Photo from inside a plane


Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) has been a hot topic through the media over the last decade with various reports from passengers of long haul flights developing DVT. This article will give you some quick tips to do during your long flights to help prevent DVT.

What is a DVT?

DVT occurs from blood clotting, usually in the large veins of the calves. The problem with this is when these clots break free and travel up the veins through the heart to lodge in the arteries of the lungs.

DVT commonly occurs to people who are immobilized, such as during long haul flights, or any sort of transport in which the passenger isn’t moving.

There are other factors that can exacerbate the onset of DVT, including age, obesity, pregnancy, and smoking to name a few.

What should you do to prevent DVT?

According to Australia’s department of Health, the Australasian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis states that the risk of DVT can be reduced based on the following:

  • Drink plenty of (non-alcoholic) fluids during flights
  • Regularly mobilise the ankles and massage the calves
  • Wear loose, non-restrictive clothing
  • Avoid excessive movement around the cabin, as the risk of injury from turbulence may outweigh the benefit of exercise
  • Be vigilant for the symptoms of DVT, in particular pain in the calves, during and for up to a month after long flights.

If symptoms occur, seek medical advice without delay.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Shankar s.; cropped from original