Airline DVT - CDC Advice
CDC has some excellent advice below concerning Airline DVT and PE. Please take it seriously, and do what you can to avoid these potentially fatal conditions.
We do want you to think a little more at a tangent though… Instead of suffering in an economy seat on long-haul flights, why not consider paying to sit in Business Class? More leg room. Lie-flat seats. Dedicated bathrooms. More space to stretch your legs and walk around.
Airline DVT – Fly in Business Class
We understand that this is easier said than done, but it is possible to book in Business Class at a significantly lower price point than you might imagine by booking a long time in advance – ideally 11 months in advance. Then, book a Non-Refundable ticket – the cheapest possible ticket. Finally, take travel insurance for the flight that includes cancel for any reason cover. You now have the lowest priced Business Class seat, with insurance that turns it into a flexible or fully refundable seat. We cover it here at First Class Tickets.
Now, let’s look at DVT and PE in more detail.
Airline DVT and PE - CDC
Some long-distance travelers are at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a large vein. Part of a clot may break off and travel to the lungs, causing a PE, which can be fatal.
Protect yourself by knowing your risk and taking steps to prevent DVT.
Airline DVT - Am I at risk for DVT?
Almost anyone can have DVT. People traveling for extended periods of time may be at increased risk for DVT because they have limited movement. The increased risk is usually associated with air travel, but DVT can also form during travel by bus, train, or car.
Most people who develop travel-associated DVT have additional risk factors, including:
- A previous blood clot
- Family history of blood clots
- Known clotting disorder
- Recent surgery or injury
- Use of estrogen-containing birth control or hormone replacement therapy
- Older age
- Active cancer (or undergoing chemotherapy)
- Limited mobility
Airline DVT - Steps to DVT Prevention
You can take steps to help prevent DVT. For long distance travelers, these steps include:
- Getting up occasionally and walking around.
Exercising your calf muscles and stretching your legs while you're sitting. Try these exercises next time you travel:
- Raising and lowering your heels while keeping your toes on the floor.
- Raising and lowering your toes while keeping your heels on the floor.
- Tightening and releasing your leg muscles.
- Selecting an aisle seat when possible.
For long-distance travelers with additional risk factors for DVT, talk to your doctor about taking extra precautions such as:
- Wearing properly fitted medical compression stockings.
- Taking medication before departure to prevent DVT.
Airline DVT - Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
It is helpful to know the signs and symptoms in the event that you develop DVT or PE. If you have symptoms of DVT call a doctor right away. If you have symptoms of PE you should seek immediate medical care from a doctor or the emergency department. Early detection and treatment can prevent death or complications.
- Swelling, pain, or tenderness in the affected limb (usually the leg)
- Redness and increased warmth of the skin in the affected limb
- Unexplained shortness of breath
- Faster than normal heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Cough (which may be bloody)
- Lightheadedness or fainting
It is not possible to diagnose either condition without special tests that can be performed only by a doctor, such as an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI. That is why it is important for you to seek medical care if you experience any of the symptoms of DVT or PE.
DVT and PE are treatable, although a large PE can result in sudden death. Sometimes medicines and devices are used to dissolve the clot. Typically, medicines are taken for several weeks to months after the clot to prevent more clots from forming and give the body a chance to dissolve or heal existing clots.
Airline DVT - What is CDC Doing?
CDC is conducting research to learn more about risk factors and improve the diagnosis and treatment of DVT/PE by funding the Thrombosis and Hemostasis Centers Research and Prevention Network. In addition, CDC funds health promotion and wellness initiatives to provide people with information about how to prevent DVT and its complications. For example, the Clot Connect education and support program (www.clotconnect.org) receives some funding from CDC for an education website (for information on travel-associated clots see this article). In collaboration with the Venous Disease Coalition (VDC), CDC has launched This is Serious, a national campaign to increase awareness and action around the prevention of DVT and PE among women. The campaign encourages women to be aware of DVT/PE symptoms, and to talk to their doctors about their risks.