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Travel sickness and DVT

How to stay healthy and happy when travelling

Getting motion sickness can make any journey miserable, especially if you are travelling with children. You can experience motion sickness on all modes of transports - in the car, air or on the sea.

Here are some helpful prevention tips:

  • Fresh air helps. On the way to the airport keep the car windows open or stay on the deck of a boat.
  • Avoid heavy, spicy or fatty foods before and during travel.
  • Sit facing forward in the direction you are travelling in.
  • Sit where there is least movement - in the centre of a ship, at the front of a bus and in the middle of the plane over the wing.
  • Focus on the horizon or still objects in the distance and avoid reading.
  • If you are prone to motion sickness, take a few sick bags from your flight or BYO, along with wet wipes and tissues to mop up.
  • When travelling with children, take a change of clothes in case they get sick and a plastic bag for soiled clothing.

Motion Sickness medication

The most effective drugs to prevent motion sickness are those that contain Hyoscine hydrobromide (ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable product). You must take them before beginning your journey - they don't work if you wait until you start feeling sick. Another option is wearing seasickness bands, which are available from many pharmacies and specialist travel stores. Travel gum is a relatively new but effective alternative.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

DVT occurs when blood changes from a liquid into to a solid state thereby producing a clot. DVT most commonly affects the veins in your legs or within the pelvis (lower abdomen). DVT is not always dangerous, but the effects can be fatal if the blood clot becomes big enough to cause an obstruction within the body's most critical large veins - those that take blood from the heart to the lungs.

Long-haul passengers are at greater risk of getting blood clots because the dry air in planes can cause dehydration. When you are dehydrated, blood becomes thicker and more prone to clotting. Alcoholic drinks are diuretics so, unless you drink enough water to compensate, you can get very dehydrated.

Another contributing factor is sluggish circulation, as there are limited opportunities to move around on planes. Cramped seating may cause pressure points on the legs that slow blood flow, potentially increasing the tendency to form a clot.

DVT is also observed in other types of long journeys, not just with air travel.

You may also have a higher chance of suffering from DVT if you:

  • smoke,
  • are overweight,
  • are over 40,
  • have had DVT before,
  • have recently undergone major surgery,
  • are on the Pill.

One common symptom is swollen ankles, particularly if one ankle is significantly more swollen than the other. However, swollen ankles are very common on long flights, because of the lack of "muscle pumping" that normally helps drain tissue fluid. This is not related to DVT.

Pain or tenderness within a calf or thigh muscle is a possible symptom of DVT, while more serious symptoms are coughing, increased heart rate, breathlessness, chest pain or palpitations.

Preventing DVT

Arrive at the airport early and ask for a seat with additional legroom, such as a bulkhead (the partition that divides a plane into different sections, for example between business class and economy) or emergency row seat (children and passengers with disabilities will not be seated in exit row seats).

  • Drink lots of water and/or fruit juice.
  • Avoid tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Stand up and move around the cabin as often as you can.
  • While seated, rotate your ankles around and stretch them up and down on your tiptoes.
  • Sleep for shorter periods and don't take sleeping pills that could leave you motionless for hours.
  • Improve circulation by wearing special elastic compression stockings.
  • Don't sit with your legs crossed or wear tight socks or panty hose.

Some doctors recommend you take an aspirin before you fly, but you should only do so on your GP's recommendation. While Aspirin makes the blood thinner and reduces its tendency to clot, the benefits may be outweighed by its potential to irritate the stomach lining or an existing stomach ulcer.

see original article here http://www.cheapflights.com.au/travel-tips/travel-sickness-and-dvt/

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