Should I take aspirin when I fly?

Dr Mark Porter / 30 August 2017 ( 25 November 2019 )

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.

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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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