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 Rees Howells

Is It Safe To Fly? Economy Class Syndrome/Deep Vein Thrombosis

Economy class syndrome is best known by its medical name as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). If you sit in once place for too long (especially in a cramped position on a long haul flight), blood could gather in your lower limbs and in a few extreme cases (DVT) a blood clot could occur.

‘One in ten older flyers at risk from blood clots’. Sunday Times 14/1/2001.

‘At least one long haul passenger dies every month from a blood clot within minutes of landing at Heathrow airport…but doctors at Ashford hospital, Surrey believe more than 2000 air travellers die from blood clots each year in Briton’ Financial Times 10th January 2001.

‘Despite being warned as long ago as 1968 by leading medical experts about the problem of so called ‘economy class syndrome’ airlines played down the dangers…hundreds of people are feared to have died as a result.’ The Observer 14th January 2001.

‘Three British Olympic coaches suffered potentially fatal blood clots when they flew to Australia for the 2000 Olympic Games. All the men were between 35 and 45, of above average fitness who had never experienced health problem related to what has been dubbed economy class syndrome.’ Daily Mail 12 January 2001.


To help reduce the risks you can exercise your legs, feet, and ankles. Rotate and flex your shoulders. Walk around the cabin as often as possible and enjoy the wait outside the toilet!

Breathe deeply at regular intervals to increase oxygen intake. Keep drinking plenty of water and soft drinks and avoid excessive amounts of tea, coffee or alcohol. Avoid sleeping in uncomfortable positions. Avoid your calves making prolonged contact with your seat.Consider wearing compression socks, which you can purchase at pharmacies. Speak to a doctor for advice if you are going on a long haul flight before you make any decisions.

Hab. 2:4
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