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Travelling with Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (or DVT) can be a major concern to frequent long-distance flyers. Even if you do not fly often, it's important to know the potential risks and precautions you can take, that can reduce the danger of blood clots forming.

What is deep vein thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis happens when a blood clot forms inside your larger and deeper veins, such as your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause swelling in the affected area, warm, red skin and a painful ache around the clot. If deep vein thrombosis is left untreated, it can develop into a pulmonary embolism, which can cause chest pain and breathlessness and requires urgent medical attention.

Can you Fly with Deep Vein Thrombosis?

If you have had deep vein thrombosis in the past, flying soon afterwards may be of some concern. However, it does not increase your risk of contracting deep vein thrombosis when travelling again even if you have had deep vein thrombosis recently. This is dependent on a number of factors, such as the number of clots and the reason they were formed. You should speak to your GP or consultant to address your worries. Having a travel insurance policy suited to your condition also allows you to travel with peace of mind in the event of a claim.

How to Help Prevent deep vein thrombosis on a Flight

There are a number of ways that you can prevent contracting deep vein thrombosis on a flight. One of the most successful and surprisingly simple methods is ensuring that you go for a walk during the flight. Walking up and down the aisles can increase your blood flow and reduce your chance of a blood clot. If this is not possible, you should exercise in your seat.

Other options that could help you include; asking your GP about blood thinning medication, using compression stockings and making sure that you stay hydrated during your flight.

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