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Avanti Travel Insurance blog

26 May

Worried about DVT when travelling on long haul flights?

Top 5 Ways To Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis

Easy Ways To Prevent The Development Of Travel Related DVT

Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT can be a serious complication of travelling on long-haul flights. Find out the best ways to prevent the development of blood clots here.

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Deep Vein Thrombosis, which is often referred to as DVT, is the formation of a blood clot in your vein, often in the legs, which causes blood flow to the rest of the body to be blocked. DVT affects an estimated 1 in 1,000 people in the UK each year and can be life-threatening. There are different categories of people who are more at risk of developing DVT, such as obese people and pregnant women, but one of the more common ways to get deep vein thrombosis is by flying on a long-haul flight. This is because DVT is caused by immobility and slow-moving blood in the body that is more likely to clot.

Travellers should also be aware that there are several ways in which to decrease the chance of developing DVT. Here are the top 5 ways to reduce the chance of getting a clot:


Stay Hydrated

If you are dehydrated then your blood becomes sticker and more likely to clot. So, even though travellers can understandably wish to avoid visiting the tiny aircraft toilet facilities too often, it’s imperative that you keep drinking water to hydrate you. It’s also a good idea to avoid drinking alcohol, as it dehydrates the body.


Dress the part

Loose, comfortable clothing will allow the blood to keep flowing on long haul flights, so leave the skinny jeans in your suitcase. You might also want to consider buying flight socks, also known as compression stockings, which are thought to increase blood flow.


Don’t take sleeping pills

Sleeping pills are sometimes taken by travellers who don’t want to spend the first couple of days of a holiday recovering from their flight! However, research has shown that sleeping pills can significantly increase a person’s chance of developing DVT, particularly if they’re sleeping in a cramped, seated position like those found in Economy class. If you must take a sleeping pill, it would be better for you to be lying down in a Business class seat.


Exercise onboard

Travellers are advised to regularly get out of their seat and walk up and down the aisle a few times, when allowed, in order to keep the blood flowing in their legs. When it is necessary for passengers to stay in their seats, there are some seated exercises that can also be beneficial.

Exercises include repeated circling of the ankles in both directions and also pressing the toes firmly into the floor whilst raising the heel, which helps with blood flow up the calf.


Keep luggage stored overhead

The overhead locker is the ideal space in which to store your luggage, rather than in the extremely limited area in front of your feet. It’s important that you have chance to stretch out your legs and feet as much as possible, so hand that bag over to the stewardess to further decrease your chances of clotting.

Deep Vein Thrombosis can be a worry for long haul passengers, particularly as it is initially symptomless, so for extra reassurance it’s often a good idea to take out some long stay travel insurance before you depart to ensure that you are covered for medical emergencies.

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