Air travel may be more dangerous than we often tend to think. No, we’re not talking about the plane crashes or hijackings – we’re talking about health-related dangers like blood clots.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis while flying. Here are some tips.
1. Pull on a pair of compression socks.
Many passengers these days have started wearing compression socks, which now come in quite an array of designs. These tighter-than-normal socks can help reduce swelling in your feet and potentially lower the risk of blood clots, too.
There’s still not a ton of scientific evidence supporting the idea that compression socks prevent blood clots. However, the anecdotal evidence that they reduce swelling is pretty significant. Plus, most doctors agree that it simply can’t hurt to wear them.
Although, those who have diabetes or peripheral artery disease should likely not wear compression socks. If you’re unsure about whether or not you should use compression socks, talk to your doctor.
2. Stay hydrated.
Yes, we know, drinking plenty of water tends to be the answer to everything. It’s especially important when flying though. Not only does dehydration significantly increase your risk of blood clots, it can have many other side effects as well.
3. Avoid salty foods.
While you’ll often get offered pretzels or other salty snacks onboard most airlines, it might be wise to pass on them. Consuming salty foods can contribute to water retention.
4. Use the overhead bins.
It may be tempting to stash your most important belongings under your seat. However, you really should give yourself as much leg room as possible.
5. Exercise in place or take a walk.
Sometimes it’s a pain to get up and move around, but it’s something you should do. Every hour or so, try to get up and take a brief walk down the aisle and back.
You can also do leg and foot exercises while sitting in your seat as well. Try rotating your ankles, flexing your calves, and pointing your toes.
6. Be wary of sedatives.
Sleeping through your flight sounds novel in theory. However, using sleep-inducing drugs can result in staying in one position for longer than you should.