Dealing with….
Economy Class Syndrome

We are getting to the season where people are starting to take their annual holidays (April- September) and many of you will be flying off to far-flung climes. A worry, which has come to light over the last few years, is the risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) - commonly known as Economy Class Syndrome - on these long haul flights.

Here is our guide to helping you offset any deleterious effects of travelling long distances:


The reason why there is an increased risk of blood clots developing in the legs on long haul flights is a combination of enforced inactivity due to seating arrangements and lack of Oxygen in the air. Both these factors thicken the blood increasing the risk of clotting.


  • Drinking plenty of water helps thin the blood. One glass per hour cuts the risk by 5%.
  • Make sure you regularly take a walk around the cabin - every 1/2 hour would be ideal.
  • If you remain seated throughout the flight you can flex and move the legs and ankles by doing stretching and rotating exercises. Flex your feet backwards and forwards, then rotate ankles first in one direction then the other. Clench and release your calf and thigh muscles. Do this regularly throughout the flight.
  • It has been shown that the herbal remedy Pycnogenol (pine bark extract) helps by thinning the blood. Take one capsule or tablet containing 30mg at the start of the flight.
  • Quertecin acts directly on the cells of the body and stops them releasing histamines which in turn prevents the body from swelling up. Best results come if you combine 1,200mg of Quertecin with 1 gram of Vitamin C.
  • Natural Source Vitamin E also has the effect of thinning the blood and reducing the risk of clotting on long haul flights. Take 400 i.u. a week prior to travel and during the journey.
  • It has been shown that taking 1/2-1 tablet of Aspirin at the start of the flight also helps, due to Aspirin's well known effect in helping to thin the blood - a fact put to good use in helping heart patients recover from heart attacks.

    Do not take Aspirin, however, if you suffer from stomach or digestive problems such as heartburn or gastric ulcers.

For more information on dealing with travel ailments go to Travel

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