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Tips for avoiding blood clots on long plane flights

When you’re traveling to get medical care, you certainly don’t want a blood clot to complicate the original medical problem.

New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery attracts many patients who travel long distances for its specialty orthopedic operations. The hospital’s Website says that long airplane flights, with their extended periods of forced immobility, can be a risk factor in developing blood clots. The dryness of the recirculated air can also be a problem in that regard.

Dr. Anne Bass, chairperson of the Deep Venous Thrombosis Prevention Committee at HSS, gives the following advice for warding off blood clots:

  • Stand, stretch and walk up and down the aisle as frequently as possible to get the blood moving.
  • If you know you’re at risk for a blood clot, invest in graduated compression stockings to help prevent blood pooling in the legs. They can be found at surgical supply stores and pharmacies.
  • Drink a steady amount of water or other non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated.

Bass points out that deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot, commonly found in the leg or thigh, that can form as a result of stagnant blood flow, coagulation, and damage to vein walls. That can cause leg pain and swelling. But the real danger is when clots travel to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism, or a blockage of arteries that traverse the lung.

The Mayo Clinic identifies the use of oral contraceptives as a risk factor in developing blood clots.

But while most oral contraceptives increase the risk of blood clots, different brands have different risks. Several studies show that Beyaz, Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and other birth control pills containing the compound drospirenone are more likely to cause deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and stroke than other birth control drugs. Talk to your doctor before making changes to your medications.

If you experienced a blood clot while on Beyaz or another drospirenone-containing birth control, contact Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.

See the Hospital for Special Surgery Webpage here: http://www.hss.edu/conditions_avoiding-blood-clotting-complications-flying.asp