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Healthy Travelling

Deep vein thrombosis
Recent cases of deep vein thrombosis [DVT] on flights longer than 4 hours has caused concern for travellers.  There are several misconceptions about DVT that should be corrected:

  • It is often thought of as an economy class syndrome – it isn’t as it has also occurred in first and business class passengers.
  • DVT can be caused by travelling at 33,000 feet in the air, it can also be caused by sitting for long periods in cars, buses, lorries and trains.

Some people are more at risk of DVT than others. The at risk factors are:

  • Certain forms of cardiac disease
  • Abnormalities in blood clotting
  • Pregnancy
  • Recent major surgery or injury
  • Recent immobilisation for a day or more.

In addition to these factors, recent research has shown that there may be additional risks from smoking, obesity and varicose veins.

Avoiding the development of DVT:

  • Drink adequate amounts of fluids, especially water.
  • Avoid drinks that contain alcohol and caffeine.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid sitting cross legged.
  • Walk around in the cabin whenever you can.
  • Stand up and stretch your arms and legs periodically.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes when travelling.

Jet lag
The main cause of jet lag is crossing time zones and there is plenty of research shows that it is worse going from west to east than from east to west but people vary and are affected differently.

Advice for minimising jet lag:

  • Try to keep calm before the journey as excitement, stress and nervousness can make it worse.
  • Have a good night’s sleep before the journey.
  • Try not to eat too much on the flight.
  • Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee.
  • Drink plenty of water because the body is susceptible to de-hydration on long flight.