How to lower the risks of travel after surgery 

Q. Four weeks ago, I had face, brow and neck lifts, eyelid surgery and implants in the U.S. I will be flying home to China soon. Should I be concerned about blood clots?

— Elaine, China

A. Congrats on your new, younger look. You’re a braver person than we YOU Docs to have all those procedures done at once. (Ouch!) Done together, they add up to one major surgery, which, yes, puts you at risk of forming blood clots for up to three months.

A long trip during which you can’t move around much impedes circulation in your lower body, which also increases your chance of clots. Travel-related clots often form in a deep vein of your leg or pelvis, and are called deep vein thrombosis. If a DVT breaks free and travels to your lungs, it can be fatal. Here’s how to lower your risk:

1. Move your butt. Get up every half hour to walk about the cabin. Explain why to your seatmate and the crew, so they’ll understand. Moving your leg muscles helps “pump” blood through your veins.

2. Roll and flex. If you can’t get up, roll your ankles and flex and point your toes at least 10 times every
30 minutes to activate your leg muscles.

3. Drink lots of water and no alcohol. Do not become dehydrated. It makes blood thicker and more likely to clot.

4. Wear compression stockings. They apply graduated leg pressure from the ankles up, which keeps blood
moving.

5. Wear loose clothes (no body shapers) and don’t cross your legs. Putting any kinks on lower veins inhibits circulation.

6. Ask your doc about this: Take two blood-thinning baby aspirins with a half glass of warm water one hour before the flight and daily for three days after it.

 

Q. My 8-year-old granddaughter has been on antibiotics for four years. The doctors say it prevents her once-frequent bladder infections. She hasn’t had one in a long time. Isn’t it harmful to be on antibiotics for years?

— Jim, via email

A. Your granddaughter may no longer be troubled by urinary tract infections because those germ-
killing drugs did their job about three and a half years ago.

Antibiotics are most beneficial during the first six months of treatment. That’s when a UTI is most likely to stage a comeback in infection-prone kids. If her doc didn’t check to see if the original therapy worked, it’s time to talk to another doctor. Long-term antibiotic use in children with UTIs was linked to antibiotic resistance long ago (it lets germs mutate to the point that they laugh off the antibiotic).

If this little girl has a normal urinary tract, she may be able to prevent future infections by following a few simple rules:

1. Go when she needs to go. Holding it till she’s doing the pee-pee dance outside the bathroom can cause urine to back up and allow bacteria to thrive.

2. Clean properly. Children need to be taught to wipe front to back after urinating in order to avoid carrying bacteria from the rectum to the urinary tract.

3. Avoid bubble baths and strong soaps. Both can irritate the urethra and make it painful to pee. If she tries not to go (see step 1), it increases her UTI risk.

 

Q. I just read the new edition of your book “YOU: On a Diet,” in which you emphasize eating nuts, especially walnuts, for their omega-3s. I’m allergic to nuts. What can I
substitute? — Anonymous

A. There are many ways to get your heart-and-brain-boosting omega-3s — so many, in fact, that we’re astounded by how many people get so few. Let us count the ways:

1. Cold-water fish. Wild salmon and trout are highest in omega-3s and lowest in mercury. Eat three fist-size servings a week.

2. Ground flaxseed and chia seeds. Sprinkle on yogurt, oatmeal, fruit and veggies, or drizzle flaxseed oil on salads.

3. Fortified foods. Omega-3-enriched cereals, eggs and orange juice are widely available.

4. Supplements. We strongly recommend taking an algae-based DHA omega-3 supplement. Algae is free of the toxins found in fish oil.

The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic, are authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com.

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