Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is also referred to ‘economy class syndrome’
DVT can cause pain and/or swelling of the legs during travel or even several days or weeks afterwards. Clots in the legs are not serious in themselves, but occasionally they break off and travel to the lungs causing what is called pulmonary embolism. While this is not a common occurrence but when it does happen, it can be life threatening.
Here are a few simple tips to help make a flight more comfortable:
- Wear loose clothing and avoid tight, restrictive garments.
- Place nothing under the seat in front of you so you can stretch and periodically exercise your feet and ankles.
- Drink mainly juices and water while minimizing alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
- Walk about the cabin periodically (every 60 - 90 minutes).
- A passenger should consult a doctor if they have any underlying illness such as coronary artery disease, cancer, or blood clotting disorder.
Many of the major airlines now include information about DVT in the inflight magazines on-board. This information can generally be found at the rear of the magazine. Alternatively, if a passenger is travelling on a long-haul international flight, the airline may have included a short video presentation about DVT and included some useful exercises to assist passengers.
For more information see the following links: