Traveling This Summer? Avoid Dangerous Road-Trip or Airplane Blood Clots With These 5 Tips
Most of us plan to hit the road or skies for vacation fun. But long periods of sitting raise the risk of blood clots in your legs known as deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), which triggers swelling, pain, and serious complications if the clot travels through the bloodstream. Luckily, it’s easy to stay ache-free!
Slip on these socks.
While you might be inclined to don sandals, opting for compression socks is a smarter bet if you’ll be seated for four hours or more. Compression socks curb DVT risk by 63 percent, according to a study in The Lancet. Pressure from the socks hugs the calf muscles in a way that encourages blood flow. And breathable varieties that wick away moisture protect your legs while keeping you cool. Try: CEP All Day Compression Socks (Buy from CEP Compression, $39.95).
Do the ‘ankle alphabet’ trick.
Even when you’re settled in for a long trip, you can still make moves to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Simply squirming around in your seat or spelling out the alphabet with your toes while you flex your feet lessens the odds of DVT by 33 percent, according to a study published in the Annals of Vascular Surgery. It promotes proper blood flow to block clots.
A study in the British Journal of Haematology suggests that staying well hydrated reduces the risk of DVT by as much as 47 percent. Credit goes to water’s ability to dilute waste that can become sticky and lead to troublesome clots. Simply sip at least 8 ounces of H2O every two hours that you’re on the road.
Try pine bark.
Supplementing with a pine bark extract known as Pycnogenol may decrease your risk of experiencing deep vein thrombosis, research from the Minerva Cardioangiologica Journal reveals. It increases production of artery-relaxing nitric oxide, which is known to improve blood flow. To get the potental benefits, take 200 milligrams of Pycnogenol daily while traveling (Buy from iHerb, $40.20).
Bonus: Pycnogenol may also help relieve hot flashes.
Know the signs.
Stay on alert for any of the following symptoms:
- Unusual pain
- Warmth in one of your legs (DVT most commonly occurs in the calves)
If you experience any of these, consult a doctor promptly.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.