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Updated June 5, 2004
Airhealth.org

Risk

The risk of air travel thrombosis is just beginning to be understood. Gianni Belcaro's LONFLIT studies are finding that 3% of air travelers on long flights (10 hours or more) develop clots. Among frequent business travelers, LONFLIT IV found 4.5% developing one or more clots per year, about fifty times as many clots as found in a non-flying population. Most of these clots dissolve naturally, but the few that don't are still a huge public health problem.

Some people are more likely to develop injurious clots than others. In the following pages, we discuss:

- Risk Factors

- Pilots

- Athletes

- Common misconceptions.

Avoid:

- Wearing anything that can restrict circulation, like a knee brace.

- Crossing legs for more than a few minutes.

- Sleeping, especially if you have any risk factors such as athletic training. If sleep is unavoidable, try to find a place where you can lie horizontal and/or arrange for someone to wake you after a short nap.

- Alcohol, caffeine, and water. (See Hydration page.)

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