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Updated May 5, 2006
Airhealth.org

Prevention

The usual advice for avoiding economy class syndrome is to flex the legs frequently and drink plenty of water. However, water by itself doesn't hold up in tests. See Hydration.

Here are the precautionary steps we recommend. The more risk factors you have for blood clots, the more of these you need to follow:

- Leg flexing: effortless exercises you can do without leaving your seat.

- Compression Hose: proven effective and recommended, but avoid elastic support hose.

- Hydration: recommended, but don't drink the water!

- Prophylaxis: to consider if you have risk factors (such as a history of DVT) or if you must sleep during a flight.

- Leaflet: essential for recognizing symptoms and avoiding misdiagnosis that usually aggravates the injury and increases the risk of disability or death.

- Avoid: sleeping, clothing tight enough to impede circulation (such as an elastic knee brace), crossing the legs for more than a few minutes, dehydrating beverages such as alcohol, and caffeine.

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