How to Travel With a DVT

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Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot that forms in one of the deep veins, typically in the calf. Most often occurring soon after a long period of inactivity during an airplane flight or car trip, a DVT clot might not form until days or weeks after traveling. The main symptom of DVT is pain, redness or swelling in the calf that is made worse when standing or walking. If the clot dislodges, it can cause serious complications and even death. Seniors, pregnant women and overweight people are most at risk of DVT.

Things You'll Need

  • Loose clothing
  • Anti-thrombosis legwear
  • Do exercises every hour during your trip to keep clots from forming. This is particularly important on airplane flights of more than four hours in length. You can walk up and down the aisles of the plane or exercise your calves by rotating your ankles.

  • Wear loose clothing while traveling. Tight clothes can reduce blood flow, increasing the risk of a clot. Your body can expand slightly during a flight due to the change in cabin pressure, so loose clothing leaves room to accommodate any changes in size.

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Avoid beverages that can dehydrate you, specifically caffeine-containing drinks and alcohol.

  • Get properly fitted for anti-thrombosis socks or stockings if you are at risk for DVT. This leg wear can help increase blood flow in your calves. It is important to be fitted for these items, because socks or stockings that are too tight can reduce blood flow; those that are too loose will have no effect on circulation.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are at high risk for developing travel-related DVT, consult your doctor before flying.

References

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