Learning About Your Health
Preventing Blood Clots at HomePrinter-friendly PDF of Preventing Blood Clots at HomeOpens new window (186KB)
(Download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat ReaderOpens new window)
You can help prevent blood clots if you:
- Wear loose-fitting clothes, socks, or stockings
- Raise your legs 6 inches above your heart from time to time
- Wear special stockings (called compression stockings) if your doctor prescribes them
- Do exercises your doctor gives you
- Change your position often, especially during a long trip
- Do not stand or sit for more than 1 hour at a time
- Eat less salt
- Try not to bump or hurt your legs and do not cross them
- Do not use pillows under your knees
- Raise the bottom of your bed 4 to 6 inches with blocks or books
- Take all medicines the doctor prescribes for you
You may have a blood clot if you feel:
- New swelling in your arm or leg
- Skin redness
- Soreness or pain in your arm or leg
- A warm spot on your leg
- A mild fever
A blood clot may have gone to your lungs if you suddenly have:
- A hard time breathing
- Chest pain
- A fast heartbeat
- Fainting spells
- A cough, with or without blood
References: Wittkowsky A, Zierler BK, V.T.E. Safety Toolkit Team at the University of Washington, Seattle. Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Blood Clots. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. August 2008.
Authored by the members of California Pacific Medical Center PACE (Partners Advancing Clinical Excellence) Nursing Council.
Produced by the Center for Patient and Community Education in association with the staff and physicians at California Pacific Medical Center. Last updated: Feb 2010.
Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).