Sunday, March 19, 2006

Summer Tips for Lymphedema

Spring has sprung and it won't be long before the sunny days of Summer are upon us. Here is a marvelous little article on Summer Tips for Lymphedema

Beat the Heat

Stay Cool

When indoors, stay in well air-conditioned places
Limit time spent outside between 11 am and 3 pm
Take cool or lukewarm showers vs. very cold water
Drink lots of water
Avoid salty foods
Wear light, loose, non-constricting clothing to allow for the free flow of the lymphatic system.
Do not wear items that leave indentations

Garment Care

If insurance allows, get measured for garments after the hot weather starts and after it ends. Normal seasonal changes in edema can occur.
Wash your compression garment. Sweat, body oils, lotions such as sunscreen can cause the fabric to deteriorate more quickly.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions very carefully regarding whether lotion can be applied prior to donning the garment.




Avoid putting insect repellent on skin and then wearing a compression garment over it.
Treat insect bites immediately to lessen the histamine effect.


Wear to protect from accidental scratches, poison ivy, etc.
Well fitting shoes with lymphedema in legs.
Avoid heavy backpacks.


Wear sunscreen
Avoid excessive sun exposure.



Gardening and Lawn Care

Wear gloves to protect the hands from injury when gardening.
Avoid using affected arm to start lawn mower.
Take breaks.


Wear swimming shoes if swimming in fresh water to avoid cuts and scrapes to feet.
Do put compression garment on after getting out of the water.


Take caution with extremely vigorous or contact sports.
Pace yourself.
Play for shorter periods of time.
Take breaks at regular intervals.
Wear compression garments or bandage affected limb.



Before Your Trip

If you obtain a new sleeve, wear it for one week before your trip to build up a tolerance to the sleep and evaluate the fit.
If the flight will be long, consider arranging a "stop-over" for 1-2 days on the way.
Break in new shoes prior to vacation.
Consider asking for a prescription for antibiotics in case of an infection in the arm.
Purchase some 20-30+ sunscreen (you can get sunburned through a garment).



* Consider packing two light suitcases rather than one heavy one.
* To help avoid carrying heavy bags, use the push carts at airports to help move luggage.
* Purchase a suitcase with wheels.
* Use the unaffected arm to pull your suitcase.

Hand Luggage:

* Avoid carrying your shoulder bag on the affected shoulder.
* Carry your medication with you.
* Make sure your compression garments are in good condition, carry a spare with you.

Car, Train, or Bus Travel

Car, train, and bus are worse for leg lymphedema.

Use air conditioning to avoid overheating.
When not driving, sit in the back seat to elevate your affected limb.
Take frequent breaks to get up and walk around.
Avoid long periods of driving if you are at risk for arm lymphedema.
Do exercises while in your seat.

During Travel

Keep your compression garment/bandages on until you arrive atyour hotel or destination.
Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water.

During Vacation

Avoid sunburn.
Avoid overheating
Be aware of overdoing sports that you are not used to.
Keep your limb cool and well moisturized.
Wear protective footwear on the beach to protect the skin. If you do walk barefoot on the sand, be sure to wash your feet and check for cuts and scrapes.

Permission to Use of the article can only be granted by - please contact
Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation6501 N. Sheridan Rd.Peoria, Illinois 61614309-692-8110 .

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