Should I take aspirin when I fly?

Dr Mark Porter / 30 August 2017

Dr Mark Porter explains how to reduce your risk of DVT on a long flight.



Q: We are due to fly to New York next month and I have read that swallowing an aspirin before take-off reduces the risk of blood clots. Is that true?

A: The risk of an otherwise healthy person developing a serious complication from a deep vein thrombosis caused by a single long-haul flight (more than four hours) is much smaller than most people think, at around one in 6,000.

The National Institute for Health and Care excellence (NICE) specifically advises against taking aspirin (unless already prescribed), as it believes the risk of a bleed outweighs any benefits.

Do stretch your legs regularly and consider wearing compression stockings, but get them properly fitted at a pharmacy. I would avoid flight socks based solely on your shoe size as we all have different shaped ankles and calves.

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