How not to clot


The risk of a clot or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) after long plane flights is extremely low, but it can be a serious medical problem. The media has dubbed this condition “economy class syndrome”. However, it may occur after travelling business class, or after long trips in cars, buses, trains etc.

If you develop pain or discomfort in your legs after a long journey, it is wise to seek medical attention.

There are three easy steps you can take to lessen the risk.

  1. Ask your travel agent about a stopover
  2. Some travellers are at greater risk
    • Travelling time greater than 12 hours
    • Anyone with a family history of abnormal clotting
    • Pregnant travellers or those on a contraceptive pill
    • Those who had previous DVT
    • Those travelling after surgery or illness
    • Anyone travelling with a plaster cast
    • Overweight travellers
    • Smokers

High-risk travellers need to see The Travel Doctor BEFORE they go.

  1. On the plane, remember
    • Water – drink plenty during the journey
    • Activity – exercise your legs – walk around the plane
    • Luggage – must not press on the back of your legs
    • Compression stockings – need to be properly fitted

Aspirin stops arterial clotting but it has no role in preventing DVT. Travellers at risk should consult the travel doctor for proper advice.

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