If long-duration flights (longer than three hours) must be carried out, some precautions should be taken to make the trip more comfortable and prevent it from being the cause of problems, more or less important for health.

If you travel often, perhaps for work, and you have a lot of work pressure, this interests you.

Among these precautions, abundant hydration, control of body temperature, correct posture during the flight and preventive measures of the so-called economy class syndrome are important.

Economy class syndrome on long-haul flights

The economy class syndrome consists of the formation of a thrombus in the deep veins of the legs, which can later fragment and detach, affecting the pulmonary arteries. This has been observed in passengers on long-duration flights and especially in economy class travelers, due to the greater immobility they have.

Fortunately, the probability of suffering from this syndrome is low in the population, but despite everything we must know that there are factors that can increase a person’s risk of presenting a thrombosis:

    Low risk: young, healthy people not taking any medications

    Moderate risk: people over 40 years old, taking oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, or who have obesity, varicose disease, heart failure, pregnancy, or are smokers.

    High risk: previous history of thrombosis or family predisposition to thrombosis, history of recent intervention under general anesthesia, trauma to the lower extremities, immobilized lower limbs or oncological diseases.

In those trips that last more than 3 hours, a series of preventive measures are recommended:

  •     Try to choose seats located in the aisle, as they allow greater mobility.
  •     Do not place luggage under the front seat as it further reduces the possible mobility of the legs.
  •     If you are in the group of people at high risk, use compression stockings during the flight to promote circulation.
  •     If you want to sleep during the flight, it is advisable to do so with your legs stretched out and relaxed.
  •     Travel in comfortable clothing and avoid the pressure points of tight clothing.

    It is recommended to drink plenty of water, not to drink alcohol before and after the flight, or beverages with caffeine, as they can promote dehydration.

  •     Avoid sitting cross-legged, as it hinders blood flow.

    Take short walks around the cabin every 1 to 2 hours. Do calf muscle stretching exercises (raising the toes as if to walk on the heels, and vice versa, raising the heels as if to walk on tiptoe.)

    If you have risk factors for thrombosis, it is recommended to consult your doctor before making a long trip, since the use of a preventive drug may be recommended.

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