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Date: 25/04/2014

5 top tips to reduce the risk of DVT on a long haul flight

If you're travelling on a long haul flight this summer, you may be worried about developing Deep Vein Thrombosis, also known as DVT. You're more at risk of this occurring if you are overweight, obese, have a family history of blood clots or are suffering from a heart condition, cancer or other medical condition. DVT affects 1 in 1,000 people every year in the UK, but luckily there are steps you can take to reduce your risk when travelling on a long haul flight. Here are 5 top tips to reduce your risk of DVT this summer:

1. Get some exercise

Whenever possible, get out of your seat and take a walk around the plane. Stretching your legs and taking some exercise is the best way to avoid DVT, which is often brought on by long periods of inactivity. Just make sure you obey the 'Fasten Seatbelt' sign when it’s illuminated!

2. Wear compression stockings

Elastic compression stockings may not be the most attractive fashion accessory ever invented, but they could help to prevent DVT; saving your life! Wearing these elasticated stockings helps to compress the veins in your leg and improve circulation, which can reduce your risk of developing a blood clot that could cause a pulmonary embolism.

3. Stay hydrated

Try to avoid alcohol whilst flying as this dehydrates you, increasing your risk of DVT. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and fruit juices during your flight - this will also leave you feeling more energetic and keep your skin looking fresh!

4. Stretch your legs

For times when it just isn't possible to get up and walk around the plane, you can carry out some exercises whilst in your seat that can help to prevent DVT. Flex your ankles and hold, then release, repeating several times for each foot. This simple exercise combined with stretching your leg out (as far as is possible without annoying other passengers) is a sure-fire way to reduce your risk of developing a blood clot on long haul flights, as it helps improve your circulation.

5. Get off the plane

Rather than staying in your seat or finding somewhere else to sit during stopovers, get off the plane and take a walk - explore the airport or surrounding area and stretch your legs! Staying active can help you to stay clear of the risk of DVT this summer.

Make sure you have travel insurance in place to protect you before you head off on your travels this year - should you develop DVT you may need hospital treatment - costs abroad can quickly add up and you could be left out of pocket! Following our top tips will help to ensure that you and your family reduce your risk of DVT on your next long haul flight abroad.