Dr Carrie Jose provides four tips to avoid neck and back pain when traveling

Memorial Day weekend is the “unofficial” start of summer – and AAA estimates that 39.2 million people will travel this weekend. That’s 8.3% more than last year, and it’s going to mean the exacerbation of neck and back pain for a lot of folks out there – especially the over 40 crowd. 

So why does traveling wreak such havoc on our spines?  

Road trips, planes and trains typically involve lots of sitting and driving, which necks and backs just don’t like when done frequently and for prolonged periods. You’re typically off your routine when you travel, and sleep on surfaces you’re not accustomed to.  Any one of these things – but especially when combined together – can flare up old patterns of neck and back pain. 

The good news is there are lots of things you can do when traveling to ease neck and back pain.

Here are four of my top traveling tips: 

Use the 30-minute rule 

The biggest strain on your body while traveling is undoubtedly the prolonged periods of sitting – often in cramped spaces. Our bodies are made to move continuously throughout the day. Whenever possible, getting out of your seat often is critical for keeping your neck and back healthy and mobile. Motion is lotion. And one of the best things you can do for your neck and back is to interrupt any prolonged posture – especially sitting – once every 30 min. If you’re unable to actually stand for a few seconds, then try arching your back or stretching your arms up over your head while sitting. Do a few neck rolls and chin tucks to stretch your spine. The more you move, the better your spine is going to feel.  

Use a lumbar roll 

Our spine is made up of distinct curves for a very good reason. They are designed to balance forces and sustain shock – and it’s best if you can maintain them. When you sit, the curve in your lower back (lumbar spine) decreases, or sometimes disappears all together, when not supported. While it’s perfectly acceptable to sit like this for small increments of time, it will start to cause problems after several hours. Prolonged curvature of your low back puts unwanted stress on the discs, ligaments, and muscles in your spine. Your neck also responds to this posture by assuming a position we call “forward head”. This can give you headaches, neck pain, and cause extra tension to occur in your mid back and upper shoulders. One of the best things you can do is use a cylindrical lumbar roll to help maintain the natural curve in your low back. If you’re driving, the lumbar support in your seat usually isn’t enough. Take a small towel roll, sweatshirt, or pillow and place it at the small of your back any time you’re sitting. You’ll find it’s easier to maintain the natural curves in your spine – and you’ll have a lot less strain on your neck and back. 

Bring your own pillow 

Sleeping on surfaces we’re not accustomed to can not only ruin a vacation but set us up for unwanted neck and back pain. If possible – bring your favorite pillow from home – or ask for extra pillows wherever you’re staying. If a mattress is too firm for you – you can use pillows to cushion areas of your body like hips and shoulders so that you don’t wake up sore. Conversely, if a mattress is too soft, you can use extra pillows to build up the surface under your waist if you’re a side sleeper, under the small of your back if you’re a back sleeper, and under your belly if you’re a stomach sleeper. Lastly, if a pillow is too fluffy or too flat – your neck will end up paying for it. When you’re sleeping – the goal is to position yourself in a way that allows your spine to stay in neutral alignment. You don’t want your head tilted down or up – it’s the fastest way to stir up an old neck injury or wake up with a tension headache. 

Extend instead of bend 

Did you know that the average person bends or flexes forward between three and five thousand times per day? When you’re traveling – you’re going to be on the upper end of that metric. Our spines crave balance. And because of the disproportionate amount of time we spend bent over – we need to make a concerted effort to move our spines in the opposite direction. When you’re traveling – look for opportunities to be upright and mobile. Walking is an excellent, therapeutic activity for your spine – plus – it’s a great way to see the sights wherever you’re going. When you’re practicing the 30 min rule, give your back and neck a nice stretch backwards each time you stand to interrupt your sitting. But probably more important than what you do during travel is what you do when you’re back home. Be cautious when jumping back into your typical gym or exercise routine. All the sitting and bending that comes with travel makes your spine vulnerable for injury. It’s very common to get injured a week or two after you’re home – seemingly “out of nowhere”. 

I hope at least one of these tips helps you to have less neck and back pain on your next travel excursion – so that you can spend time enjoying where you’re going versus worrying about an aching neck or back. 

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To get in touch, or reserve a seat in her upcoming Masterclass for Neck and Shoulder Pain sufferers, email [email protected], or call 603-605-0402.

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8 tips I wish I knew before traveling on my own to Egypt

8 tips I wish I knew before traveling on my own to Egypt

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Expert Tips for How To Be Healthy While Traveling from an RD

This Memorial Day Weekend, 39 million people are expected to travel, making it the highest travel weekend for the official start of summer since 2019, or pre-pandemic times. Most of us also want to eat healthy while on the road or in the air, and we need strategies to stick to our best exercise and diet routines while navigating the food court at the airport or the snack shack or gas station quick-stop.

Here, Keri Glassman, RD and founder of the Nutritious Life, shares her best tips for staying healthy on the road, in the air, and at all points in between.

Healthy Travel Tip 1. Stay Hydrated. Bring a 32-Ounce Water Bottle

First of all, you need to stay hydrated, Glassman says. So instead of thinking “don’t forget to pack my running shoes,” which are also an important piece of equipment, do think:I need my oversized water bottle. Just by carrying a 32 ounce reusable bottle, Glassman says, you can be sure to fill it up before or after you get through security where the TSA check may require you to toss any liquids.

Try to drink at least two full bottles of water if you’re flying, which can be dehydrating in the controlled air, so fill up that 32 ounces to get at least 64 ounces, and aim to do that twice a day, Glassman says.

For how much water to drink in a day, calculate half your weight in ounces. If the goal is to lose weight, then drink even more water, since studies have shown that drinking water is a way to stay full and not mistake thirst for hunger.

Bring that water bottle with you and keep it refilled. When going thru TSA fill it up after you get through the security. If you have 32 ounce bottle fill it at least twice a day to get your 64 ounces.

Water not your favorite beverage? Then make a healthy (unsweetened) tea and bring that, Glassman suggests. “I tell people bring your favorite teas with you. I like Traditional Medicinal Teas. You can pack them in your carry on and they take up no space. They make different teas and each one has a benefit that can be helpful on the road, especially the Nighty Night Extras Tea, since it has valerian root which helps mellow you out, so you can get sleep even away from your bed.”

Healthy Travel Tip 2: Bring Healthy Snacks with you in Individual Packages

“Bring nonperishable snacks on the plane and the best way to do this is to make your own individual snack packs,” Glassman suggests.

  • Snacking Olives: Now days you can also buy healthy snacks in nonperishable packaging, like Freestyle Snacks. Look for pitted olives, and enjoy knowing that olives are high in heart-healthy Omega-3s, she adds.
  • Nut Butters: Yes, you can bring a small package through security. Look for Justines, Rx Bars and other individual nut butters, she says. Add a small stack of Nut & Seed crackers, or any healthy whole grain crackers.
  • Whole Fruit: Bring a single banana, which you can generally find at any hotel restaurant, to go with the nut butters, since it’s a great snack packed with fiber and potassium. Other fruit that travels well are apples, oranges, or anything with a peel.
  • Dried Fruit or Freeze Dried Fruit: Look for no added sugar and also no added sulfur dioxide, which is sometimes used as a preservative. It can cause headaches in many people.
  • Small Packages of Nuts: Buy these or you can make your mixture before you go. Add almonds, pistachios, cashews and walnuts which each are high in fiber and antioxidants
  • Dried Chickpeas: A protein-packed crunchy snack are dried chickpea snacks. You can buy them in flavors like BBQ or other, Vienna makes them. Or it’s easy to make roasted chickpeas. Simply rinse and dry your chickpeas on a paper towel, then spread evenly on a sheet pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake at 425 for 25 minutes.
  • Beet Chips, Kale Chips: You can make your own healthier kale chips before leaving home, and avoid the unhealthy potato chips or snack packs they hand out on the plane. If you are stuck buying, check the quality of the oil on the package. Avoid saturated fats when possible.
  • Protein Bars: There are so many good protein bars on the market, check out this list of snack bars that are healthy and taste great. Look for those that are lowest in added sugar or are sweetened naturally with dates or figs.

“If you get stuck in an airport or on the tarmac waiting for a gate to open, you can make a makeshift meal with chickpeas and olives and a piece of fruit, and it’s almost a real meal,” Glassman says.

Healthy Travel Tip 3: Plan Ahead and look at Restaurants you have access to

“The best way to eat healthy anywhere is to know that you are going out, so look for restaurants that serve plant-based or healthy options and make sure you know what is available,” Glassman suggests.

Find a restaurant you want on Happy Cow, which lists all the vegetarian or vegan options near your destination, and check The Beet City Guides, which include restaurant reviews in dozens of US cities that are chock-a-block with healthy plant-based restaurants.

She suggests that if you are prone to having digestive issues while traveling you include Traditional Medicinals’ Smooth Move tea. “Sometimes your GI system gets thrown off  when you travel, and you can get constipated so this tea acts as an organic laxative and helps relieve occasional constipation,” Glassman says, “so it’s good to bring with you and use as needed.”

Healthy Travel Tip 4: Stick to Your Routine and Be as Consistent as Possible

There are four pillars of a healthy life, that I teach at Nutritiouslife.com. One is eating healthy and being mindful of food choices, and the another is daily exercise. A third is sleep and a fourth is stress relief. If you know you are going to be someplace stressful, like with family, take time to meditate every morning, even before you get out of bed.

“Of course on vacation some things are going to give. All the pillars don’t have to be perfect, she reminds us. but do the best you can. You don’t have to to all of those things (like eat healthy) as well on vacation as you do at home — but you want to keep as consistent as possible.

If you are in Italy, for instance, you are going to enjoy the local fare, because it’s delicious. But then you’ll probably want to make sure you are getting in all your steps, or maybe even more,” she tells us.

“If you’re in the mountains you’re hopefully getting out and hiking but you may also be enjoying more alcohol at night with friends. It’s a balance, but generally keep your habits as consistently healthy as possible,” for a healthy, safe and enjoyable holiday.

Bottom Line: You Can Stay Healthy While Traveling With a Little Planning Ahead

When you hit the road or head to the airport, bring your large water bottle and a few healthy snacks in order to stick to your best efforts to be healthy while traveling, says Keri Glassman, RD. Try to stay as consistent as possible and you’ll have a healthy, happy holiday weekend.

For more nutrition advice, check out Ask the Expert articles on The Beet, where doctors, nutritionists and other expert professionals share helpful tips on how to stay healthy and eat more plant-based.

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Three Packing Tips For Smooth Traveling On Your Next Vacation | On Air with Ryan Seacrest

Summer is around the corner which means summer vacation! But with vacation comes packing and we all know packing can be the worst.

Ryan Seacrest shared some tips on-air that could help your next trip go more smoothly.


Watch the above video for more! Will these tips be helpful for your next vacation?!

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Prepare for sticker shock if you are traveling this summer

DALLAS (AP) — Airlines and tourist destinations are expecting monster crowds this summer as travel restrictions ease and pandemic fatigue overcomes lingering fear of contracting COVID-19 during travel.

Many forecasters believe the number of travelers will match or even exceed levels in the good-old, pre-pandemic days. However, airlines have thousands fewer employees than they did in 2019, and that has at times contributed to widespread flight cancellations.

People who are only now booking travel for the summer are experiencing the sticker shock.

Domestic airline fares for summer are averaging more than $400 a round trip, 24% higher than this time in 2019, before the pandemic, and a whopping 45% higher than a year ago, according to travel-data firm Hopper.

“The time to have gotten cheap summer flights was probably three or four months ago,” says Scott Keyes, who runs the Scott’s Cheap Flights site.

Internationally, fares are also up from 2019, but only 10%. Prices to Europe are about 5% cheaper than before the pandemic — $868 for the average round trip, according to Hopper. Keyes said Europe is the best travel bargain out there.

Steve Nelson of Mansfield, Texas, was standing in line this week at a security checkpoint in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, ready to board a flight to Nice, France, with plans to attend a Formula One race in Monaco.

“I decided it’s time to work on my bucket list,” Nelson said. “I hadn’t even considered Monaco until this year.”

Although many countries have eased rules for travel, there are still restrictions in place that add to the hassle factor. Notably, the United States still requires a negative COVID-19 test within a day of flying to the country.

“We only realized that a couple days before coming here. We kind of panicked to find a place to get tested,” said Jonny Dawe, a software engineer from Bath, England, who was in Dallas for a conference — his first major trip since the pandemic started. “You have to check all the testing requirements for the countries you are visiting, and you have to worry about contracting the virus.”

Online spending on U.S. flights eased in April after a torrid March, but it’s still up 23% from spring 2019 mostly because of higher prices, according to Adobe Analytics.

Airlines blame the steeper fares on jet fuel roughly doubling in price over 2019. It’s more than that, however. The number of flights has not returned to pre-pandemic levels even though demand for travel is surging.

“We have more travelers looking to book fewer seats, and each of those seats is going to be more expensive for airlines to fly this summer because of jet fuel,” says Hopper economist Hayley Berg.

When travelers reach their destination, they will be greeted with hotel rates that are up about one-third from last year. Hotels are filling up faster, too. Hotel companies blame the higher prices on increasing cost for supplies as well as workers in a tight labor market.

Rental cars were hard to find and very expensive last summer, but that seems to have eased as the rental companies rebuild their fleets. The nationwide average price is currently around $70 a day, according to Hopper.

Jonathan Weinberg, founder of a rental car shopping site called AutoSlash, said prices and availability of vehicles will be very uneven. It won’t be as bad as last summer, but prices for vehicles will still be “way above average, if you can even find one,” in Hawaii, Alaska and near destinations such as national parks.

Even if you drive your own car, it’ll still be pricey. The national average for regular gasoline hit $4.60 a gallon on Thursday — more than $6 in California. Those prices have some people considering staying home.

“You don’t really get used to $6 gas,” said Juliet Ripley of San Diego as she paid $46.38 to put 7.1 gallons in her Honda Civic. The single mom of two has no summer vacation plans other than an occasional trip to a nearby beach.

For those determined to travel, however, it is an open question whether airlines, airports, hotels and other travel businesses will be able to handle them.

More than 2.1 million people a day on average are boarding planes in the United States, about 90% of 2019 levels and a number that is sure to grow by several hundred thousand a day by July.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has tapped nearly 1,000 checkpoint screeners who can move from one airport to another, depending on where they are needed most.

“We are as ready as we possibly can be,” says TSA chief David Pekoske.

Airlines that paid employees to quit when travel collapsed in 2020 are now scrambling to hire enough pilots, flight attendants and other workers. The largest four U.S. airlines — American, Delta, United and Southwest — together had roughly 36,000 fewer employees at the start of 2022 than before the pandemic, a drop of nearly 10%, despite aggressive hiring that started last year.

Pilots are in particularly short supply at smaller regional airlines that operate nearly half of all U.S. flights under names like American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express.

Airlines are trimming summer schedules to avoid overloading their staffs and canceling flights at the last minute. This week, Delta cut about 100 flights a day, or 2%, from its July schedule, and more than 150 flights a day on average, or 3%, in August. Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue previously reduced summer flights.

Cancellations aren’t limited to the U.S. In the United Kingdom, easyJet and British Airways scrubbed many flights this spring because of staffing shortages.

Air travel within Europe is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels this summer, although visitors from outside the region will likely be down 30% from 2019, according to a new report from the European Travel Commission. The group doesn’t expect international travel to return to normal until 2025.

Russia’s war in Ukraine does not appear to be hurting bookings to most of Europe, according to travel experts, but it will reduce the number of Russian and Ukrainian travelers, whose favorite destinations include Cyprus, Montenegro, Latvia, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania, the commission said. Russian tourists tend to be big spenders, so their absence will hurt tourism economies in those destinations.

Also largely missing: Chinese tourists, the world’s largest travel spenders, who remain largely restricted by their government’s “zero-COVID” strategy. Some European destinations report that the number of Chinese tourists is down by more than 90% from 2019.


Kelvin Chan in London and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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ALEA Safety Tips for Memorial Day Weekend Traveling

As we approach Memorial Day Weekend, you may be planning on going out on the water or traveling somewhere, but law enforcement reminds you safety needs to come first.

Alabama State Troops are stressing travel safety for this weekend and gave some tips on what ‘not’ to do while operating a vehicle.

Memorial Day Weekend is known for traveling and spending time with loved ones, but operating a vehicle, whether it’s on the water or the highway, still has it’s dangers.Screen Shot 2022 05 25 At 51656 Pm

Driving a boat is still just as dangerous as driving a car, especially if you are under the influence. Drinking alcohol and driving a boat is extremely dangerous, not just for the driver but also for the passengers. The rising heat also speeds up alcohol in the body and you will feel more drunk after only having a few drinks.

“Drinking or operating a vehicle impaired just doesn’t work,” stated ALEA’s Sgt. Jeremy Burkett. “We’re going to have zero tolerance for that. If we see you out there on the waterway operating a vessel impaired we’re going to pull you over, we’re going do the field sobriety test, and you’re going to jail.”

The holiday weekend also means even more people on the water and roadways, so Alabama State Troopers want drivers to be mindful of each other and to give each other a lot of space while traveling. Especially for vehicles that are towing since they will not have a completely clear view of what is behind them.

Watch your speed and be cautious of other drivers speeding or driving erratically.

“Once you get out here, don’t be in a hurry to get nowhere,” stated ALEA’s Senior Trooper Jonathan Walker. “Take your time; slow down a little bit. You’re not going be late for work because nobody works on the water out here so just enjoy the weather, enjoy the day, enjoy the water, and just take your time.”

State Troopers want everyone on the water to wear a life jacket, even if you do not plan to get in the water. This will insure your safety in case of falling off the boat. Wear a seat belt while in a car. You are more likely to survive a car crash with a seat belt than without it.

To insure a fun filled weekend, remember: don’t drink and drive, be mindful of other drivers, and be cautious.

State Troopers will be out all weekend long on the water and the roads to make sure everybody stays safe during the holiday weekend.

To learn more about driving and boating safety, visit ALEA’s website to learn more about the 101 days of safety.

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Three Packing Tips For Smooth Traveling On Your Next Vacation | KIIS FM

Summer is around the corner which means summer vacation! But with vacation comes packing and we all know packing can be the worst.

Ryan Seacrest shared some tips on-air that could help your next trip go more smoothly.


Listen for more:

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Citizen tip leads to tearful reunion between stolen dog and traveling nurse

A 6-year-old Australian shepherd and the nurse from Florida who owns her are back together Tuesday.

Mason Gray’s tan 1970s camper with her dog Bexley inside it was stolen over the weekend from the 4400 block of Sunset Drive, near Hoover Street, in Los Feliz.

‘”I’m emotionally exhausted. It’s been a roller coaster but I’m so happy to have her back,” said Gray, who works at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and traveled with Bexley in the camper from Florida, when she learned Bexley had been found.

Surveillance footage showed a black truck driving away with the camper on Sunday.

Police located the camper in South Los Angeles on Sunday and arrested one person who was with the camper, but they don’t believe the person was responsible for the theft, CBS 2 reported.

Bexley  and Gray shared a tearful reunion at the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Community Police Station late Monday night.

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Most Americans Want People to Mask Up While Traveling

  • A majority of Americans in May said travelers should still be required to wear a face mask on airplanes and other public transit.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week that people in communities at high risk should go back to wearing masks in indoor public spaces, including on public transportation.
  • Support for a mask mandate while traveling is largely split along political lines in the U.S.

As Americans head into the summer travel season, coronavirus cases — and hospitalizations somewhat — are rising in many parts of the country, especially in the Northeast.

This shift prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week to advise people in communities at high risk to go back to wearing masks in indoor public spaces, including on public transportation.

Face masks, though, are still optional in most places, even those with rising case numbers.

That leaves travelers to decide for themselves whether to don a mask while riding in an airplane, train, subway, or taxi.

While some Americans will welcome a mask-free summer, a Pew Research Center survey this month found that a majority of Americans think masks should still be required on airplanes and other forms of public transportation, where physical distancing is all but impossible.

In April, a federal judge in Florida struck down the CDC’s mask mandate for public transportation, which had been in place since January 2021.

The Department of Justice is appealing that decision after the CDC said the mask rule is “well within [its] legal authority to protect public health.”

Even after the federal mask mandate was dropped, 57 percent of Americans say travelers should wear a face mask while traveling on airplanes and other public transportation, according to Pew.

However, Americans’ support of face masks is split largely along party and similar lines.

Eighty percent of Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic party say passengers on airplanes, and other public transportation should be required to masks.

In contrast, only 29 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say masks should be required.

Support for mandatory masks on public transportation is higher among those who had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (66 percent) compared to the unvaccinated (25 percent)

In addition, people who are “very” or “somewhat” concerned that they will get the coronavirus and require hospitalization are more likely to be in favor of mask policies for public transportation.

Overall, mask use in the United States has declined since earlier in the pandemic.

Thirty percent of Americans say they have worn a mask “all or most of the time” over the past month when in stores or other businesses, according to the survey.

This is down from higher than 80 percent before the vaccines were available.

More Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents report frequent mask use in businesses (42 percent), compared to Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (14 percent).

Despite the decline in overall mask use, travel experts say many travelers are still wearing masks on flights.

“We see a fairly even distribution amongst clients who still prefer to mask, particularly those who do so in crowded or confined spaces such as airplanes and airports,” said McLean Robbins, a luxury travel advisor and owner of Lily Pond Luxury in Vienna, Virginia.

“Many clientele are still opting to mask, while others enjoy the flexibility to do so at their personal choice, given the specific situation or their own health conditions,” she added.

However, mask use on some flights has been lower.

Keri Baugh, a blogger at Bon Voyage With Kids, said that there were very few passengers wearing a mask on a recent flight from Boston to Memphis.

“I was actually surprised,” she said.

“That said, as the [COVID] numbers have started to go back up, I have personally heard of some [travelers] being more cautious,” she added.

Baugh said families with kids too young to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have a family member who is at risk of severe illness might be more likely to wear a mask on a flight.

As of May 18, over 32 percent of Americans live in a county with a medium or high COVID-19 community risk level, CDC director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said Wednesday at a White House COVID-19 press briefing.

The CDC recommends that everyone in high-risk areas wear a mask in indoor public settings; those in medium-risk areas should consider wearing a mask based on their risk level.

However, “in [areas with] any COVID-19 community [risk] levels, individuals may always choose to wear a mask to protect themselves from infection,” said Walensky.

Throughout the pandemic, though, mask use has veered beyond just being a personal decision, with people from both sides weighing in on the choices of others.

The Pew survey shows that Americans are more tolerant of others who choose not to wear a mask in public.

Sixty-three percent of Americans say it bothers them “not too much” or “not at all” when people around them in public places don’t wear masks.

In contrast, 72 percent of Americans in November 2020 said they were bothered “some” or “a lot” by people not wearing masks. This was before the COVID-19 vaccines had been rolled out to the public.

Airlines have seen their fair share of disagreements over face masks, with some disputes descending reportedly into mid-flight brawls.

Baugh has been fortunate enough not to experience that kind of tension about masks while on a flight.

“On my most recent flight, the pilot asked everyone to respect everyone’s mask choice, regardless if that choice differed from their own,” she said, “And, from where I was sitting, that seemed to be the case.”

As more Americans take to the skies, rails, and roads this summer — with some masked and some unmasked — heeding this pilot’s advice could help make this a less stressful travel season.

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Traveling? Take these steps to prevent blood clots during your summer travels – News

Anyone traveling more than four hours by air, car or bus can be at risk for blood clots. The director of the UAB Vein Center provides tips on how to prevent blood clots when traveling.

DVT Travel StreamAnyone traveling more than four hours by air, car or bus can be at risk for blood clots. The director of the UAB Vein Center provides tips on how to prevent blood clots when traveling.No one wants to think about potential health issues when traveling, but unfortunately, long car rides and flights can raise travelers’ risk of getting blood clots. With summer travels around the corner, Marc Passman, M.D., professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy and director of the UAB Vein Program and UAB Vein Clinic, encourages everyone to assess their risk of blood clots and take preventive steps during their summer travels this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 900,000 people are affected by blood clots each year, and 100,000 of those affected die as a result. The most common type of blood clot is called a deep vein thrombosis, which occurs when there is a clot that forms within the deep veins of the body typically located in the legs, thighs or pelvis. If a clot breaks loose and travels toward the lungs, it could result in a life-threatening condition known as a pulmonary embolism, meaning that one or more of the arteries in the lungs are blocked.

Know the risks

A person’s risk of DVT can increase when they sit still on trips for four hours or more. Sitting for long periods of time slows blood flow in the veins of the legs.

Most people who develop a DVT during travel have some of these risk factors:

  • A previous blood clot
  • Family history of blood clots
  • A clotting disorder
  • A recent surgery, hospitalization or injury
  • The use of birth control containing estrogen
  • Receiving hormone replacement therapy
  • Current or recent pregnancy
  • Older age 

“If you have any risk factors for DVT, talk to your doctor about precautions you can take prior to long-distance travel,” Passman said. “Some precautions include wearing compression socks or taking medications to prevent blood clots. Your doctor can help you determine which precautions are best for you.”

Know the symptoms

A DVT usually forms in a deep vein or an arm or leg. Although about half of the people affected by DVT will not develop symptoms, it is important to know the symptoms because DVT is preventable and treatable if discovered early.

Some symptoms of DVT include the following:  

  • Unexplained swelling or tenderness in the affected limb
  • Pain in the affected part of the body
  • Skin that is red and warm to the touch

A life-threatening complication of DVT is a pulmonary embolism. Seek emergency medical help if experiencing any of the following symptoms of pulmonary embolism:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Faster-than-normal heartbeat
  • Chest pain or discomfort, which usually worsens with a deep breath or coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Very low blood pressure, lightheadedness or fainting 

The diagnosis of DVT or PE requires special tests that can only be performed by a doctor.

Head shot of Dr. Marc Passman, MD (Professor, Surgery - Vascular), 2016.Marc Passman, M.D., professor in the UAB Division of Vascular Surgery and Therapy and director of the UAB Vein Program and UAB Vein Clinic.
Photography: Steve Wood
“If you are experiencing DVT symptoms, call your doctor as soon as possible,” Passman said. “If your symptoms begin to indicate that your DVT may have become a pulmonary embolism, you should seek immediate care from a doctor or hospital. Health care providers can often help your body dissolve blood clots with medicine or medical devices.”

Move around 

Sitting for long periods of time can slow blood circulation, which can increase a person’s chance of DVT. Any movement in the body can help increase blood flow, so whether travelers are in a car, plane or train, Passman recommends making a point to move around every two to three hours — preferably more often.  

Here are some tips for preventing DVT while traveling:

  • When flying or riding on a train or bus, choose an aisle seat that makes getting up and moving throughout the cabin easier.
  • Plan specific rest stops along the journey ahead of time.
  • Occasionally tighten and release leg muscles and glutes while sitting.
  • Flex toes in both directions.
  • Try raising and lowering one’s heels by keeping toes on the floor.

“DVT is a serious condition that can become life-threatening if not treated,” Passman said. “By knowing the signs and symptoms of DVT and taking precautions while traveling, you can help reduce your risk of potential health issues during your summer travels.”

Learn more about DVT and the UAB Vein Clinic here.

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