advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Flying: Bad Air Up There?
I have been traveling more often lately and the smell of the air on the plane immediately makes me nauseous and "grimy." Is there a clean air device you recommend or something else I can use? I don't have fear of flying.
A
Answer (Published 3/26/2003)

Aircraft air quality is a real problem for millions of travelers and thousands of airline employees. More than a year ago, a report from the National Research Council found evidence suggesting that a number of problems with the air circulating in passenger cabins may cause health problems. The report listed concerns that ozone levels in the cabin air may exceed regulatory standards, that oxygen pressure may not be adequate to protect passengers with pre-existing heart or respiratory diseases and that the air may be contaminated with traces of engine oil, hydraulic fluid, de-icing solutions, and even pesticides sprayed on international flights.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Whole Body - Foods, herbs and drugs can all interact, sometimes in unexpected ways. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes known interactions into account when developing nutritional supplement recommendations, to help safeguard against adverse effects. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor recommendation today.

Not surprisingly, those most affected are flight attendants and other crew members, some of whom have been complaining for years about headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea and other health problems which they attribute to poor quality cabin air. Two years ago, Alaska Airlines flight attendants won a $725,000 out-of-court settlement based on their contention that design flaws in two types of planes the airline flies had allowed chemical fluids to mix with cabin air and make them sick. However, the flight attendants lost a subsequent suit against the planes'manufacturers.

The aircraft air quality issue may not be satisfactorily resolved without public pressure on the FAA and Congress for better regulation of this important aspect of air travel. In the meantime, purchasing a portable personal air purifier may make plane trips more comfortable for you. You can find a number of products on the Internet and in catalogs, but I'm not familiar enough with any to make a specific recommendation. Be sure to check with the flight crew before using any portable electronic device while in flight.

If you travel by air frequently, another option I can suggest is an expensive one: fly first class if you can upgrade. The first-class cabin provides more outside air per person. You also may feel better during and after air travel if you avoid alcohol during flights, drink plenty of water, and consider taking an immune-boosting herb such as Echinacea or astragalus before you get on the plane.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related Topics

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here