All reputable airlines and holiday companies provide information on DVT and you are strongly recommended to seek advice if you are the type of passenger who is most likely to be affected by the condition and how to reduce the risks when flying.
Most passengers can reduce the risk of DVT and the consequent sudden death through keeping circulation active by practising in-seat exercises, particularly leg exercises, whilst aboard the airplane. Most airlines and holiday companies also advocate walking around the aircraft to reduce the risk but any regular air travellers will know this is not always practical or even possible.
Most airlines will provide details of exercises you can do in their in-flight magazine or during the in-flight videos. However, to give you an insight to what they are and perhaps even to give you a chance to practise them before you fly here are some of them.
1. During the flight place a pillow in the hole of your lower back to maintain the curve of your spine. Avoid crossing your legs. This will help your back as well as your blood circulation. Try to keep your weight evenly balanced on each buttock and keep your shoulders relaxed.
2. Sit back in your seat and flatten the head rest. Sitting up straight and with your shoulders relaxed allow your head to roll slowly to one side. Then, gently roll back through its central position to the other side. Repeat this exercise several times.
3. Sit upright in your seat and move forward a little. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears and then circle them back down. To help you with this exercise imagine you have pencils on the tips of your shoulders to draw circles. Repeat this exercise six times. Then lift your shoulders up towards your ears and drop again. Repeat six times.
4. Sit in an upright position and place a pillow under your right thigh just above the knee. Try to keep your weight even. Now circle your right foot round, by rotating from the ankle joint, whilst keeping the whole leg as still as possible. Do twelve circles in each direction with each foot.
5. Sit upright and keep your feet in line with your hips and knees. Push your toes and the balls of your feet into the floor. Hold this position and slowly count to six. Then release. Now push your heels into the floor for a count of six then release.
As you can see these exercises are very easy to do and can be done in your seat without causing interference with other passengers. These exercises can be repeated several times during your flight to reduce the risk DVT and the resulting sudden death.
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