Deep vein thrombosis is a medical condition that is commonly linked to flying. If you’ve suffered from DVT in the past or know you are more at risk of developing it, it is important to understand what causes the condition, whether it is safe to fly and what you can do to prevent any complications.
We’ve put together a guide that has all the information you need to know before you fly.
What is DVT?
DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, is a medical condition caused by a blood clot in a vein. It usually occurs in the leg, but can happen in other veins around the body.
Deep vein thrombosis is a serious health risk, as blood clots in your leg can break loose, travel up to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening.
The condition can be caused when a person has other conditions that make their blood more likely to clot, or are taking medication such as a hormonal contraceptive that increases the likelihood of clots. There are several lifestyle factors, such as age, weight and being a smoker, which also means you are more susceptible to developing DVT, although it can happen to anyone at any time.
Sitting still for a long period of time is a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis because your muscles don’t move and blood is circulated around your body less, so those travelling on long-haul flights are more susceptible to the condition. If you’ve suffered from DVT in the past, you are also more at risk.
Can You Fly When Diagnosed With DVT?
If you have been diagnosed with DVT, it is strongly recommended that you do not fly for at least four weeks after the condition has been identified. This is because a blood clot could break off during a flight and cause serious health complications, which cannot be effectively treated whilst you are up in the air.
However, if the condition has improved after a month or so, you should be okay to fly. You should always speak to your doctor before travelling with any kind of health condition however, as they will be able to offer the most informed opinion and give advice on what preventative measures can be taken.
Advice for Flying with DVT
If you do decide to fly after suffering from DVT, there are a variety of different deep vein thrombosis prevention suggestions you can follow to stay safe and decrease the likelihood of any severe complications or relapses in your condition.
The recommended health and safety advice is:
- Take any prescribed blood thinners or other medication to help manage our condition, and ensure that you have more of the medication in your hand luggage
- Try and book a ticket in an exit row seat or one that has more legroom, so that you can stretch your legs during the flight
- Wear compression stockings for flying to decrease the chances of a blood clot forming
- Perform anti DVT exercises regularly during the flight to increase the circulation in your foot and leg muscles
- Purchase travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions like high blood pressure for added peace of mind and to cover you in the event of an emergency
If you’re looking for comprehensive medical insurance for health conditions like deep vein thrombosis, Navigator Travel offers flexible coverage options that take into account your health, where you are travelling and the risk of further medical complications. You can find out more about our options here.