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TRAVEL INSURANCE

Whether you’re off on a six-month trek to the Himalayas or a family holiday in Spain, it’s vital to have the right travel insurance. Make sure your policy covers your destination and the duration of your stay, as well as any specific activities you might do. When travelling in Europe, make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC will entitle you to free or reducedcost medical care. However, it won’t cover you for everything that travel insurance can, such as emergency travel back to the UK.

DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS 

If you think you may be at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), seek advice from your GP. WHO’S AT RISK OF DVT? Conditions that may increase your risk of DVT on flights of eight hours or more: • history of DVT or pulmonary embolism • cancer • stroke • heart disease • inherited tendency to clot (thrombophilia) • recent surgery – pelvic region or legs • obesity • pregnancy • hormone replacement therapy BEFORE YOU TRAVEL If you think you have a risk of  DVT, see your GP before you travel.  Don’t leave it until the last minute in case you need to buy medication, compression stockings or anything else for your flight.  Wearing compression stockings during flights of four hours or more can significantly reduce your risk of DVT, as well as leg swelling (oedema). The below-knee stockings apply gentle pressure to the ankle to help blood flow. They  come in a variety of sizes and there are also different levels of compression. Class 1 stockings (exerting a pressure of 14-17 mmHg at the ankle) are generally sufficient. It’s vital that compression stockings are measured and worn correctly. Ill-fitting stockings could further increase the risk of DVT.

Flight socks are available from pharmacies, airports and many retail outlets. Take advice on size and proper fitting from a pharmacist or another health professional. DURING YOUR JOURNEY Tips to reduce your risk of  DVT during a longdistance flight, train or car journey: • wear loose, comfortable clothes • consider flight socks • do anti-DVT exercises • walk around whenever you can • drink plenty of water • don’t drink alcohol or take sleeping pills RECOVERING FROM DVT If you had DVT recently, you’re probably on medication, such as warfarin, to prevent the formation of blood clots. If that’s the case, then your risk of developing DVT is low and there is no reason why you can’t travel, including long haul. However, if you’re still in the recovery phase, you should get the all-clear from your consultant before travelling. On long-haul flights, get up from your seat to walk around and stretch your legs whenever you can. Drink regularly,  but avoid alcohol, and wear loose, comfortable clothes. 

JET LAG

Jet lag is worse when you move from west to east because the body finds it harder to adapt to a shorter day than a longer one. Travellers who take medication according to a strict timetable, such as insulin or oral contraceptives, should seek medical advice from a health professional before their journey. PREVENTING JET LAG Jet lag can’t be prevented, but  you can try some strategies that may reduce its effects. Some of these strategies have been studied in laboratory simulations of jet lag, but haven’t necessarily been tested on people experiencing jet lag after real flights. BEFORE YOU TRAVEL: change your sleep routine a few days before your departure - if you’re travelling east, try going to bed

Health Triangle Magazine issue 49  
Health Triangle Magazine issue 49  

Health Focus in this month is all about travel

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