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OPERATIONS

Business Travelers Beware

Don't want to land in the hospital? Here's what not to do on your next business flight.
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The latest prescription for frequent business travelers: No window seats—doctor's orders. According to a recent study from the Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, passengers in the window or middle seats are more likely to have blood clots than those seated near the aisle.

Researchers found that three out of four cases of deep-vein thrombosis, the type of clotting that often strikes the leg veins, occurred in passengers who were not moving enough and most of those afflicted were in non-aisle seats.

"If you are seated in an aisle seat, you are more likely to get up and move about the cabin," says Mark Gendreau, who led the study. He advises that frequent travelers select the aisle seat whenever possible especially for longer trips. Gendreau also suggests that regular travelers get tested for thrombophilia, a condition that makes this type of clotting much more likely.

The average age for any in-flight medical events is 44 years old for men and 49 for women, according to the study. While the most frequent incident is fainting, the most serious issues are cardiac, neurological, and respiratory.

To stay well in the air, Gendreau suggests:

  1. Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol consumption
  2. Washing hands frequently
  3. Keeping hydrated

And don't bother bumping up to a pricier seat for medical reasons, he says, because health risks for passengers in first-class are the same for those flying economy.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2009




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