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Travel Tips


The importance of being mobile on flights


By Tania Moffat


Airplanes can be cramped spaces, but it's recommended to get up and stretch every few hours. R


esearch completed by the World Health Organi- zation shows that about 1 in 4,500 travellers will develop a blood clot, but not all passengers were at equal risk. Blood clots were likely caused by


not moving around enough during their flights. Te study also reported a two- to three-fold increase in the risk for travellers taking flights more than four hours in length. While some doctors suggest the risk of developing deep vein thromboses are small, it is always better to be safe than sorry. DVTs are often hard to correlate to flying as they may take several days before they dislodge from the leg and trav- el through the body. If they reach the lungs, they can cause a pulmonary embolism which is potentially fatal. Te reality of flying


Airplanes create the perfect storm for the formation of blood clots: altitude, dehydration and immobility. Clots in the legs or deep vein thromboses are dangerous as they can


64 • Spring 2017


move into the lung and block blood flow to the heart. Many doctors recommend that passengers move on flights four hours or longer to prevent the risk of a blood clot forming in the lower legs. But, how can you do this when you are located in a cramped seat, often having to climb over other passenger to get out to a narrow aisle which can be restricted by flight attendants providing drink service, or inaccessible due to notices to remain in your seat during turbulence? Unless you can afford the more spacious first class seats, most passengers are stuffed into increasingly smaller seats with less room, further hampered by their carry-on luggage crammed under the seat in front of them and made worse when the person in front of them reclines their seat. It is not surprising that travellers who remain immobile in this posi- tion for extended periods of time are susceptible to DVTs. Tis possibility is why many airlines recommend doing exercises in your seat on long-haul flights. Recommended


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