Booked A Long Flight? Here Are My Top Tips To Help Prevent A Blood Clot!
Hey guys! This weeks video is about how you can prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) when traveling long distance. It's a question I get asked quite often in the pharmacy so I hope this video helps everyone.
WHAT IS A Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
A DVT is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg. The deep veins in the leg are blood vessels which go through the calf and thigh muscles, and are not those which you can see just below the skin.
WHAT IS TRAVEL-RELATED DVT?
Long journeys (more than four hours) by plane, train, bus, car, etc, are thought to cause a slightly increased risk of DVT. This is probably due to sitting immobile and cramped for long periods. Blood flows more slowly, and collects in the legs when they are hanging down. Blood flowing slowly is more likely to make a clot.
The risk of DVT from travel is small. Research studies suggest that there is about one DVT for every 4,656 flights that last for four hours or more. The longer the flight, the more likely you are to develop a DVT. It has to be stressed that the vast majority of travellers have no problems. Other risk factors are involved, so for most people the chance of developing a DVT just from a long journey is very small.
CONDITIONS THAT MAY INCREASE RISK OF DVT ON FLIGHTS OF 8 HOURS OR MORE:
• History of DVT or pulmonary embolism;
• Heart disease;
• Inherited tendency to clot (thrombophilia);
• Recent surgery – pelvic region or legs;
• Hormone replacement therapy.
For an up-to-date list visit: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/travelhealth/Pages/PreventingDVT.aspx
If you or a family member falls in any of the above categories, we recommend that you visit your GP before travelling.
(image taken from 'Air Travel–Related Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism',
EXERCISE & TIPS TO REDUCE DVT ON FLIGHTS:
Whilst travelling on a long journey, particularly on a long-haul plane trip, exercise your calf and foot muscles regularly:
• Every half hour or so, bend and straighten your legs, feet and toes when you are seated.
• Press the balls of your feet down hard against the floor or foot rest every so often. This helps to increase the blood flow in your legs.
• Take a walk up and down the aisle every hour or so, when the seatbelt signs are not switched on.
• Make sure you have as much space as possible in front of you for your legs to move. So avoid having bags under the seat in front of you and recline your seat where possible.
• Take all opportunities to get up to stretch your legs, when there are stops in your journey.
• Drink normal amounts of fluid to avoid a lack of fluid in the body (dehydration).
• Do not drink too much alcohol. (Alcohol can cause dehydration and immobility.)
• Do not take sleeping tablets, which cause immobility.
ELASTICATED COMPRESSION STOCKINGS:
There is evidence to suggest that flight compression stockings can help to prevent travel-related DVT in people who have a high to moderate risk.
Wearing flight compression stockings during flights of four hours or more can significantly reduce your risk of DVT, as well as leg swelling (oedema). The below-knee stockings apply gentle pressure to the ankle to help blood flow.
The slight pressure from the stocking helps to prevent blood 'pooling' in the calf. Stockings do not replace the need for regular exercises. Full guidance on these is given in the video above.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF DVT & PULMONARY EMBOLISM:
Please visit the following link for more information on this - https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/travel.html
About Abraham The Pharmacist:
Abraham is a British - Persian - Iranian prescribing media pharmacist who loves science, making videos and helping people. He works in both GP surgeries and community pharmacy. You can follow him at:
This video is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Abraham The Pharmacist has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Always consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.