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Health Effects of Aviation Jobs: Why You Should Be More Conscious

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Working in the aviation industry can be very rewarding, especially if you consider the luxurious aspect of the job, but there are some health risks that aircraft crew and pilots need to keep in mind. Air travel for extended periods of time can raise the risk of several diseases and does put a lot of stress on the body. The change in atmospheric pressure and the drier air in the cabin can cause some circulatory problems, and most people tend to become very dehydrated. The combination of physical stressors and psychological stressors of flying can cause a number of disturbances in the body, and may even impact your health in the long run.

Working in the aviation industry can be very rewarding. But there are some health risks that aircraft crew and pilots need to keep in mind. Air travel for extended periods of time can raise the risk of several diseases and does put stress on the body.Click To Tweet

Here are some common and sometimes dangerous health effects of aviation jobs:

Environmental stressors

The higher level of ionizing radiation, including protons, neutrons, and y-radiation and electromagnetic fields can cause physical stress. Pilots and the flight crew are exposed to these stressors on a regular basis. In addition to this, the chemical pollutants in the environment including ozone and combustion products of jet fuels can be seriously damaging to one’s health.

Psychological stressors

Losing sleep and disrupting the body’s circadian rhythm can cause stress on the body and affect the immune system. Many aviation professionals end up being more vulnerable to infections and other diseases. Even when the aviator or flight crew have logged in enough sleep, their immune functions can be altered because of the stressful situations. More so, the imbalance of not getting enough sleep or rest aggravates the situation.

Biological stressors

Food poisoning is common when food onboard or at a destination becomes contaminated. Several factors contribute to the food becoming unfit for consumption and one of these is the dreaded flu virus which can easily be transmitted through the aircraft’s filtering systems. This can put the aviation crew at risk for a number of diseases. This is why it’s even more important for aviation professionals to follow a healthy diet and engage in activities, like regular exercise where they can build up a strong immune system.


Working long shifts without adequate sleep or experiencing a lot of stress on the job can lead to insomnia. Some aviation professionals also experience disorientation because of the irregular flights that they need to deal with and may have the tendency to find it difficult to fall and stay asleep.

Cosmic radiation

This is one thing that few people think about, but it can cause a number of health problems over time. At such high altitudes, cosmic-ray exposure rates are several hundred times greater than rates at ground level. Aviation crew members take in significantly high doses of radiation every year – a fact which not a lot of people are aware of. Aviation professionals who are pregnant need to be especially careful about how much radiation they expose themselves and their unborn child to during their pregnancy term.

Chemical pollutants

A number of chemicals and compounds in the environment, including ozone and the byproducts that arise from the combustion of jet fuel, can be very toxic to a person’s biological system. In an enclosed aircraft or when flying for extended periods of time, it is even more important to maintain a clean supply of air and breathe in air that passes through the filtration system whenever possible. The aircraft technicians need to make sure that the cabin has enough supply of clean air which is maintained from the exterior of the aircraft so that the crew will not be put at risk of inhaling byproducts and ozone.

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