of humidity compared to the ground. A lot of the air in the cabin is drawn from the outside and there isn't a lot of water in the air at high altitudes.

Dehydration can be caused by drinking too much alcohol or not drinking enough water.

Water is a must before you jump on the plane. You will need to drink more water during the flight.

2. The cabin can play havoc with your ears, sinuses, gut, and sleep

Our bodies react to cabin pressure changes. As the aircraft increases in altitude, the opposite occurs as we descend. Common problems can be caused by this.

  • earaches – when the air pressure either side of your eardrum is different, placing pressure on the eardrum
  • headaches – can be caused by expanding air trapped in your sinuses
  • gut problems – just accept that you're going to fart more.

You can wake up more sleepy than usual. The body can't absorb as much oxygen from the cabin air as it can on the ground. Slowing down can make you sleepy as the body protects itself.

Most of the problems won't be more pronounced on longer flights. As the plane goes up and down, they're mostly an issue.

3. You could develop blood clots

People who are immobile for a long period of time can cause blood clot. Deep vein thrombosis that can travel to the lung is one of these.

If you don't move around on the plane, you're more likely to develop blood clot than if you do.

  • older age
  • obesity
  • previous history or a family history of clots
  • certain types of clotting disorders
  • cancer
  • recent immobilization or surgery
  • pregnancy or recently given birth
  • hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptive pill.

The longer you travel, the more likely you are to have a blood clot. There was a 26 percent higher risk for every two hours of air travel.

There is a risk of blood clot on these flights. We will not know for sure until we study them.

The current advice is still in effect. Limit alcohol consumption and keep moving.

Compression stockings can be used to prevent blood clot. The stockings are said to increase blood flow in the legs. This would happen when the muscles in your body contract.

The results of nine trials were combined with the results of 2,587 people who were randomized to wear compression stockings on flights lasting more than five hours.

The participants did not develop D VTs. There was evidence that people who wore stockings were less likely to develop a clot without symptoms.

If you're worried about your risk of blood clot, you should see your doctor.

If you develop a blood clot, you will not know about it until after the flight, as the clot takes time to form and travel.

If you notice any of the symptoms after the flight, you need to keep an eye out. Emergency health care is available if you need it.

4. Then there's jet lag, radiation, COVID

Jet lag is a new phenomenon to many of us. The time your body thinks it is and the time by the clock are two different things.

You are more likely to cross time zones if you are on a longer flight. If you cross three or more, jet lag will get worse.

It's reasonable to assume that the longer you're in the air, the more exposed you're going to be to Cosmic Radiation.

Radiation from space may increase the risk of cancer and reproductive issues. We don't know what the risk is.

It's not likely to be a problem unless you fly a lot. If you are pregnant or have other health concerns, talk to your doctor before you travel.

Don't forget carbon dioxide. You should wash your hands, wear a mask, and not fly if you are sick.

In a nutshell

The research into how the body reacts to long flights between Australia and Europe is still in its infancy. This is being looked at by teams in Australia.

If you're taking a regular long-haul flight, the advice is fairly straightforward.

If you have to, see your doctor before you travel. Drink water, wear a mask, and practice good hand hygiene while flying.

Blood clot can take hours or even days to form, grow, and move along your veins, so it's a good idea to see a doctor right away.

Tony Schiemer is a clinical lecturer at the university.

Under a Creative Commons license, this article is re-posted. The original article is worth a read.