I slept the whole way on the plane from London to Australia… two days later my leg started to burn and swell. This is my warning to all travellers
A young woman has issued a warning about the importance of wearing compression socks and moving around on long-haul flights after developing a dangerous blood clot in her left leg.
Excited to move from London to Australia, Lois Chitticks, 26, slept through most of the 20-hour flight on December 31.
Two days after arriving, her left calf became swollen, ‘hot’ and felt like she had ‘pulled a muscle’.
“It felt hotter than the other leg and annoyed me so much I couldn’t sleep,” Lois told FEMAIL, describing the feeling as a ‘marble’ in her calf.
But she had no idea it was an ominous 4cm blood clot causing the irritation.
Lois Chitticks, 26, was left with a 4cm blood clot in her left leg because she did not wear compression socks and did not move around enough during a long-haul flight to Australia.
Two days after she arrived, her left calf became swollen, ‘hot’ and felt like she had pulled a muscle (Lois pictured left with her partner on the flight)
Lois’s legs: Blood clots are not always visible from the surface, so it is essential to see a doctor if symptoms persist. The chance of blood clots is greater after flying due to the long periods of immobility and reduced air pressure
The chance of blood clots is greater after flying due to the long periods of immobility and reduced air pressure. The risk is increased for those who have circulation problems, smoke, have a family history and/or use certain medications.
‘During the flight I didn’t get up at all because I was just so comfortable in my aisle seat. I got up once at the end of both flights to use the bathroom – other than that I just slept the whole time,’ she said.
While her father warned her to move around often and gave her compression socks to wear, she ignored his advice.
“I really regret it now,” she added.
After she went to the hospital, a blood test and ultrasound confirmed she had a 4 cm deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Since she is young and healthy, doctors recommended that she wait for the clot to dissolve on its own. However, she will require investigations over the next few months.
‘They said it was a major DVT and I would have to be careful for the next three to six months. I will now be prone to them in the future and will also have to wear compression socks,’ she said.
‘If the DVT doesn’t go away or move, I will have to be on blood thinners for up to a year.
‘I’m worried that it might move or that I’ll be prone to them later in life. I feel silly too because I should have only gotten up a few times!’
Lois said the DVT was more of a ‘pain than a pain’, which is worrying as the clot could have gone undetected if she hadn’t gone to hospital.
Since she is young and healthy, doctors recommend waiting for the clot to dissolve on its own and she will need to have checkups over the next few months. ‘I’m worried that it might move or that I’ll be prone to them later in life. I feel silly too because I should have only gotten up a few times!’
To warn others, Lois shared her experience in a now-viral TikTok video and detailed her symptoms.
‘Girl, I’m impressed you managed to sleep that long,’ one person said, another said: ‘At least you hit the Aussie health system.’
‘Oh gosh I’m so sorry.. hope you’re ok now,’ wrote a third.
Others admitted they also made the same mistake by not moving around often on long flights.