Deep Vein Thrombosis (Dvt)
Des Conway has over 20 years' experience in police and commercial security. He uses his additional research and commercial security experience to ensure his own and his family's safety while planning and taking holiday and business trips. Through this and his other security handbooks he is committed to helping people keep themselves and their loved ones safe, wherever they are.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
It is now accepted that inactivity in cramped seating conditions on long-haul flights can cause blood clots to form, which can lead to the death of an airline passenger. If research shows that blood clots can form on long-haul flights, do smaller clots form on shorter flights or even when sitting in a car or bus for long journeys?
The human body was not designed to sit in cramped conditions for hours at a time, and certainly not designed to sit in a pressurised aluminium tube at 35,000 feet while being starved of oxygen and fed mass-produced food and quantities of alcohol.
Airlines should make their passenger environment healthier with more leg room, more air and less alcohol.
First a few facts and definitions. Depending on which statistics you refer to, it is estimated that anywhere from 2% to 7% of ALL air passengers develop some form of blood clots during flights, though most clots dissipate without causing complications.
A blood clot in the leg is called deep vein thrombosis and is often shortened to DVT.
As they form in the veins and arteries, blood clots can move around the body with the blood flow. If a clot reaches or forms in the lungs it is called a pulmonary embolism, and can cause pain, fainting and even death.
Blood clots in the heart can lead to heart failure and death.
The root cause is a lack of exercise and movement, which allows your blood to stagnate, forming clots. To counteract that, you should exercise when you can.
Though everyone is at risk, it has been seen that various factors are a useful guide to your risk of suffering from DVT. For example, being unusually tall. short or fat will increase your risk of suffering from blood clots. The risk increases if you are pregnant, have heart disease, or are taking hormones in HRT or birth-control pill format, so you should talk to your doctor before flying (or travelling a long way by car or coach). The highest risk group are those who have had a stroke, a major operation or are known to have blood-clotting problems Anyone in this group should always talk to their doctor before flying.
Even though a clot has formed during a flight, there may be no symptoms until a day or several days later.
Early symptoms can be mistaken as cramp! The symptoms of DVT are described below. You may suffer several or all of these symptoms. If you suffer from any of these symptoms after a flight or long journey during which you were unable to move, you should seek medical advice.
- Pain in affected area.
- Swelling, tenderness and visible redness in affected area.
- Shortness of breath and a rapid heart beat.
- Possible joint pain and/or chest pain.
- Enlarged and protruding veins.
- Leg pains while standing still or walking.
- Leg pains which ease when the legs are raised.
Drink and travel do not mix. Though a little nerve-steadier may be beneficial in some cases, the consumption of alcohol in any quantity puts you at risk.
Alcoholic drinks tend to dehydrate you. Add that to the dehydrating effects of air travel and you have a problem.
Dehydration will give you a headache, make you feel ill and irritable, and the ultimate symptom is death. That is an unlikely eventuality when travelling, but feeling unwell will not make the journey pleasant.
Add to that the reduced co-ordination and subsequently limited ability to escape in an emergency and consuming alcohol becomes a pastime that sensible travellers avoid.
Usually when going on holiday we carry more valuables than we ever would normally. Apart from UK currency, holiday currency, traveller’s cheques, credit cards, holiday tickets and vouchers, we also take expensive cameras and other holiday electronics.
Some suitcases are lost, damaged, misrouted or simply broken into and rifled by dishonest and poorly supervised baggage staff. I would suggest that you shouldn’t trust your valuables to a case that will be stored in the hold. I prefer to retain all of my valuables in my carry-on baggage. That way I can keep an eye on them, but it also means that I have to remain particularly vigilant because that one bag contains everything essential to my holiday.
When we travel, everyone in the family knows which one is ‘The Bag’ and we have a system to keep an eye on it. I always carry it, but when I am going to the toilet or want to sleep on a long-haul flight another member of the family will take over as watcher of ‘The Bag’ and make sure that it is not removed or interfered with until I take over again.
Why take it?
Do you really need to take valuables with you? Is it necessary to take your best watch, your top-of-the-range digital camera and video camera? You are going on holiday! Will a cheap watch from the market be good enough? If you lose a cheap watch in the Caribbean it won’t matter so much.
If you are going on a specialist photography holiday you may need to take the digital camera and a bag full of expensive gadgets and accessories, but the average holiday snapper could do just as well with a disposable camera.
Do you really need to take a video camera with you? It’s nice to bring back the moving images to show people the majesty of Niagara Falls and the colour of the ocean in Hawaii, but analyse your use of that video camera.
The newer models are quite small, but carrying them will still cause you problems. You have to carry the extra bulk and weight and protect the expensive equipment. How much filming will you actually do? Think about it. Looking back at previous holidays, is two or ten or even twenty hours of disjointed and shaky video footage that will never be looked at again worth the hassle of carrying the video camera and bag around for two weeks?
Back home people usually find that their video images are a random sequence of mixed-quality shots. Niagara Falls yes, but with that weird guy who walked through the shot, then came back and stood in front of you to take his own picture’ You thought the sea at Hawaii was a brilliant sequence but now you view it you can see that dog relieving itself in the foreground! Why bother? Most tourist destinations, especially the photogenic onces, sell a good-quality inexpensive videotape or DVD of just the scene you want to remember.
By buying a pre-recorded video for a few pounds you will benefit from a professionally finished video, with subtitles and commentary. Better still, when the official video was filmed, they closed the area to the public. If there was a problem, they had the time to re-shoot it until it was perfect. They can wait for the absolutely perfect sunset or a beautifully framed view of dolphins leaping over native canoes – you can’t.
It you buy a video, it will have all of the images you want, and more. Many outlets have the tape running so that you can see what you are getting. If you absolutely have to have the ‘I was there’ pictures of you and the family on Mount Everest, or posing in front of the White House, then take a small stills camera Get those ‘evidence’ snaps you want, but leave the video camera at home.
Valuable items may be covered by holiday insurance, but insurance companies are beginning to challenge claims. If you want to make a claim and say you dropped your £3,000 video camera and equipment off the ferry, be prepared to prove it.
An insurance assessor told me that the insurance industry has paid out on claims for more ‘lost and stolen’ Carder watches than have ever been produced. Making a false claim is a criminal offence, and insurers are not as gullible as some people think.
Insurance companies have sophisticated monitoring systems that will identify multiple claims. If you make a £2,000 claim every time you go on holiday, you had better be really unlucky and making genuine claims. If not, you could end up in court.
The insurance companies also have investigators who will visit the shops where you allegedly purchased that diamond-encrusted cigarette box that you claim got stolen in Greece. They will check with customs and ask at your hotel if anyone ever saw you with such an item. Then they will ask the manager if you asked if you could put it or anything else valuable in the safe. They will ask the local police if the alleged crime has been reported, and find out if the local police believe you, picking up information from them and even viewing local CCTV film to see the alleged incident happening.
In short, insurance companies are investing money in systems and investigations to identify and reject false and inflated claims. They are also quite keen to make some high-profile examples to teach the public that insurance fraud is a crime.