Can I fly with DVT?
Up to one in every 1000 people are affected by Deep Vein Thrombosis in the UK each year, and of those, many fly without any issue. There are ways in which you can make travelling with DVT much more comfortable, such as extra leg space, compressions socks, drinking plenty of water, and minor exercise when possible.
Should I speak to a doctor about flying with DVT?
According to the NHS, even if you’ve had DVT recently and are on medication for it, ‘your risk of developing DVT is low and there is no reason why you can’t travel, including long haul.’ However, they do recommend that you speak to your consultant and get the all clear before booking your flights.
The definitive answer of whether you can fly after having DVT varies from person-to-person. Depending on how many clots you had; how bad they were; and the reasons why DVT developed. Your doctor may recommend that you don’t fly until after you’ve seen a specialist.
Some doctors will recommend that you take blood thinning medication such as warfarin before flying. These drugs will reduce your blood’s ability to clot and prevent existing clots from getting bigger.
Tips for when you can fly after having DVT
If your doctor does give you the all clear to fly, here are some extra precautions you can take:
- Wear compression stockings. It is one of the first things your doctor will recommend when flying with DVT and will help to improve blood flow in the legs. Compression stockings can be bought at the airport – some airlines even hand them out for free.
- Purchase seats that will allow you more leg room during your flight. If you have a history of DVT, you’re more likely to get it again if your legs are cramped during a long-haul journey. If it is not possible to buy a seat with more leg room, request an aisle seat. These typically have more leg room and will still allow you to stretch your legs out more.
- When travelling, try to wear loose-fitting; comfortable clothes. Tight clothes can sometimes restrict circulation of the blood.
- Drink plenty of water. Not keeping hydrated could lead to your blood volume increasing, which leads to thickening and increases the chances of worsening your DVT. It’s also important to avoid excessive alcohol consumption whilst travelling. As you may be aware, this can also lead to dehydration!
- Exercise in your seat. This does not mean that you have to start rattling about in your chair. Simply moving your legs and flexing your feet can improve blood flow throughout the lower half of your body, thus lowering the risk of making your DVT worse. Also, try not to cross your legs while you’re sitting.
- When travelling on a long-haul flight, everybody should make time for walking breaks. However, when you’ve had DVT before, it’s important that you take regular breaks from sitting with your legs bent for a sustained period of time. Where possible, try to avoid storing baggage on the floor where your feet are. Doing so can often lead a restriction in your movements.
- Don’t forget to have fun! If your doctor is happy for you to travel, then all you need to worry about is enjoying your break.
The information in this blog post is not intended to replace professional medical advice. It is a general overview of a broad medical care topic. Blog posts are not tailored to one person’s specific medical requirements, diagnosis or treatment. If you do notice symptoms or you require medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider to obtain professional medical help. Read through our disclaimer for more information.