6 Tips To Prevent Deadly Blood Clots During Holiday Travel
With the holidays approaching, many people are packing their bags for long treks to visit family and friends. While we all look forward to these joyous celebrations, there is a lurking danger inherent with extended travel plans: Deep-vein thrombosis.
Deep-vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a potentially deadly blood clot that forms in the deep veins in your limbs, usually in the legs. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism (PE). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 900,000 people in the United States are affected by a PE, and 60,000-100,000 Americans die of DVT/PE each year.
The best way to avoid becoming part of these scary statistics is to prevent blood clots before they have the chance to form. These 6 simple tips can help keep your blood flowing and prevent clotting during extended travel.
- Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water is an important part of overall health, and it’s especially critical when your mobility is limited for long periods, such as while traveling. Dehydration can result in sluggish blood flow and blood clots. NYU Langone doctors recommend drinking 64-80 ounces of water each day to keep up with proper hydration.
- Walk Before Departure
Aerobic activity stimulates blood flow throughout the body. Before setting out on your trip, try to walk around for at least 30 minutes. If traveling by airplane, arrive early and take a walk around the terminal until boarding. If you’re setting out on a road trip, take a walk around the neighborhood before getting in the car.
- Don’t Cross Your Legs
Crossing or sitting on your legs can cut off or slow down blood circulation. Try to be conscious of how you are sitting during travel to optimize blood flow throughout the body.
- Walk Around Hourly
If possible, walking around once each hour is the best way to increase blood flow and refresh your legs. If you’re on a road trip, try to make a stop hourly to exercise and stretch. If you’re traveling by air, try to walk around the cabin at least once per hour.
- Perform Seated Exercises
If walking isn’t a possibility, you can perform some seated exercises every hour instead.
• Leg lifts: Straighten legs as much as possible and flex your toes upward. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
• Foot pumps: With feet on the ground, lift toes 10 times, then alternate to lifting heels 10 times.
• Ankle circles: Straighten legs as much as possible, and point your toes outward. Rotate ankle clockwise 10 times and counterclockwise 10 times on each leg.
- Use Mobile Pneumatic Compression Devices
The most effective blood clot prevention method is a mobile Pneumatic Compression Devices like the Circul8 Pro. These devices are a safe, easy, and effective solution to stimulate blood flow during long periods of immobility. The Circul8 Pro is a truly mobile device, with no cords or tubes, and is operated by a rechargeable battery. They are low-profile, comfortable, and easy to use. The Circul8 Pro can be used during air travel, as they are approved by the TSA. They are also a great solution for road trips, long train rides, or any other long periods of time where mobility is limited.