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4 Tips to Avoid the Risk of Blood Clots During Holiday Travel

By Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter
 
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4 tips about blood clot risks when travelling for the holidays
MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

The holidays are upon us and many will be driving or flying to see family to celebrate. In our rush to arrive, we tend to sit too long in the car or an airplane, particularly if we are running late or the seating is overly cramped so it feels inconvenient get up.

This puts us at risk of developing blood clots in our legs or arms, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These clots are potentially dangerous if they travel through our blood stream to our lungs and cause a pulmonary embolus.

According to Harvard health, “Pulmonary embolism kills about one in five people who have one.”

People at risk of developing a DVT are those who smoke, are obese or have a family history of clot development. Certain medical conditions that affect clotting may also put some at risk such as having cancer, lung diseases or inflammatory bowel disease.

Women who take birth control pills need to be on alert. Anyone who has been immobilized for a long period of time, such as those with bone fractures, the elderly, or those recovering from major surgery to their abdomen, pelvis, hip or leg could also develop a DVT.

Signs and symptoms of a DVT should not be ignored. If you develop tenderness in your calf that does not go away, swelling of a limb, change in color or the limb feeling warmer than the other, you could have a DVT.

A pulmonary embolism can cause difficulty breathing, chest discomfort that increases on inspiration, coughing up blood, increased heart rate and possible lightheadedness or fainting.

Tips to avoid developing blood clots when traveling:

1. Move your legs often.
Try not to cross them and do not store luggage at your feet so you have enough room to move them about.

2. Get up and walk every two hours.
Flex and point your toes several times every hour while seated to keep the blood moving in your legs. Some people wear compression stockings when flying.

3. Drink water.
Avoid alcoholic drinks the night before and during the flight so you stay hydrated.

4. Talk to your doctor.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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