Six tips for staying healthy when you're travelling with Deep Vein Thrombosis

If you have deep vein thrombosis, you’ll know just how awful it can be to travel with. Holiday can seem like they’re out of the question considering the length of time sitting down and the risk factors, but there are some really helpful tips to get you on the trip of a lifetime, even if you have a history of clotting.

You’re not alone either – plenty of long-distance travellers find they have the condition if they travel for more than four hours on any mode of transport. Blood clots can form if you are sitting in one spot for long periods and the longer you sit down without moving, the more prone you will be to a blood clot.

1. Check with your doctor before you travel

As with any time you travel, make sure you have a check up to rule out any issues you weren’t aware of. The appointment is a great time to bring up any questions you may have about DVT and to see if you’re able to take blood-thinning medication.

2. Know your risk

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The risk of developing a blood clot is quite small but the fear is always there, threatening to ruin your wonderful and exciting holiday. You’re more susceptible to blood clots if you are:

  • Over 50
  • Obese
  • Had a recent injury or surgery
  • Take hormone replacement therapy
  • Have had a blood clot before
  • Have active or recent cancer treatment
  • Limited mobility
  • Varicose veins

3. Take a walk

It might sound obvious but the best thing to decrease your risk of a blood clot on a long flight is to get up and walk around the cabin once the seatbelt sign is turned off. Walk up and down the aisles and before you are seated, request an aisle seat at the check-in as you will have more leg room to stretch out.

4. Wear compression stockings

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If you have had a DVT scare before, you will want to make sure you wear compression stockings to improve blood flow in your calves. Special stockings provide graduated pressure that’s strongest at the ankle and gradually decreases up to the knee or thigh. Below the knee is usually sufficient, but if you had a blood clot that extended above the knee into the thigh, then thigh compression stockings are advised.

5. Do exercises in your seat

You might look a bit silly but it’s better to look funny for a few minutes than have a life-threatening blood clot. Move your legs up and down and flex your feet improve blood flow in your calves, 20 times in 30 minutes.

6. Stay hydrated

As we all know, over 60s are at a high risk of dehydration as our bodies struggle to retain water and we lose our sense of thirst. Keeping hydrated is even more crucial up in the air so drink water once an hour and avoid alcohol.

Do you suffer from deep vein thrombosis? What do you do to avoid symptoms when you travel?