How to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis When You Travel

How to Avoid a Blood Clot

You can lower your chances of a blood clot. Brand New Images / Getty Images

If you have a lengthy trip planned, you might want to make sure you work in some leg stretches along the way. That's because blood clots — or deep vein thrombosis — can happen if you're sitting for extended lengths of time, and not just on an airplane. Here's a look at how you can avoid a blood clot on your travels.

Deep vein thrombosis and the older adult: Serious blood clots become more common after the age of 60, and are twice as likely during long-distance travel lasting more than 4 hours.

If a blood clot forms in the leg, breaks off and gets stuck in the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism. Such an embolism can be fatal if left untreated.

To reduce your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism while traveling, you should:

  • Move your legs often in your seat
  • Do stretches by flexing and pointing your toes
  • Walk up and down the aisle
  • If you're traveling by car, stop every hour and walk around for a few minutes.
  • Wear compression socks or stockings if recommended by your doctor
  • Tell your health-care provider of your travel plans; you may be prescribed a blood thinner before your trip
  • Stay well-hydrated during your journey

Even people who have had a blood clot in the past should be able to travel safely with some precautions.

Sources:

Deborah Nicolls Barbeau. "Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism. Counseling & Advice for Travelers US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/dvt

Deep Vein Thrombosis. Transport Canada Public Information Sheet. Accessed June 21, 2013.
http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/commerce-cabinsafety-dvt-1086.htm

Deep Vein Thrombosis. US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Public Information Sheet. Accessed June 21, 2013.
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dvt/

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