Reducing Jet Lag & Deep Vein Thrombosis
During Your Travels
Whether you are traveling across the world or across the country, at one point in time almost everyone who travels has experienced the dreaded jet lag syndrome.
Symptoms can include: fatigue, irritability, stomach indigestion, headache, insomnia, decreased mental clarity…feeling lightheaded or “feeling foggy”.
Jet lag is said to happen when our body’s internal clock is suddenly changed to another time zone without giving it time to adjust. Most studies have shown that people can only shift their internal clocks to the new time zone by an hour per day. At this time there are not any medications that your doctor can prescribe to prevent jet lag. You can take melatonin which some studies have show to help reset your body’s natural circadian cycle, but melatonin can cause sleepiness and decrease mental alertness.
- Sleep on the plane if it is night time at your destination -shoot for at least 4 hours (bring headphones, earplugs, and eye mask)
- Get plenty of natural light at your destination
- Drink plenty of non -caffeinated drinks to stay well hydrated
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Eat light the first 24 hours before & during and after travel
- Reset circadian with Melatonin 1-5mg
- Try stay on local time and not sleep during the day
- Enjoy an extended stop over to help ease jet lag and decrease DVT
Deep Vein Thombrosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis is blood clots in the legs caused by sitting for long periods of time without getting up. This can be a big problem when traveling on long distance flights, buses, car, and even trains. It has been given the name “economy class syndrome”. It is important to prevent DVT because once the clots form they require immediate medical attention that may not be available in mid air. Clots in the legs are very dangerous because they can break loose. Once they break loose they can travel through the bloodstream straight to your lung, causing blocked blood flow in the lungs, and what is know as a pulmonary embolism.
Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombrosis (DVT) Can Include:
- Leg skin discoloration in flight or immediately after travel
- Swelling in one leg or both
- Leg feels warm to touch
- Calf or thigh may feel ache or tender
- Increasing pain
- Sometimes there are no symptoms in the legs, but in the chest such as chest pain, or shortness of breath which can be indicative of a pulmonary embolism
Factors That Can Contribute to Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Previous history of DVT or PE
- Age (older than 50)
- Being a Smoker
- Being overweight or obese
- Metastatic malignancy
- Vein disease (such as varicose veins)
- Estrogen usage or current pregnancy
- Genetic factors family history
- History of heart attack or congestive heart failure
How To Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis & Pulmonary Embolism
- Get up and move around
- Stand up and stretch in place
- Flex and extend ankles and knees
- Avoid alcohol
- Drink plenty of decaffeinated fluids
- Wear comfortable loose fitting clothes
- Wear compression stockings or socks while traveling
- Take shoes off while on the plane
Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
- Pulmonary embolism is when a clot travels to the lungs. The symptoms can vary depending on how big the clot is, and how much of the lung tissue is involved. If a person has lung problems or underlying heart disease the symptoms can be worse.
- Common pulmonary embolism symptoms can include:
- Chest pain- pain with deep breathing, bending, and may get worse with exertion.
- Shortness of breath
- Cough-may cough up bloody or blood tinged sputum
- Rapid heartbeat
- Leg Pain