Traveling safely for the holiday season

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Thousands are traveling this holiday by car, train, and plane to reach loved ones. Anyone traveling more than four hours could be at risk for blood clots, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Whether we're rushing to a flight, or racing to the train, we're often standing on our feet before kicking back and taking a seat for travel.

But sitting down for too long could be a health risk, especially for blood clots.

"Elderly patients are more prone to get blood clots, patients that are obese if a patient has had a history of blood clots, that also puts them at risk. Patients who take oral contraceptives for pregnancy prevention or those who take hormone therapy as well are at risk because of the hormonal risk of those medications," says Dr. Raju Ashish of Carilion Clinic.

If you or a family member falls into those categories, doctors say keep a look out for key signs that signal a blood clot or deep vein thrombosis.

"Swelling, skin changes, and pain are things to look for when talking deep vein thrombosis," Ashish says. "The main thing we worry about DVT is the clot breaking off and going to the lung and then you have chest pain and shortness of breath. Those are things I would seek medical attention for."

Even with potential dangers, there are preventative measures.

"I always tell my patients the heart pumps the blood to the toes by movement and exercise. So if you are stuck on a long flight or car ride, pump your legs for 15 minutes to get blood back," Ashish advises.

Also, if you have a layover don't sit -- walk around, get moving, and stay hydrated.

We spoke with Amtrak and the company takes pride in the space given to passengers who need it.

"Passengers can walk to the cafe car to purchase food and beverage, so we offer the ability to move around, no matter the length of the trip.", Kimberly Woods of Amtrak said.

So however you choose to ride, get there safely!