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Can flying in an airplane raise your chances of getting a blood clot?

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Delays, lost luggage, and trying to stay away from germs aren't the only things to be cautious about when you fly. Long airplane trips can also raise your chances of getting blood clots.

A clot is a clump of blood that forms inside a vein or other blood vessel. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is when the clot is in a large vein deep inside your lower leg or thigh. The clot can block the flow of blood through the vein.

If a clot breaks free, it can get stuck inside a blood vessel in your lungs. This is a pulmonary embolism (PE), and it can be dangerous.

Overall, your chance of getting a clot when you fly is low. But certain things -- like your weight and age -- can make you more likely to get one.

A few precautions before, during, and after your flight can help you avoid blood clots.

SOURCES:

American Society of Hematology: "Blood Clots."

CDC: "Blood Clots and Travel: What You Need to Know," "Blood Clots During Travel."

Cleveland Clinic: "Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)."

Columbia Surgery: "How to Avoid Blood Clots When Flying: Advice from a Vascular Surgeon."

Hospital for Special Surgery: "Avoiding Blood Clotting Complications When Flying Long Distances Before Surgery."

Lifebridge Health: "Blood Clots: Deep Vein Thrombosis."

Mayo Clinic: "Blood clots: Basics," "Blood clots: Symptoms."

NHS: "Prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis) when you travel."

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith on August 3, 2020

SOURCES:

American Society of Hematology: "Blood Clots."

CDC: "Blood Clots and Travel: What You Need to Know," "Blood Clots During Travel."

Cleveland Clinic: "Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)."

Columbia Surgery: "How to Avoid Blood Clots When Flying: Advice from a Vascular Surgeon."

Hospital for Special Surgery: "Avoiding Blood Clotting Complications When Flying Long Distances Before Surgery."

Lifebridge Health: "Blood Clots: Deep Vein Thrombosis."

Mayo Clinic: "Blood clots: Basics," "Blood clots: Symptoms."

NHS: "Prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis) when you travel."

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith on August 3, 2020

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What can raise your risk for getting blood clots while flying on an airplane?

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