I'm going on a long haul flight and worried about DVT
Why wear Graduated Compression Socks during a Long Haul Flight?
Sitting in a static position during long journeys is known to cause an increased risk of DVT. Sitting immobile and cramped for a long period of time results in the blood flowing more slowly, this causes the blood to collect in the lower legs, slow-flowing blood is more likely to form a clot.
A Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep within the leg. If the blood clot breaks away from the vein wall and travels through the bloodstream, serious and dangerous complications can develop.
Research studies suggest that there is about one DVT for every 4,656 flights that last for four hours or more. The longer the flight, the higher the risk of a DVT forming. A number of factors contribute to the development of DVT.
How to reduce the risk of travel-related Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Wear graduated compression socks
Exercise your calf and foot muscles regularly:
Every half hour or so, bend and straighten your legs, feet, and toes when you are seated.
Press the balls of your feet down hard against the floor or footrest.
Take a walk up and down the aisle every hour or so.
Make sure you have a much space as possible in front of you to move your legs
Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated
Avoid alcohol and sleeping tablets
How do Graduated Compression Socks help prevent DVT?
Wearing graduated compression socks can help prevent DVT. The graduated pressure from the socks helps to prevent blood "pooling' in the calf. Wearing graduated compression socks does not replace the need for regular exercise while travelling. Flight socks that do not have graduated compression will not help prevent DVT.
After the journey
Take a short walk straight after the journey to "get the circulation going". The vast majority of travellers will have no problems. However, if you develop a swollen, painful calf, or breathing difficulties shortly after a long journey, then see a doctor urgently. (but note: slight painless puffiness of feet and ankles is common after a long journey and is not DVT).