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Holiday Travel and Deep Vein Thrombosis

Cette Flight SocksDeep vein thrombosis is a condition that affects millions of people each year and the signs can be hard to spot - we wrote recently about a campaign one of our brands, Sigvaris was running to educate people about DVT – you can read it here. Many believe that travelling long distances, particularly during long haul flights, can significantly increase the risk of developing DVT so with the summer months ahead, we look at the risk factors of this condition and how to reduce them to stay safe this holiday season.

What Are The Risks?

The first DVT that was entirely travel-related was recorded in the early fifties by a doctor who discovered a blood clot after a fourteen-hour flight. It was suspected to have occurred due to his immobility and since then there have been many suggestions as to the best ways to protect yourself from the condition.

Travel-related DVT could potentially affect anyone undertaking a long journey which would require one to sit still for a long period of time, however there are also other factors in a person's lifestyle which could increase the risk. For instance, being significantly overweight can reduce the flow of blood to the legs and feet which can be magnified under the pressure of a long haul flight; similarly pregnant women are also in a higher risk category. Finally, women who are on the contraceptive pill have increased chances of developing it as well as those who have recently undergone surgery or have a history of DVT or pulmonery embolism.

Before travelling therefore, it is important to check with your GP about the best ways to prevent or reduce the chances of getting a clot if you know yourself to be in the higher risk category.

The Symptoms

Strangely, the exact number of people who have suffered from DVT as a result of long flights is not known due to the nature of the condition. DVT has been observed developing just a few days after travelling but the condition can also lack clear symptoms with which to make a laymen's dianosis, meaning that some people may not realise they have a clot until a later point.

If symptoms do occur early, they will typically consist of swelling of the calf or thigh combined with pain and an increased heat of the skin surrounding the affected area. Knowing the signs of DVT can help diagnose and treat the condition but the most effective solution to the problem is its prevention in the first place.

How Can Support Hosiery Help?

Scientists and medical professionals have long been singing the praises of compression garments in both the treatment and prevention of DVT. It is important for people considering using compression socks to make sure they have selected garments which fit them properly as using ill-fitting socks could potentially increase the risk even more. There are many other obvious methods to help prevent DVT yourself during travel too including walking around the plane wherever possible and making sure your extremities have room to stretch. Practising muscle excercises helps also.

Compression socks are advisable for any flight over four hours and are available to be purchased at pharmacies, airports and often directly from the airline although of course you can always purchase them prior to flying through us! Check out our range of flight socks here. 

Susie Thickpenny find me on Google+.

10th April, 2014