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Deep Vein Thrombosis

When flying are you (or your passengers) at risk of the dreaded Deep Vein Thrombosis – clots in the deep veins of the leg? What can you do to help prevent clots in legs while flying?

Before Departure

Book an aisle seat. Have you considered travelling Business class? A great reason to break the journey with a stopover! See a travel doctor before you go since some people are more at risk and may need to wear compression stockings on their legs or even take medication.

While On Board

Exercise the legs by walking around regularly, drink plenty of fluids, and alcohol is fine if in moderation

What about Aspirin or other drugs?

Aspirin is of limited value in preventing clots in veins. It is about equally effective as wearing compression stockings. Aspirin is particularly effective at preventing clots in arteries ( heart attacks/ strokes etc).

In persons who have had clots after travelling in the past, there is a new type of injection available to protect you when flying – ask the travel doctor.

Who is most at risk?

Clots in the legs when travelling are more common:

  • after 12 hours or more of flying
  • in the left leg
  • in very tall or very short persons
  • in those over 50 years age
  • in those storing their hand luggage under their feet
  • in those consuming excessive alcohol
  • in those who have had a clot before
  • in those who have had recent surgery or in a plaster cast

The risk of a clot is very low, but with so many people travelling it’s happening every day, and a few thoughtful suggestions can make all the difference.


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