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Wear your stockings when you fly.

Take an aspirin, drink plenty of water, and stretch your legs as much as you can. An article in the The Wall Street Journal*, on May 12, 2004, reminded us that Economy Class Syndrome is a real danger.

The article reads; “Squeezed into the middle of a five-seat row, with surly neighbors that she didn’t want to keep climbing over, Adriene Rodriguez says she slept through the 12-hour flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia. When she got off the Air New Zealand jet, she collapsed and was rushed to a hospital. A CAT scan revealed a blood clot in her leg and three tiny emboli in her lungs that, luckily, were too tiny to kill her.”

“ Nicknamed ‘Economy Class Syndrome’, the ailment is characterized by blood clots that form in legs, often after sitting in cramped spaced for extended periods.”

If those blood clots dislodge, travel and block the pulmonary artery, they can cause a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism. In 1986 a medical study showed that pulmonary embolism was the second leading cause of in-flight or post flight death in London’s Heathrow airport between 1979 and 1983.

Risk factors are increased when flying because:
- Cramped seats in economy class.
- Low humidity in the cabin.
- Lowered oxygen levels.
- Fluid loss as a result of drinking alcoholic beverages.
- Insufficient fluid intake (non alcoholic).
- Sitting with legs in dependent position for lengthy periods.
All these factors can lead to dehydration, stagnant blood flow, and an increase in the ability of the blood to coagulate.
It is quite easy to avoid "economy class syndrome" with a few simple measures:
- Take some aspirin
- Drink at least 1 quart of non-alcoholic, caffeine free fluid for every five hours of flight.
- Get up and walk in the aisles for 5 minutes every hour, or move your legs and feet for 5 minutes every hour.
- Keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum.
- After injury or surgery it may be wise to wait 6 weeks before air travel. Check with your doctor.
- Wear Venosan graduated compression hosiery during the flight.


Lighter weight, support stockings such as Supportline, Legline, or MicroFiberLine for most people.  Those with added risk factors may need higher compression, of Ultraline 20-30 mmHg, or 30-40 mmHg. Consult your physician!


*Robert S. Greenberger, Wall Street Journal, May 12, Page B1, Column 4.



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