Long flights and road trips come with extensive to do lists and the anticipation of making great memories with friends and family. As you plan your next trip, forgive us for adding just a few more boxes to your checklist. Following our travel tips for healthy circulation can help prevent leg pain or a life threatening blood clot from ruining your vacation.
Why You Need These Health-Focused Travel Tips
More than 300 million people fly long-distance (4 hours or more) every year. Countless others take long journeys by car, bus, and even trains. During these trips, passengers tend to stay immobile in cramped spaces for very long periods of time, increasing the risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVTs are blood clots that develop in the leg, and while many clots dissolve on their own, others can become life threatening.
When a DVT breaks away in the leg, it travels to the lungs. This causes a pulmonary embolism (PE), a potentially lethal blockage in the lungs. The patient develops heaviness in the chest and trouble breathing. Immediate emergency medical assistance is required. This can be difficult at 35,000 feet.
Studies show that, in the United States, a person dies every five minutes from a PE. Most of these DVT/PE deaths are preventable.
If you are over 40, pregnant, have a history of blood clots, or are overweight, or have cancer, your risk of developing DVT goes up. But there are ways to decrease your risk of blood clots and improve your overall travel experience by following our Vein Specialist Approved Travel Tips.
Travel Tips for a Healthier Flying Experience
If you’re flying to your next destination, a little bit of extra planning plus a change in routine during your flight can help ensure a healthier journey.
Before You Go: See your vein specialist and purchase graduated compression wear to help with circulation. If you have an increased risk of blood clots, ask your doctor if you need to take any medications to lower your risk of developing a DVT/PE during your travels.
During Your Flight: When the seat belt light is off, get up and stretch. Walk up and down the aisle a little bit to get the blood moving. If the fasten seat belt light is on for most of the flight, do calf raises in your seat. Flexing your calf muscles can prevent a DVT/PE by improving venous circulation.
Between Flights: Take advantage of a long layover by walking around the airport. A leisurely stroll can make a big difference in how you feel while improving your circulation.
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to hydrate! Traveling can take a lot out of you, and the altitude is said to dehydrate you more quickly. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight. Also, go easy on the alcoholic beverages during your flight, as it can lead to dehydration.
Travel Tips for a Healthier Road Trip
See more along the way and improve healthy circulation with these road trip travel tips:
Before You Go: Plan the journey, not just the destination. Before you embark, plan rest stops at interesting locations. This will give you adequate time to stop, take a walk, and stretch, while also giving you and your passengers an opportunity to enjoy new sights. See your vein specialist and purchase medical-grade graduated compression to assist with circulation while you’re sitting. If you’re at an increased risk for blood clots, ask your doctor if any medications may help prevent DVT/PE during your trip.
During Your Trip: Wear graduated compression garments to improve your circulation when you’re cooped up in the vehicle. Do sitting calf raises to pump the calf muscles, encourage healthy blood flow, and prevent blood clots. If your legs feel achy, stop, stretch, and hydrate. Drink plenty of water. And please, do not prop your legs up on the dashboard. This position can be very dangerous in the event of an accident. If you feel like you need to elevate your legs, stop and get out for a walk or stretch. It’s much safer.
After Your Trip: Resist the urge to sit down just anywhere. Walk around a bit and stretch your legs. If you want to sit, elevate your legs to improve circulation and reduce swelling. You can also lie down on the floor and elevate your legs on the bed, couch, or even up the wall.
Bonus Tip: If you’ve always wanted to see the world’s largest ball of twine, but you’ve always been too embarrassed to admit it, here’s your chance! Just say you need to stretch your legs when you see the sign!
Save on Compression Garment Purchases with Compression Coalition
To prepare for your next trip, come see us at Vein Specialists of the South to purchase your compression wear. Join our loyalty program Compression Coalition. It’s our way of helping to make compression wear more affordable.
Have Questions About Healthier Travel?
If you have venous disease, especially if you have a history of blood clots, consult with our vein specialists before embarking on your journey. It’s important to make sure you’re under the care of a medical provider who can clear you for flying or who can give you any additional travel tips to improve your experience and ensure your health and safety.