With Labor Day right around the corner, you’re probably itching to go out and enjoy the sunshine one last time before summer is over. Consider some of these quick tips to manage your lymphedema while on vacation:
If you’re going to travel via airplane or to higher altitudes, remember to wear your compression sleeve and glove. Wear one hour before flight, throughout flight, and one hour after flight.
As always, wear plenty of sunscreen (and not just on your affected limb)! If you’re planning a trip to the beach or pool, make sure your sunscreen is waterproof and at LEAST SPF 20. Make sure to moisturize your affected limb in conjunction with sunscreen – preferably with a paraben-free formula.
Enjoy the water! While you’re at it, do some stretching in the water as it will provide extra support for your joints. After leaving the water, dry, moisturize and wear your compression garment(s) on your affected limb.
Consider natural insect repellent to prevent insect bites on your affected limb. Insect bites are almost inevitable in the summertime, so it’s a great idea to have bacitracin and bandaids on hand to clean and cover any bites/cuts you may get. Camping or hiking? Make sure to bring a specialized first aid kit with the above listed products, along with some benadryl or hydrocortisone cream. If your doctor agrees, bring a prescription for antibiotics with you just in case infection hits.
Staying hydrated is key!
Remember to drink plenty of water, and avoid salty foods when you can. Have you considered flavoring your water with fresh fruit and herbs? Try shaking things up with one of these flavored water recipes: https://greatist.com/health/flavored-water-healthy-recipe
Avoid overheating your affected limb. Stick to lukewarm/cold showers whenever possible to prevent this from occurring. If you feel this is happening, wrap a cold wet towel around your limb and elevate it.
Check for indentations in skin of your affected limb(s) from clothing. Non-constrictive clothing will allow for more air circulation.
If you’ll be participating in sports activities, remember to pace yourself! Monitor your affected limb, if it feels tight, achy, heavy or fatigued, then take a break and jump back in when you feel ready.
Be conscientious about compression garment care. Sunscreen, repellent and various lotions can cause fabric to deteriorate therefore, be diligent about washing any compression garments you own as needed.
For Leg Lymphedema: If you will be doing a ton of walking on vacation, wear shoes that fit well and won’t blister your feet to prevent infection from occurring. As another line of defense against possible infection, consider using antifungal powder for your shoes.
Follow these tips and you should be smooth sailing during your vacation.
Happy Labor Day everyone!
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