It's not just air passengers at risk. It's the same for any traveller who sits immobile for more than four hours, whether on a bus, a train or in a car.
Both conditions can be treated, but the sufferer needs to act quickly. Symptoms of DVT are pain, tenderness or swelling in the affected area, usually the lower leg, while symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include chest pains and breathing difficulties.
The risk is increased if the passenger is obese, or is very tall or very short, uses oral contraceptives, or has a blood disorder that increases clotting.
The WHO stresses that the risk is small, and is likely to affect just one in 6000 passengers who regularly travel more than four hours each time. Even so, passengers can reduce the risk further by wearing loose clothing, and by exercising the calf muscles with up-and-down movements of the feet at the ankle joints.
(Source: World Health Organization website).
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