Why You Should Wear Compression Stockings on Long Flights

Why You Should Wear Compression Stockings on Long Flights

You’ve been looking forward to that vacation for months, and you made sure to pack everything just so. You got your travel insurance, any necessary vaccinations, picked up the essential supplies, and you double checked that you had packed everything. After all, if you want to enjoy your getaway without having to worry about a thing, it takes some advanced planning. However, your plans might be derailed by painful, puffy feet caused circulation problems. You don’t want to have aching feet walking to the baggage claim, so it’s best to be prepared and have compression stockings ready for your flight.

The extended period of inactivity from sitting for hours on end in the airplane can also increase your risk of a potentially deadly blood clot called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Compression stockings help “squeeze” blood back “uphill” up the legs to the heart and prevent both DVT and pesky, puffy feet. Those at highest risk for DVT include those with diabetes, sickle cell anemia, cancer, blood clothing disorders, vascular disease, as well as the overweight, pregnant, or smokers. DVTs are dangerous, because a piece of the bloot clot may break off and move through the bloodstream to the lungs, causing arterial blockage called a pulmonary embolism. In severe cases, this can cause a life-threatening stroke.

Other Ways to Protect Yourself from Deep Vein Thrombosis While Flying

Whether you’re taking a quick domestic flight or you’re preparing for a long flight overseas, it’s wise to have a pair of compression socks in your carryon luggage. While some may associate compression stockings with less-than-fashionable knee-high socks, they come in a variety of colors and patterns, and usually are well worth the minor investment, which likely won’t cost much more than $10-15.

  • Don’t cross your legs
  • Make sure you wiggle your toes and move your feet
  • Avoid alcohol during the flight or salty food, which can dehydrate you or make you retain water
  • Get up and stretch your legs by talking a walk up and down the aisle every hour

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