Don't forget this essential item on your next flight

11.07.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Dr Richard Dawood

Have you ever thought of applying sunscreen before taking a flight?

If not, you may want to reconsider.

A recent article in the Telegraph Travel with contribution from Fleet Street Clinic’s medical director, Dr Richard Dawood, has highlighted a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology. It reports that pilots flying for about 56 minutes at 30,000 feet were exposed to the same amount of carcinogenic UVA radiation as one would receive 20-minute session on a tanning bed.

The plane’s windshield blocked only about half of the UVA rays, dangerous enough to contribute to cancer risk.

However, applying this potential risk to all types of aircraft and to the cabin space outside the cockpit is “a bit speculative”, notes Dr Dawood. The aforementioned study was based on UV radiation measured from the cockpit of a Socata TBM850, a single turbo-prop private plane.

“Awareness of the issue is a good thing – especially for pilots; and for passengers, sensible use of window shades to avoid strong direct sunlight, which most people probably do anyway,”

– says Dr Richard Dawood.

For more travel advice, contact our expert travel team at Fleet Street Clinic – you can book an appointment online.

Dr Richard Dawood Headshot