A vacation to Australia sounds great, right? Well, depending on where you live, you can expect a long airplane flight as long as eighteen hours! Within that length of time, you are susceptible to a number of illness from colds and dehydration to a more serious problem called deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
When you are essentially trapped on an airplane for a long period of time, you have the potential to form blood clots in your legs, simply because you have been sitting for too long in one place.
Of course, deep vein thrombosis can also form after other lengthy modes of travel like a train, bus or car. However, it is plane rides that often cause the cases of deep vein thrombosis.
Making Efforts to Avoid
Blood clots form all the time in your body, but for the most part, your body re-absorbs them quite easily. The danger of DVT exists in that one or more of these blood clots in your legs could extricate and makes its way through your blood vessels and become lodged in your lungs, heart or even brain.
Serious, life-threatening conditions could occur. Of course, with some individuals, the risk factor is higher for forming deep vein thrombosis. Here are just a few of these instances:
1. Pregnancy 2. Obesity 3. Edema 4. Old age 5. The use of certain medications 6. Previous stroke or heart attack patients
While previous medical conditions most definitely contribute to deep vein thrombosis, even seemingly healthy individuals can experience it. There are some preventative measures you can take on these long trips to greatly reduce your chances of developing these life threatening blood clots. First of all, if you have any of the risk factors listed above, you might want to consider wearing compression stockings. You can find them in most pharmacies.
Other precautionary measures include wearing non-constrictive clothing and comfortable shoes. Take short walks around the airplane cabin as you are able to exercise your legs and promote blood flow.
Try not to cross your legs as blood could pool in certain areas and increase your risk of blood clots. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Avoid sodas and alcohol as they tend to leach fluids out of your system.
Perform some simple leg exercises at your seat such as flexing your leg muscles or straightening them out when possible. Finally, try not to store you purse or bag below your feet as that will hinder your movement, thus increasing clot risks.
If you are not familiar with the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, acquaint yourself with them. You may notice swelling around the ankle or foot area all the way up to the calves. You may experience some pain with the swelling. If a blood clot breaks free and lodges in one of your lungs, you may experience breathing problems and chest pain.
While deep thrombosis does happen to people every year, it is not commonplace. However, dont become complacent. Be sure to practice some of the preventative measures listed above as a precautionary measure. It is always better to be safe than sorry. After all, you want to enjoy that vacation you have worked so hard for!