When on the road and traveling long distances, there is no question that biding time can become an issue. While this boredom can be a minor annoyance, there is a silent and potentially deadly health risk that can take place when travelers have remained immobile for long periods of time. DVT, also known as Travelers’ thrombosis, can be a scary problem to encounter, especially when out of country and potentially away from medical care. The symptoms and side effects of this issue can be debilitation and painful and cause potentially life threatening issues. Knowing the causes of DVT and how you can avoid it on your next trip can be important knowledge when on the road and help you to avoid this scary syndrome.

DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis is a problem that many traveling long distances have experienced. Most commonly this problem affects the veins in the legs in the form of a blood clot that can become potentially deadly. Elderly passengers are particularly at risk however travelers of all ages may encounter symptoms of DVT if immobilized for too long. For travelers that are planning long voyages where they will be immobile for long periods of time, there are steps that can be taken to aid in preventing DVT.

Simple steps that can be taken to avoid developing DVT symptoms include proper hydration, the use of compression stockings, and performing simple leg exercises. Hydration is key here as it helps improve circulation. Avoiding caffeine, aspirin and alcoholic beverages are simple steps that can be taken to avoid dehydration. Packing enough water is clearly the easiest way to accomplish this and making sure that you continually gets enough fluids. The use of compression stockings is also extremely helpful as studies have proven that this step can radically improve your body’s ability to prevent this syndrome. Performing simple leg raises is also a great way to accomplish this same task.

As the body remains seated for long distances the immobility and lack of proper blood circulation can cause swelling, redness and dilation of surface veins. If you encounter these problems consult a physician as these are symptoms of DVT. By getting up and walking, performs leg exercise and stretching your legs before these symptoms arise, you can avoid this issue all together. For plane travelers in particular, test show that having a non-window seat can also substantially improve your chances in preventing this syndrome.

Travelers with poor circulation or who have experienced this issue in the past are at particular rich and heading the aforementioned advice in preventing DVT is particularly important for these travelers. Also taking time to check for the arrival of symptoms throughout your long voyage is a smart move and can help you to catch the first sign of DVT and take steps to prevent further damage.
As an avid traveler I have myself once encountered this scary phenomenon while on an 85 hour bus ride. Now clearly not taking such a long journey in the first place by bus would be a more logical way to prevent this from happening, sometimes these types of experiences are inevitable in traveling. As I neared the end of my journey I noticed a pink glow to my shins and ankles and substantially swelling to a point where I began to get quite worried.

This can be a very surprising moment and catch many travelers off guard. The best steps to take immediately are to get up, move around and get some water to help improve circulation. Leg raises in particular can be particularly helpful and avoiding the seated position for an hour or two will often show immediate improvement. Getting out and stretching, jogging in place or going for a quick walk can also greatly improve blood flow and will also help clear you mind after a long day of immobilization.

Of course sometimes you may be stuck on a train, in a car or on a bus without the ability to get out and move around much. Still by strolling the aisles or taking a break and getting out of your vehicle for even twenty minutes can help immensely. While all of these methods can help, the best way to treat DVT is to never let it appear in the first place by taking the steps mentioned in preventing the syndrome above.

If you have taken the steps to reduce your DVT symptoms and they continue to worsen or do not improve in the next twenty four hours, it may well be time to consult a physician to get your particular situation analyzed. Keep in mind that age, obesity, immobilization, infection and tobacco intake can all factor into the severity of your particular case. This blood clotting involved in DVT makes it particularly dangerous and those who discover symptoms should not take this issue lightly. Though DVT carries a low mortality, it can be deadly if untreated and is nothing to ignore.

When traveling you have enough to worry about. From packing to planning and logistics that are involved in getting around foreign lands, this process is stressful enough. DVT is something that can easily be prevented for most subjects and when traveling for long distances should always be taken into consideration. Seeking medical attention in unknown places and trying to self diagnose issues while out on the road isn’t something that anyone wants to run into. By taking the simple steps mentioned above to prevent this syndrome before it rears its ugly head, it is possible to prevent this issue from ever arising in the first place.

Planning shorter legs of your trip, picking up a pair of compression stockings, staying hydrated and moving around are all simple steps that will prevent most of us from ever having to experience a serious case of DVT. So on your next journey stay safe and remember to check every few hours for signs of DVT to ensure that your vacation is a fun filled adventure and not a scary, stressful nightmare.

Date posted: 7th December, 2012

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