Summer heat, especially humid heat like we have here in Middle Tennessee, can cause discomfort and swelling in people with perfectly functioning lymphatic systems. Add a chronic condition like lymphedema and summer heat takes on a whole new complication. Read on for 10 tips from Pretty in Pink Boutique to stay well and enjoy the summer with family and friends.
Prevent Lymphedema Issues
The first six tips are aimed at prevention. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and everything is more enjoyable if problems are stopped before they begin.
- Keep cool. The hottest hours of the day are 11 am – 3 pm. If at all possible, stay indoors during this time in a cool, well air conditioned environment.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. It’s easier for your body to regulate body temperature and reduce the likelihood of swelling if you’re well hydrated.
- Wear non-constricting clothes. Heavy materials or tight-fitting clothes restrict lymphatic flow and make you hotter. Allow your body to breathe in light, loose clothing this summer.
- Don’t get burned. Sunburns increase swelling and tax the lymphatic system even more. Avoid sunburns with clothing, hats, shoes and sunscreen.
- Avoid fungal infections. Fungal infections are more common in the summer with more time spent barefoot and in the water. They can cause uncomfortable complications for people with lymphedema. Use an antifungal powder in your shoes and wear water shoes when in a pool, lake or common shower area.
- Stay Dry. Keeping your skin dry provides protection. Dry off well after swimming and showering to prevent moisture from being trapped under a compression garment. You can also use a moisture barrier cream when swimming if chlorine causes your skin to become dry, cracked or chapped.
Recover from Lymphedema Incidents
Even with proper preventative action, lymphatic issues can still happen during the summer heat. The next four tips might help reduce the severity and longevity of an occurrence.
- Cool and elevate. Remove your compression garment to prevent it from getting wet. Then wrap the affected limb in a cool, wet towel and elevate it.
- Sleep tight. Be sure to wear your night compression garment. You can even pop it in the freezer prior to wearing it for added cooling comfort.
- Lukewarm showers. Believe it or not, cold baths or showers aren’t the best way to cool the body. Instead, try a lukewarm shower or bath to promote internal cooling.
- Ice at night. Use an icepack under your pillowcase and rest your limb on it to reduce swelling and discomfort. (Remember, never put an ice pack directly on your skin.)
Don’t let your lymphedema dampen your summer fun. If you need compression garments for your lymphedema, contact Pretty in Pink Boutique. We will be happy to measure and fit you for the right garments and have a variety of styles and colors, from neutral to bold. We will also work with your insurance company. Call 615-777-7465 or email [email protected] to schedule your appointment.