Six Steps to Reduce Your Risk of DVT while Traveling

Six Steps to reduce your risk while traveling.jpg

Many of you will probably be traveling this week for the Thanksgiving holiday. If you’re like me, maybe you’ve been reflecting on the things you are thankful for this year. I am thankful to be over a year into my recovery without a second clotting incident, and I am thankful that my INR has finally stabilized. I am thankful for friends and family who have been there to pull me through some hard times this past year, and I am thankful for doctors who listen to my concerns and are genuine in my care. Above all, I am thankful to be alive after the DVT/PE that almost claimed my life in June 2012. While I have a lot to be grateful for, when it comes down to it, I also worry about things that I didn’t have to prior to my blood clot. As many of you know, DVT diagnosis changes the way we must look at sitting for long periods of time, such as when we are traveling. Read on to learn six steps to reduce your risk of DVT while traveling.

Over 43 million Americans are expected to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday this year (www.clotconnect.org) and one thing is for sure, we all do a lot of sitting over the holidays! While the overall incidence of travel-related blood clots is relatively low, there is an increase in risk with any form of lengthy immobility, including when seated for a prolonged period of time when traveling by car, bus, train or plane. In general, clotting risk increases with the length of travel time (the greater the travel time, the greater the risk) and with the addition of pre-existing risk factors.

However, just because you have a history of DVT or are worried about increasing your risk, does not mean you have to give up traveling this holiday season. You can still travel while taking some very simple precautions!

Six Steps to Reduce Your Risk of DVT while Traveling *

  1. Move More! Get out of your seat and walk the aisle when permitted on a plane or stop frequently (every hour or so) when traveling by car. Flex your toes, ankles and knees when sitting down. You could also raise your heels with your toes on the floor; and then raise your toes with your heels on the floor – anything to keep circulation moving while you are sitting.
  2. Drink plenty of fluids, mainly water. Proper hydration helps to decrease your risk for a DVT. Be sure to avoid alcohol and caffeine on long trips as well.
  3. Wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes.
  4. Do not cross your legs. Crossing your legs can interfere with circulation.
  5. Wear compression stockings while traveling. Especially if you have a history of blood clots.
  6. Be aware of blood clot symptoms. The symptoms of DVT can include swelling, usually in one leg; leg tenderness or pain; red or blue tinted skin discoloration; and/or leg is warm to the touch. The symptoms of PE can include sudden shortness of breath; chest pain that may feel like a stabbing sensation or get worse with each breath; rapid heart rate; and/or an unexplained cough sometimes with bloody mucus. If you experience any of these symptoms, get medical help right away.

Share your story. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Are you worried about traveling post-DVT? What precautions are you taking to stay safe on the road?

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,

0-BLOG SIGNATURE SARA

 

* Travel tips compiled from Clot Connect and Stop the Clot. Check out these pages for more travel tips. 

Comments

  1. Hi Sara… this is very timely for me as my husband and I are leaving on a road trip to my mothers home in New Jersey on Monday … good info … I never thought about the hydration issue and I have a tendency to drink more caffeine on road trips to stay awake while either my husband or I drives … I will definitely be switching to water! … you know I had my PE almost a year ago in April and the one thing we did was go out and buy ourselves a camper which we always wanted to do so we could go see the country … I think my illness spurred us into doing it because it was almost a message to ‘do it now’ which I have tried to have become my mantra because if you dont do it now you just dont know about tomorrow .. that was what I learned from my PE which came out of the blue .. so my message is dont wait, if you can do something now do it because tomorrow could surprise you in not such a good way and no one wants to live regretting letting the moments pass .. glad you are well and thanx for all your support … ps I love my bracelet ! glad to help spread the word about DVT/PE awareness all year around

    • Wow, Kathi, it is I who should be thanking you because this message really hit home for me in more ways than one. I just had the conversation with my husband that I do feel like I as given a second chance at life, and I want to live life and not waste what I have been given. We have a similar dream of getting an RV and exploring the open road! How funny is that! I wholeheartedly believe was you have to say and seeing it in writing just really makes an impact to me. I don’t want to wait to start living my dreams anymore. This changes you, you know. Some of us only get one chance and we all only get one life. We are blessed to still have ours to do with as we may. Thanks, Kathi.

      Have a safe and fun road trip! I am glad this information is helpful to you. Hydration is something I unfortunately really have to work on even though I am not travelling. I used to be really good at it when I was running and now I swear I just get too busy to get a drink and that should not be an excuse!

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the bracelets. 🙂 Thank you for your support.

  2. Hi Sara,
    I am 35 years architect, had DVT just 3 months ago and PE one month ago.
    I feel pain in my chest and leg as well.
    after PE occure I had to make a filter in my vein . I am warfarin which make me worse because of its diffeculty . I raelly feel Sad cause I had bad treatment as I think.
    I am thinking to travel to London to check everything espacially the Fliter I need yo know whether its importnat to remove it or I have to forget about it as my doctor said.

    • Hi Salah. Welcome to BCRN.

      If you have chest pain that is new or unusual, you should seek help or at least contact your physician. That may be something they need to know about or something else that is going on. Please make sure you contact your doctor about it.

      I did not have a filter so I do not know if you need to remove it. I do know some people leave it in and some people take it out. I think it depends on you and your doctor. I will see if I can find out any additional information about that and post it here.

      It is very normal to feel sad after this happened, I know how you feel. You are not alone! Especially if you had bad treatment, it can make for a very lonely and frustrating recovery, but I assure you, you are not alone because there are many others who have also been through what you have.

      Thinking of you and take care!

      • Sara, thank you very much for your comment, thank you for your support and advice, I decided to travel to London to get more reassurance.. thanks Sara I wish you all the best.

        • I wish you all the best as well! I hope you have had a safe trip and found some answers too. Take care.

          • We bought a camper last year and what I like is being able to stop more frequently …campgrounds especially state parks are much less expensive than regular campgrounds or hotels so we can afford to travel cheaper and allows me to rest more frequently …and my husband loves to cook while we camp so I get a good rest before we hit the road again …

          • I would love to ave a camper and travel someday Kathi! I am in admiration that you are able to do this and thank you for sharing and giving others the hope that they too can travel and do not have to stop living because of what happened to them. 😉 I hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend!

  3. justine says:

    Hi
    Let me start thanking you for your support, I am in south africa an I have experienced right dvt, I had no idea about blood clot until it occurred to me! Thank God for a second chance in life, I was on depression medication and now I am living a positive purpose driven life,I think I do not have opportunities to put a filter in my vein but I am on warfrin and I was on painful injections for 5days,so I am now stabilised my INR is now 2.7 so my dr and I are very hopeful,but I see my leg is starting to swell up again, and I have to go back to work

    • Hello Justine and thank you for stopping by. It is nice to have you here. I agree – thank God we are here for a second chance! That is often how I feel and one of the reasons I started this site – because I was compelled to help others make it through what I myself am so lucky to survive.

      Keep watch of the swelling in your leg and if needed, can you make any accommodations at your job? I know that can be much easier said than done. I know how hard it can be to go back to work and now have these issues completely resolved. I am glad it sounds like you are working with your doctor to closely monitor your situation.

      Thinking of you and wishing you all the best. Keep in touch.

  4. What a great resource! I know our patients will find these articles helpful. Thanks Sarah!

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  6. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog
    and I’m impressed! Very useful info specially the ultimate phase
    🙂 I handle such information a lot. I used to be seeking this certain information for a long time.
    Thanks and best of luck.

  7. I had a DVT last July & it broke loose went to my lungs turned into several small PEs. We are in IN & leaving Wed for Savannah Ga I’m on Xarelto 20mg daily. I’m terrified to make this trip.

Trackbacks

  1. […] and the things I once loved, like camping and bike riding. The anxiety has lessened, I know how to keep myself safe during travel, my INR and medication management has plateaued and I am tired of missing out on summertime […]

  2. […] of sitting that may contribute to my blood clot risk – I really don’t think about blood clots when I am flying, even thought I regularly stretch my legs and request a Pre-Boarding Pass so that I can get an […]

  3. […] Travel safely – here are Six Steps to Reduce Your Risk of DVT While Traveling. […]

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