Are you planning to get away this Christmas? Perhaps you are going to escape the cold and get some sunshine or may be you will be visiting family “down under”. If you are travelling for more than 4 hours, then take care of your legs veins.
For the majority of us, a travel-related DVT is very unlikely, but it can be devastating. So, the following simple advice should keep you safe.
- Wear good quality medical grade compression stockings. If you suffer from diabetes or leg circulation problems, seek advice before wearing compression stockings or flight socks and in any event make sure you are properly measured and fitted.
- Do the in-flight exercises demonstrated before takeoff. Leg flexing exercises while seated result in substantial increases in blood flow in the deep vein system. Take a walk around the cabin every one to two hours (only when it is safe to do so). Stow your hand luggage in the overhead locker so that your legs have more room.
- Avoid sleeping on the flight if at all possible, even on the night-time flight. Avoid alcohol and don’t take sleeping tablets.
- Keep hydrated by drinking water or fruit juices.
- Wear loose comfortable clothing.
- If you have had a DVT in the past, if you have recently been discharged from hospital or if you are receiving treatment for cancer see a vein specialist who may suggest you are treated with blood thinning medication or even that you delay your flight. Women who have recently had a baby are at an increased risk of DVT and they should take extra care.
Deep vein thrombosis is sometimes very difficult to diagnose. If however you have swelling or discomfort in one leg after a flight or long car journey, or if you suffer from shortness of breath or pains in your chest following your journey seek medical advice urgently and request an ultrasound scan.
For the majority, taking these simple precautions will maintain the health of your leg veins. Have a great Christmas holiday!