Sitting still in a confined space for a long period of time, such as during long distance travel, increases the likelihood of developing blood clots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The longer a person sits still, the greater his chance of developing a blood clot.
Blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis, can occur anywhere in the body, but they are most common in the legs and the pelvis, according to Everyday Health. Most blood clots dissolve on their own, but there is a chance that they detach and travel up to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, states the American Society of Hematology. Those who travel on flights and other trips lasting eight to 10 hours are at the highest risk for developing blood clots.
Physical factors that increase the chance of developing blood clots include obesity, pregnancy and post-pregnancy, having a recent surgery, being on the birth control pill or other hormone-based medications, cancer, family history of blood clots, and having a catheter placed in a vein, states the CDC. Warning signs of a blood clot include swelling of the leg or arm, unexplainable pain, warm skin, and redness of the skin.
To reduce the chance of developing blood clots, travellers can get up and walk around every couple of hours, according to the ASH. They can also decrease risk by avoiding alcoholic beverages, allowing ample space for leg room, not crossing the legs and by wearing compression clothing.