TRAVEL RELATED DVT | JET LAG

WHAT IS DVT?

Deep vein thrombosis is a clotting of the blood in any deep veins, usually in the calf. ‘At risk’ travelers are exposed to this problem when they remain immobile for an extended period of time e.g. travelling by plane, car, coach or train.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DVT?

It can occur days or weeks after the trip. There may be no symptoms. However, if the clot is large and it prevents the blood flowing through the veins, intense pain may be experienced in the affected calf. The pain is exacerbated by walking or standing. In some cases complications may occur if the blood clot breaks off and travels up to the lungs causing breathlessness and chest pain.

ARE YOU AN ‘AT RISK’ DVT TRAVELER?

Remaining immobile throughout a long trip increases your risk factor especially if you have one or more of the following conditions;

  • obesity (BmI>30)
  • over 60 years old
  • existing or a history of cardiac problems
  • pregnant or 2 months post-partum
  • on hormone therapy or oral contraceptives
  • existing abnormal clothing
  • recent surgery or leg surgery
  • a personal or family history of DVT
  • any other chronic or acute medical illness
  • travel for more that 3 hours in the four weeks before and after surgery
  • active cancer or cancer treatment
  • varicose veins
  • dehydration

HOW TO REDUCE DVT RISK?

Exercise through out the journey – ‘At risk’  travelers should try to exercise at least every hour during the trip. Rotating the ankles and exercise the calf muscles are some of the methods used to reduce risk of developing DVT.

Avoid wearing tight clothing that will restrict blood circulation. Well-fitted stockings and socks may help reduce risk. Consult doctors for size of stocking or socks required.

Avoid alcohol, tea or coffee while traveling to prevent problems of dehydration.

JET LAG

WHAT IS JET LAG?

Our bodies are naturally adjusted to promote sleep at nigh and to be active and alert during the day. When we travel across differing time zones, this rhythm is altered, disturbing our sleep and concentration.

HOW CAN JET LAG BE REDUCED?

  • Get good and sufficient sleep before the journey.
  • Rest well if possible during the journey.
  • Plan your arrival time so that you arrive at your destination at the time when you normally go to sleep.
  • Changing you watch to destination time on the plane helps sometimes.
  • Exposure to light is a good way to adjust your body to local time on arrival.
  • Mild sleeping pills for travelers with important schedules and meetings might be beneficial as it can help with jet lag. Please discuss with your doctors.

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