How to holiday with varicose veins

Vanessa Livingstone, who is the lead nurse at UK Vein Clinic, shares her expert advice on how to look after your veins this Summer – whether you’re jetting off on holiday or just chilling at your local beach

With Summer around the corner, now is the best time to understand how to care of your legs while travelling or basking in the heat – to give you back your confidence to shine, especially if you’re put off travelling due to any vein issues.

Jetting off to another country can be daunting if you suffer with your veins— even long train or car journeys to your favourite staycation destination can be detrimental to vein health.

There are so many factors to consider that it could put you off booking your next destination.


5 handy tips to enjoy a stress-free holiday

Packing

All good holidays start with a must-pack list! If you suffer when it comes to veins, compression socks should be at the top of your list.

They are an essential part of any long-haul flight – particularly those over four hours.

Not only can they reduce the risk of developing DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) while travelling, they can also help to minimise post-flight swelling – which is no way to start off your holiday.

Elevating your legs during a long journey can help to alleviate any pressure that might have occurred mid-flight or after a long day on your feet exploring, so bundle up your favourite beach towel for extra support while you enjoy lounging by the pool or chilling on the balcony with your go-to holiday book.

Opting for more loosely fitted clothing – even down to your underwear is advised.

Especially in the air as these items aren’t just comfy, they also limit your circulation which is vital on any flight over two hours in length.

Your legs will thank you later for choosing comfort over style, thankfully comfort is at the height of fashion in any airport.

Checking In

It’s important to check in on any get away – flights, hotel … GP?

The last might sound odd, however, if you’re concerned on whether you should fly or believe flying could put you at risk of developing DVT it’s always best to check with your doctor.

In most cases, it’s not dangerous to fly with varicose veins, as the chance of developing a blood clot is low as long as you stick to these useful tips.

However, those who suffer from previous DVT, or a blood clotting disorder, are more at risk so it’s always best to check with a healthcare professional ahead of your getaway.

They may recommend that you don’t fly or they could advise you on the best ways to help you travel safely, providing guidance on post-flight care or ways to ease discomfort abroad.

They might even prescribe blood thinners to reduce any risks in-flight.

Just make sure you check, as flying with DVT can be life-threatening and no holiday is worth that risk.

It’s always best to consult a GP or specialist if you’re jetting off and aren’t too sure about your vein health, it will allow you to sip on your piña colada and embrace the sunshine with peace of mind!

Travel

Surprisingly, yes, you can fly if you suffer with poor veins!

However, if you’ve got a long flight ahead wearing compression stockings are essential, as they provide that much needed support to help increase blood flow and reduce the risk of developing DVT.

If you’ve got a family history of varicose veins or DVT, wearing compression socks are a perfect way to decrease your risks in the future.

DVT has a higher rate if you’re overweight, a smoker or pregnant so it’s always wise to speak to a healthcare professional before you set off!

A handy way to keep the blood circulating in your legs is taking breaks to walk on the plane, as long as you’re staying hydrated those trips to the loo will make sure you’re moving – but make sure you’re doing so when the seat-belt light is off.

For the times you can’t get up to stretch and the sudoku isn’t making sense try to incorporate mini exercises, such as raising your legs in your seat or foot flexes, which are a great way to keep the blood flowing to your calf muscle, which is like your second heart – ideal if you’re seated for long periods of time.

Opting for a spacious seat or choosing an aisle seat will allow you more space to stretch out, some airlines can supply seats for such needs so why not give them a call?

Sun Care

We all love to soak up the sun in the summertime, yet the sun can cause spider veins, also known as thread veins due to the sun breaking down the collagen under the skin, which cause blood vessels to pop up around your face.

It’s best to avoid the sun between 10AM till 4PM when the sun is at its hottest and you’re more likely to burn.

However, if you’ve booked your getaway to boost your vitamin D levels, make sure that you stay safe in the sun by avoiding the hottest part of the day (10am – 4pm), wear a minimum 30SPF sunscreen and choose clothing and a large-brimmed hat to offer some protection from the sun’s rays.

Don’t forget to protect your eyes with sunglasses that guarantee UV400 protection.

Remember, if your skin starts to redden or burn, take cover – you can still have fun in the shade!

Do bear in mind if you’ve recently received any type of vein treatment you should definitely invest in a higher SPF and limit your sun exposure as much as possible.

Hydration

Drinking water has many health benefits, staying hydrated is not only a must when you’re lounging at the beach for prolonged periods of time, it also helps to thin your blood making it easier for your body to get it to the right places.

Getting enough water will help to improve blood flow, which will maintain muscle strength, supporting your veins.

Avoid dehydration by carrying a water bottle on your excursions, as dehydration can lead to blood clots, along with other problems which you don’t need on your annual vacation.

If you suffer with a vascular problem that could spoil your Summer, make sure you get yourself checked out, booking a consultation with UK Vein Clinic is simple and will get you that step closer to a care-free holiday!

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