Safety Tip of the Week – Prevent Blood Clots

We travel a lot during the holidays. Traveling often includes sitting for periods of time, waiting, or driving or flying to our destinations. According to the CDC, the act of sitting for a long time without getting up and moving, or walking around, can increase the probability of blood pooling in the veins of our legs, leading to blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

DVT is a type of blood clot that forms in a large vein. When a part of the clot breaks off, it can travel to places like the lungs, causing a sudden blockage of arteries in the lung, known as a pulmonary embolism, and are very serious and can cause death.

Blood Clot Risk Factors

You should know the risk factors for developing a blood clot. Some conditions that increase your risk of developing a blood clot include:

  • Having had a previous blood clot or disorder or family history of blood clots;
  • Recent surgery, hospitalization, treatment, or injury;
  • Use of estrogen-containing birth control or hormone replacement therapy;
  • Current or recent pregnancy;
  • Older age; and
  • Obesity.

Steps to Prevent Blood Clots During Travel

Increasing circulation is recommended to prevent blood clots while traveling. Remember to:

  • Stand up or walk around occasionally;
  • Exercise your calf muscles and stretch your legs while you’re sitting; and
  • Wear compression stockings or taking medicine before departure if you have additional risk factors for blood clots.

Taking aspirin to prevent blood clots when traveling is NOT recommended. If you take aspirin for other reasons, check with your doctor.

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