Keep blood circulation problems away while travelling
Travelling often involves sitting still in a confined space for long periods of time or not moving your legs for several hours. This can increase your risk of thrombosis or developing a blood clot. The highest chance of developing a blood clot occurs within the first two weeks after travel.
People at risk
- Higher risk of developing thrombus is associated with:
- Limited mobility
- Older age
- Obesity (BMI > 30)
- People who take certain medications (e.g. estrogen-based hormones)
- People with a personal or family history of circulatory problems or blood clots
- People with certain heart conditions
- Pregnant women and up to 6 weeks postpartum
- Recent surgery or injury
Tips to follow when travelling
If you are travelling for more than 4 hours, or fly frequently, be aware of your risk factors and follow these general tips:
- If possible, choose an aisle seat to make moving around easier and walk every two hours.
- Move your toes, feet and ankles every 15 to 30 minutes. Don’t forget to exercise your calves. Extend your legs straight out and flex your ankles (pulling your toes toward you).
- Give yourself as much leg room as possible and avoid placing weight on your lap.
- Do not cross your legs or tuck them under the seat.
- Stay well hydrated. Limit your intake of alcohol and coffee.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- To avoid a lack of movement, do not sleep for long periods and avoid taking pills that make you drowsy, as these keep you from changing position and moving around.
- If you are at high risk of blood clotting, wear compression stockings with ankle pressure of 30-40 mmHg and a lower pressure higher up the leg if advised to by your doctor, pharmacist or travel health professional.
Compression therapy uses specially-designed socks or stockings to support your veins and increase circulation in your legs. By preventing blood from pooling in leg veins, compression helps overall circulation and diminishes any leg swelling you may have.
Selected pharmacies have certified staff members that can help you choose the compression stockings best for you. They can also help you pick the right size for your legs since compression therapy requires proper fitting.
Check with your pharmacist or healthcare provider to see if you should get compression stockings. Make sure you visit your pharmacist prior to your departure and discuss your other travel needs. This could include vaccinations and renewing your prescriptions to have enough supply for the entire duration of your trip.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.