Doctors warn of travel risks for holiday season

The Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year.

During the six-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips, 50 miles or more away from home, increases by 54 percent, and during the Christmas and New Year's holiday period, the number rises by 23 percent.

"We travel a lot, so I guess I didn't really think of it as deep vein thrombosis because when we travel, you know, I take a baby aspirin when I get on the plane or sometimes a full aspirin," Gene Giesaking said.

Giesaking thought he was taking all of the precautions when he took a long flight that includes walking around, but that wasn't the case.

"It wasn't until I passed out because when I came to it, I was breathing like I had run a mile, but I was sitting still," he said.

Tests indicated Gene had a blood clot, the symptoms for which Dr. Penny Bowen says can be brought on by travel.

"If you've been on a long car ride or been on a long flight and you're experiencing sudden onset of shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, if these are symptoms that are new for you, especially if you have the risk factor," she said.

Dr. Bowen says with DVT, a clot forms in a person's calf or thigh and travels up to their lungs.

"So the blood clots travel to your lungs and they actually block the flow back into your lungs, and then they return into your heart and to the rest of your body," she said.

If you're traveling this holiday season, Dr. Bowen says if you smoke, are overweight, or have a family history of DVT, you can be at risk.