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How to Prevent Blood Clots While Traveling

Last updated: March 14, 2019
Downward view of a lake and crossed feet

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Few things are better than adventuring. Whether by plane, train, car or bus, traveling is a great way to escape the monotony of everyday life and shake things up a bit. On top of that, it’s the ideal way to expand your mind and your life experiences.

In short, travel is something you should not shy away from doing.

However, if you have vein problems, travel is not as fun and easy-going as it is for others. Even before you’ve arrived at your destination, chances are you’re already struggling with vein issues.

Fear not — there are some solutions to your problems. Though travel is tough on your veins and can lead to blood clotting, we have rounded up some ways you can work to prevent that clotting. This way, instead of focusing your energy and attention on tending to your veins, you can pivot your focus to enjoying your travels.

Travel Tips for Preventing Blood Clots

Before we get into the tips, let’s talk a bit about why blood clots while traveling can be a big problem.

Why Blood Clots Are a Concern

Blood clots are what form when the flow of the blood in your body is either stopped or slowed to a near-stop. Either these clots can dissolve on their own, or they can turn into something far worse.

If the clots are unable to dissolve on their own, they oftentimes travel throughout your body. And, if the trip your blood clot is on makes a turn for your brain, heart, or lungs, you could suffer severe damage to your organs, or possibly even death.

This is called pulmonary embolism and, according to the CDC, somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 Americans die of PE every year.

Though not every blood clot can lead to death, they are not something that you want to mess around with.

The first order of business in helping to prevent blood clots is to know what is potentially causing them to develop.

Here are a few things that put you at risk of developing blood clots:

  • History of blood clots either with you or your family
  • Smoking
  • Over the age of 40
  • Vein damage
  • Cancer or history of cancer
  • Obesity
  • Recent surgery (within past three months)
  • Pregnancy (either currently or recently)

And of course, travel.

Flights or car rides that last longer than four hours put you at risk of developing blood clots. Because you are sitting still (oftentimes in the exact same position), your legs become more susceptible to developing blood clots.

So how do you prevent this from happening?

Read on.

How to Steer Clear of Blood Clots While Traveling

There are a number of things you can do while you’re traveling to stop blood clots from forming.

Here are the top ones.

Move Every Hour

If you’re on a plane, this means getting up and walking around every hour. It doesn’t have to be for long — just a quick stroll up and down the aisle of the plane is enough to get your blood moving again.

If you’re on a bus or a train, same thing.

And if you happen to be in a car, stop every hour so that you can get out, stretch and walk around.

Incorporate Stretches Into Your Travel

More than just getting up and walking around, you will want to do some stretches while traveling.

These stretches should include the following:

  • Send your legs out straight in front of you. Then flex and point your feet back and forth, and roll your ankles to get the blood going.
  • Pull your knees towards your chest, hugging them in for approximately 15 seconds. Do this up to 10 times.
  • Slide your feet back and forth on the floor of the plane, bus or car to stretch out your muscles.
  • Push your heels and toes (alternate) into the ground to flex your calf muscles.

Massage Your Legs

Bring a tennis ball with you on your travels. Though it sounds weird, trust us. As you’re going down the road or through the air, push the ball into your thigh and roll it up and down.

Wear Compression Stockings

These stockings are recommended by vein specialists at Vein Clinics of America to help keep your circulation going.

Wear Loose Clothing

The tighter your clothing, the more restricted your blood flow will be. While traveling, stick to loose-fitting clothes that will not constrict your circulation.

Take a Blood Thinner

Consult with your doctor about this, especially if your health history puts you at risk of developing blood clots. You’ll want to take this thinner one to two hours before leaving on your trip.

How to Know If You’re Suffering From a Blood Clot

Just in case you don’t follow the tips above and find yourself wondering if the pain you’re experiencing while traveling is a blood clot, you’ll want to take a look at the symptoms that go along with this type of clot.

They include:

  • Swelling of the ankle or leg
  • Blue or red colored patch on the leg
  • Warm-to-the-touch spots of your skin
  • Leg pain
  • Leg cramps
  • Leg tenderness

However, those symptoms do not have to be present in order to have a blood clot — you may develop one without any signs.

Thus, we suggest erring on the safe side and putting to practice the tips we shared while traveling to give it your all in preventing blood clots while traveling.

Blood clots are not inevitable — they can be avoided and should be so that you can truly enjoy your adventures. If you’re concerned about the possibility of blood clots or are suffering from vein issues you think may affect your travels, contact a Vein Clinics of America location near you today.

Our vein specialists are the top in the country and are 100% committed to ensuring you and your veins remain healthy and in tip-top shape.

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