Traveling by air can be difficult these days. There are long security lines, flight delays and lengthy wait times. Traveling by plane can increase your chance of getting a dangerous bloodclot. You are more likely to develop a clot if you travel longer.

What is a blood-clot? To stop bleeding, blood clots form when platelets and proteins are coiled up in a blood vessel. Even if there is no injury, blood vessels can sometimes become clots if blood flow is restricted. Unnecessary blood clots can form in major veins, most commonly in the leg. This is known as “deep-vein thrombosis”(DVT).

Most often, blood clots dissolve on their own. Sometimes, however, a bloodclot can travel from one leg to another and lodge in the lungs, blocking blood flow. A life-threatening condition, a blood clot is known as a “pulmonary embolism”(PE) should be treated immediately.

“It is estimated that more Americans die each year from pulmonary embolism than breast cancer, HIV disease and motor vehicle crashes combined,”Nancy Berliner, M.D. President of the American Society of Hematology. “The good news is that blood clots are highly preventable if you recognize the risk factors and take simple steps to promote good circulation.”

Signs of a blood clot include reddening or sudden pain, unusually warm skin, swelling, and swelling in the ankle, leg, or calf. Shortness of breath and chest pain are signs of PE. These symptoms should be reported to a doctor immediately.

To prevent blood clots while flying, there are simple steps that anyone can take. These tips are provided by the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

– Take a few minutes to walk around the plane every few hour.

Drink plenty of fluids

Wear loose clothes

Avoid drinking alcohol during and before travel.

To save leg space, store your carry-on luggage high up.

Clots are more common in women who use oral contraceptives than in those who smoke, older people, and smokers. Visit the ASH Web site for more information