Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

There occur blood clot when the flow of blood is stopped or slowed. Flying on an airplane can increase your risk for blood clots, and you may require to avoid flying for a period of time following the diagnosis of a blood clot. Read below to know more about if you can fly with a blood clot.

Can You Fly With A Blood Clot?

Can You Fly With A Blood Clot?

Sitting still in one position for a longer period can affect the blood circulation and result in the development of blood clots. In airplanes, especially on long-distance flights, you have to sit for a long time and this may be a risk factor for DVT or deep vein thrombosis and PE or Pulmonary embolism. These are the two serious complications of blood clots that may also be fatal in some cases. DVT will dissolve and go away on its own after some time. However, in some cases, it can cause swelling, pain and warmth of the affected leg, or it can break off and travel to the blood vessels of the lungs and result in PE or pulmonary embolism. Collectively, DVT and PE are known as Venous thromboembolism.

Apart from sitting for a long time in a particular position, there is also one more cause that can result in blood clots while in an airplane. People usually become dehydrated on long trips, which is another risk factor for blood clots. Blood vessels can narrow, while blood can thicken, when the body does not have enough fluids. This can increase the risk for blood clots.

You need to know about the symptoms that can be warning signs of blood clots, and they include:

  • Swelling of legs, ankles and calf
  • Redness
  • Increased warmth over the skin.

There are certainly risks to fly with a blood clot and you must check with your doctor if you have to fly with blood clot. Your risk of developing a DVT or PE while flying may be elevated, if you have a history of blood clots or have recently been treated for the condition. In order to prevent these risks, you need to wait at least 4 weeks after the blood clot treatments before taking to fly. Depending on your health history, location and size of the blood clot and your flight duration, your doctor can help determine if you should fly or if you need to postpone your air travel plans.

Precautions to Take When Flying With a Blood Clot:

It is true that there may be risks to fly with blood clots. However, in case you have urgency and you need to travel by air then you need to do some things on long flights so as to reduce the risk of DVT or PE. Below are some of the things you need to know if you want to fly distances.

Precautions To Maintain Before Take Off:

You may be recommended to take some medical treatments before the flight, so as to reduce the risk of your blood clot of its complications while you are in the air. These treatments may include, taking a blood thinner, either orally or via injections, before one or two hours of the flight time.

If you have options of choosing your seat before the flight, do choose an aisle seat or pay an extra fee for a seat with extra leg room. This will help you stretch out and move around during the flight, which can ultimately help you reduce the chances of getting blood clots.

Apart from these, you must also inform the airline that you are prone to blood clots and need to be able to move around the plane.

Precautions During The Flight:

You must move around as much possible and remain hydrated in the flight. If it is unsafe to walk up and down the aisles, you need to do some exercises that can be done in your seat so as to help keep your blood flowing. Below are some of the exercises to be done on the seat so as to prevent blood clots while on plane.

  • Slide your feet back and forth along the floor, so as to help stretch out the thigh muscles.
  • Alternate curling and spreading the toes for improving the blood circulation.
  • Alternate pushing your heels and toes into the ground. This helps flex the calf muscles.
  • Apart from these exercises, you can also bring a tennis ball on board with you which you can use to massage your leg muscles. Gently push the ball into the thing and roll it up and down your leg.

Apart from all the above precautions, you need to know some other things, such as, not to cross your legs(as it can reduce the blood circulation), wear loose clothing, wear compression stockings so as to stimulate circulation and prevent the blood from pooling.

Conclusion:

As we know that there are risks to fly with a blood clot, you must be very much cautious while choosing to fly with blood clot or a history of blood clot. Do talk to your doctor before you board the flight or plan for an air travel and know if you can fly with a blood clot.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: July 30, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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