A Leg Up on Healthier Travel

Frequent flying can present some health risks. Here's how to practice healthy traveling.

By Bridget Nelson Monroe from Reader's Digest | March 2008

Frequent fliers worry about dangerous blood clots from deep vein thrombosis (DVT). But flying isn’t that risky for most of us.

European researchers followed 8,755 adults for six years to evaluate cases of DVT and pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a clot breaks off and blocks blood flow. They found just one DVT in every 4,656 trips of four hours or more. But the longer you’re airborne and the more you fly in a short period, the higher the risk. Women on the Pill and people who are tall, short or overweight are more prone (large or tall travelers get cramped; short people’s feet may not hit the floor, putting pressure on a vein).

While flying, you should still walk around, drink lots of water, wear loose clothing and avoid sitting with your legs crossed. If you have heart or clotting problems, ask your doctor about prescription compression stockings, which may help.

Quick Tip: Feeling cramped? Visit delta.com for exercises you can do in your airplane seat.