WHO is worried about your legs? The World Health Organization (WHO) that's who. Summer is the season of travel with long flights to exotic places, and long flights puts you at risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Although the danger of developing DVT — normally in the form of a blood clot in the calves — is small, it increases if people are immobile for long periods in cramped conditions. Add the fact more and more people are flying and you can see how the incidence of DVT is rising.
The WHO strongly encourages anyone taking a long flight to exercise their legs hourly by walking or contracting the calf muscles (pointing and flexing their toes). Passengers on long flights should avoid sedatives and alcohol because they make people more likely to be immobile for long periods of time.
Here's a list of other risk factors:
- genetic conditions
- age (although being young doesn't mean you're not susceptible)
- use of oral contraceptives
- being shorter than 5-foot-4 or taller than 6-foot-4
The last risk factor is interesting to me and researchers believe that height affects passengers in different ways. Short people are less likely to be mobile on a flight because their feet dangle, whereas taller people because they are more cramped.