How you can best manage your Lymphoedema
The following recommendations will help you manage your lymphedema in every day life....
AVOID HIGH TEMPERATURES
Exposing your skin to very high temperatures can damage, blister or burn the skin thus causing injury, infection or scar tissue and can worsen or aggrevate the condition, e.g. hot baths, saunas or sun burn - (use a SPF 30 sunblock). The use of rubber gloves for washing dishes or oven mitts for taking food out of the oven is highly recommended.
Tight restrictive clothing such as, high heel shoes, belts, underwear, socks etc can cause constriction and increase oedema, wear clothing that is loose, comfortable and supportive. Check that jewellery like wedding rings, watches or bracelets aren't getting too tight this is an indication of swelling of the arm or hand. Sitting crossed legged can constrict blood and lymph flow of the lower extremities. Always have your blood pressure taken on the unaffected arm if possible.
Do not carry shopping bags, luggage or other heavy weights with the affected arm.
Take care when cutting finger or toe nails, do so in good light and when you have plenty of time. If you are unable to do this yourself it would be in your best interest to find the services of a podiatrist on a regular basis to avoid injury and infection. Wear protective clothing such as long sleeve shirts, trousers, gloves and covered toed shoes or boots when doing house work and when working outside also wear a sun hat. Avoid injections including blood tests and acupuncture on the affected limb. Wear the pink medic alert band on the affected arm if in hospital to remind nursing staff of your condition.
Wear a thimble when sewing, take care handling animals, arranging flowers with thorns and wear insect repellent to a avoid insect bites.
Ladies, use an electric razor, rather than an ordinary razor or waxing to shave legs or underarms.
Diabetics, use the unaffected limb for testing blood sugar levels.
Keep the skin well moisturised and supple to avoid dry cracked skin. Treat cuts and scratches promptly, by cleaning well and applying antiseptic cream. If there is any sign of an infection e.g, redness, heat, pain and swelling, contact your GP without delay to avoid the spread of infection.
Dry well between fingers and toes after washing to prevent fungal infections.
TREATMENT FOR LYMPHOEDEMA