Many of us travel during the holiday season, either by plane, car or train. Frequently the trips are quite long, which puts us at risk for developing a deep venous thrombosis (DVT).
A DVT is a blood clot that forms in a vein, blocking blood flow and causing swelling, most commonly in the leg. People that have a personal or family history of clotting abnormalities, take certain medications such as birth control pills, smoke, are pregnant, have had recent surgery (especially orthopedic), have sustained damage to a vein due to injury or have been sedentary for a prolonged period of time, such as laying or sitting, have an increased chance of developing a DVT.
It is therefore critically important to “stretch your legs” on a long trip. Ideally, get out of the car every hour or two and go for a short walk. While driving, contact the muscles in your legs intermittently to improve circulation. On a plane flight, try to get an aisle seat for more leg room and avoid crossing your legs because this impedes blood flow. Get up and take a walk down the aisle. Stay hydrated with non caffeinated, non alcoholic beverages. Hydration thins the blood, making it less sticky and less prone to clotting. Although aspirin does not decrease the risk of DVT, elastic stockings purchased at any medical supply store frequently prevents swelling and can lessen risk…..Richard R Samuel, MD Family Practice and Urgent Care Hayden, ID USA