Travelling with DVT: 6 tips to get the most out of your holiday 14



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If you have deep vein thrombosis, you’ll know just how awful it is. Travel seems like it can be 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 older long-distance travellers can have it if they travel for more than four hours on any mode of transport. Blood clots can form if you are sat 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

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

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.


Tell us, do you have a history of DVT? What do you do to avoid symptoms when you travel?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. My husband was diadoised with DVT a few weeks before his sons wedding in Canada, our doctor said he was probably the safest person on the flight as he was taking prescribed medication…we went and all was ok. Get medical advice is the way to go…..

  2. I have had DVT 3 times in my life and once a clot travelled and I ended up in ICU with a pulmonary embolism I almost lost my life. I am now on Warfarin a blood thinner and have been for 24 years and will be for the rest of my life. I travel by plane once or twice a year to visit relatives and each time it horrendous. My ankles swell and my legs ache. I do exercises to keep my legs moving but it’s only a stop gap. I would hate to go through it all again. It’s no fun having DVT!

    3 REPLY
    • I have also had 3 DVT’s and have also been on Warfarin for 24 years…..I haven’t had any problems with flying. I do have a slight swelling problem sometimes in the heat over summer if I’m not very mobile.

    • The stocking help with DVT. They are wonderful. My daughter always wears them in planes as well as the walking and just moving your feet up and down. Yes they are difficult to get on but with practice it gets easier

    • Similar problem with DVT & resulting PEs- fly at least twice a year. Am on warfarin & move my feet around throughout the flights- no further problems.

  3. I have previously read comments on this site that advise taking Aspirin. .WRONG!
    That affects arteries not veins!

    2 REPLY
    • Hi Gillian, please know that we never make recommendations or give advice! We share news and expert opinion but will never endorse any pharmaceutical product or process.

  4. I have found if you do too much walking the days leading up to a long haul flight you will have swelling on the flight. Difficult to avoid when holidaying but worth thinking about taking it easy day before if possible.

  5. I had a DVT on a trip yo the UK it developed into 3 PE in the lung. I still travel but inject myself before I leave on landing in Dubai and on arrival in the UK and the same coming back. It has not stopped me from flying

  6. If you have had a DVT ask to be tested for Protein S Deficiency, it makes you more likely to clot

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