Did you ever wonder how your body responds to flight?
We did too! So we built the Flight Health app to understand how flight impacts heart rate and rhythm, cognitive functioning, breathing, oxygen saturation at altitude, and health symptoms.
With today’s availability of wearable technology, we are able to take a more hands-on approach to monitor health symptoms in relation to flight. This means that we will have more real-time data on how flight may affect your health.
The app is available for free for any interested flight attendant, pilot, former crew member, or passenger with an iPhone.
Here’s how to get on board the Flight Health app
You can download the Flight Health app in the Apple app store. [For now, the Flight Health app is only available to be downloaded to an iPhone.]
Once you download the app and open it, you will be prompted through a series of questions to set up your profile and register. You will also be asked if you agree to have the Flight Health app sync with the Apple Health app that you already have on your phone.
If you’d like to use the app and contribute to our data collection, we recommend that you track flight(s) on your iPhone starting from 2 hours before departure, during the flight, and within 2 hours after landing. Tracking will include answering questions about your health, including sleep quality, and cognitive tests. Each activity should take no more than 5 minutes.
Do you have an Apple Watch?
If you have an Apple Watch, you can also sync the Watch with the Flight Health app. The app itself measures health symptoms, cognitive functioning, and sleep quality through a series of questions and exercises. And the Apple Watch measures your heart rate and rhythm, and physical activity(steps taken). As you enter data pre, during, and post flight, you will see the effects of flight at these stages on your heart rate and rhythm and physical activity via the Apple Health app.
Other optional sensors include a Spire monitor to measure respiration, an iHealth Air pulse oximeter to measure blood oxygenation, and a ResMed S+ sleep monitor to measure sleep quality before flight and during layovers. If you sync all of these devices with the Flight Health app, we will be able to collect this valuable data, and you will be able to track the patterns on the Apple Health app.
Your privacy is of utmost importance to us.
We take great care to protect the privacy of your information. All data is encrypted and transmitted securely to a password protected storage database. Your personal, identifying information (name and email address) will be separated from the rest of your study data. Harvard researchers are trained in handling highly confidential data and will not disclose personal information to anyone at any time without your consent.
You participation adds a wealth of information to the little we currently know about health before, during, and after flying.
Our hope is that this research will shed light on subtle, difficult to detect flight-related changes in health markers, sleep, and mood that could affect the risk of diagnosable health outcomes. Our goal is to distribute the full sensor package to as many flight attendants as possible in future research efforts!
Please spread the word to your friends, co-workers, and union. The more people who volunteer, the greater impact we can make on the flight attendant community and the availability of scientific knowledge for all flight crew and passengers.