ON THE FLY
Tips for travellers
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in the veins in the calf and leg muscles. It’s usually a spontaneous condition that occurs in individuals at risk, such as those with heart disease or the elderly. Periods of prolonged leg immobility can trigger it very occasionally. DVT is often referred to as “economy class syndrome” because of the more cramped seating in that class.
Warning signs are pain and tenderness in the leg muscles, redness and swelling of the skin. If the blood clot moves to the lung (pulmonary embolus), breathing difficulties can occur. If you experience these symptoms, let a member of the cabin crew know immediately. If you have already left the aircraft, seek medical attention straight away.
While flying, it’s advised that you keep exercising those leg muscles. If practical, take regular walks around the cabin, except when the fasten seatbelt sign is turned on. While seated, perform a few simple exercises – check the seat pocket in front of you for a chart.
Alcohol increases the risk of developing DVT – you’re better off drinking more water! Compression hose or socks are the secret of airline crew and are said to help prevent the pooling of blood in the lower limbs.
Make sure your seat is upright and remember to respect the airspace of other passengers. Breathe normally and do not overstretch. Repeat the program every two to three hours.
1 – Hands: grip the edge of your armrest with your hands, hold to a count of five, relax and repeat 10 times.
2 – Feet: placing both feet on the floor, point your toes upwards as high as they will go, then point them downwards. Repeat continuously 5 times.
3 – Legs: starting with your feet on the floor, bring your legs slowly up towards your chest, as far as you can. Relax them slowly. Repeat 3 times.
4 – Abdomen: starting from a fully upright position, slide your hands down your legs as far as you can (but watch that seat in front of you!). Straighten up gradually and repeat 3 times. Cross your arms across your chest and rotate as far as you can from left to right – repeat 3 times.
5 – Shoulders: hunch up your shoulders, hold and slowly relax. Repeat 5 times.
6 – Neck: move your head slowly towards your right shoulder and hold; then towards your left shoulder and hold. Move your chin slowly down towards your chest and hold. Relax then repeat three times.
7 – Arms: starting with your arms outstretched, flex at the elbow and bring them slowly into your chest. Extend them again and then repeat 5 times.