Risks of Blood Clots while Flying

Blood clots enable you to stop bleeding and in the case of injuries, they are a lifesaver. On the other hand, blood clots can really be life-threatening when they form without you needing them. Blood clots occur when the blood vessel or skin wall is broken and when your blood does not flow properly. When you have been recently treated for blood clots or have a history of having them, you should take precautions before flying.

When you choose to go ahead without the doctor’s approval you may increase your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). According to health professionals, you should wait for 4 weeks to pass after your treatment before boarding a flight. Blood clots can form in your deep veins without you noticing because you are sitting for a long time or staying in confined spaces. The longer the time you spend being immobile, the higher the risk of getting blood clots. Most of the time, the blood clot dissolves but in some cases, the clot may travel to the lungs and cause a blockage which leads to PE.

Symptoms of DVT

Most people who have DVT do not experience any symptoms.

Here are common symptoms of DVT:

  • Swollen arms or legs
  • Warm skin
  • Red skin
  • Unexplained pain or tenderness in the affected area

Symptoms of PE

You can experience a PE without having any DVT.

Here are PE symptoms:

  • Anxiety feelings
  • An irregular or faster heartbeat
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Deep breathing, coughing and chest pains
  • Fainting or lightheadedness
  • Blood coughing

How to Prevent Blood Clots When Flying

As you can see, the risk of blood clots when you fly is real; hence you need to take precautions before you board a flight. Here is how you can reduce health risks brought about by blood clots during your flight:

Consult with your doctor

If you have a history of blood clots, consult with your doctor before boarding a flight. The doctor may give you treatments that may reduce the probability of getting blood clot diseases. A vein doctor will give you a blood thinner through injections or orally. Follow your doctor’s recommendations when it comes to the blood thinners.

Alert the Airline

When you have this condition, you should alert your airline in order for them to allow you to move around. This will help with your steady blood flow. You can also stretch your legs and pull your toes forward. You can also pull up your knees towards your chest a couple of times to stretch your muscles and improve blood flow.

Choose your seat before the flight

Choose a comfortable seat that will allow you have more room for your legs. You can pay an additional fee for the same.

In conclusion, if you take long-distance flights, you are likely to increase your risk of having blood clots. The risk gets substantially higher when you have a history of blood clots, whether it comes from you or your family. You need to understand your personal risk and take preventative measures. Your doctor can help you understand everything and show you how you can deal with blood clots if any.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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