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Long Hours Spent Traveling This Thanksgiving Can Lead To a Major Health Problem

November 18, 2016 (Jamaica, NY) The Thanksgiving Day holiday period (November 23 to November 27) is one of the busiest times of the year for travel. According to a recent study from AAA (American Automobile Association) a projected 48.7 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home to be with the ones they love. Many people will drive; however, a significant amount of these travelers will also choose to fly.

Despite the mode of transportation, people are expected to spend an extended amount of time sitting or immobile while in transit. This can trigger health-related problems such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). It is also expected that during this peak travel season, hospitals close to major airports and highways such as Jamaica Hospital Medical Center will receive an increase in the number of patients treated for complications caused by DVT. "Due to our proximity to JFK International Airport, the Van Wyck Expressway and other major highways we are always prepared, "said the hospital's Chairman of Emergency Medicine; Geoffrey Doughlin MD.
Deep vein thrombosis, dubbed "economy class syndrome," occurs when a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the leg, obstructing the flow of blood to the heart. Clots are more likely to develop when legs are hanging down, causing blood to flow slowly and collect. Anyone flying or driving for four hours or more can be at risk for developing them.
Symptoms of DVT can be mild and may include swelling of the calf or long-term discomfort. However, symptoms can also be fatal as deep vein thrombosis can develop into a more severe, sometimes fatal condition known as pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary embolisms form when blood clots travel from the veins in the legs and eventually becomes lodged in the blood vessels going to the lungs. Symptoms include chest pains, difficulty breathing, feeling lightheaded or fainting, coughing up blood, anxiety or irregular heartbeat. If these symptoms present themselves, medical attention should be sought immediately.
Some people are more prone to developing deep vein thrombosis- related conditions than others. Those with an increased risk include people who are obese, over the age of 40, have varicose veins, a family history of blood clots, are using contraceptives such as birth control containing estrogen, have had recent surgery, hormone replacement therapy, recent severe illnesses such as pneumonia, recent cancer treatment and have limited mobility due to a leg cast.
While Jamaica Hospital is greatly experienced in treating cases of travel- related DVT, Dr. Doughlin advises preventing symptoms from occurring is always ideal and there are many steps one can take to reduce risks. While traveling during a long journey, it is recommended to wear comfortable and loose clothing, take breaks and walk around whenever you can, drink water, purchase flight socks, do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol or take sleeping pills. It also highly advised to take a walk after a long trip to get circulation going.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and Eastern Brooklyn. This 408-bed medical center is an accredited community teaching hospital with a large network of community-based ambulatory care centers. JHMC offers an array of acute inpatient, rehabilitation and mental health services, and is one of the busiest Level 1 trauma centers in New York City. The hospital provides general medical, pediatric and Ob/Gyn services. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center's mission is to serve patients and the community in a way that is second to none. For additional information, please contact Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.
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