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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 reduced-
cost 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 long-
distance 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 lab-
oratory simulations of jet lag, but haven't necessar-
ily 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