Selfcare tips for staying cool in summer provided by L-W-O Community serve as guidelines, you should always consult your Health Care Professional (HCP) or Lymphoedema Specialist.
Living with lymphoedema you might find your affected limb(s) swell more in the summer months or when you are on holiday because of the heat, this is because blood vessels expand with the heat so that the amount of fluid that travels from the blood vessel into the tissue increases.
Do not get to upset as the swelling will go down when the temperatures go down.
Do spend as much time as you can in the fresh air but find some shade and remember to stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Increased swelling, prickly heat, hives, insect bites, and stings are far more likely to happen when the sun is out, or you are on holiday. Good skin care is essential make sure you use plenty of sun cream. The clothes you wear including your underwear should not leave indentations. Underwear that is normally well fitting might feel tighter if your body swells from the heat.
Remember your skin can burn through clothes
However, hard it might be please wear your compression and remember you can get bitten through your compression. Always have a mini first aid kit handy that has antiseptic cream, antiseptic wipes, insect repellent and antihistamines. Bites or stings treat immediately. You will find lots of tips and advice on our holiday care page. Keep a spare top or item of clothing in a plastic bag in the fridge for a quick change and cool down.
As temperatures rise, please make sure you drink plenty of water keep yourself hydrated, avoid fizzy drinks, caffeine drinks and alcohol as they tend to increase swelling. Always apply sensible precautions. Meals keep small, stay away from salty snacks, instead have crunchy snacks. Finally, my favourite tip for a hot day is to have an oven free day.
Stings or bites
Remember you can get bitten through compression or clothing
From time to time we all experience insect bites or stings, but for someone who lives with lymphoedema being bitten can become a serious problem. This could cause an increase in swelling which hopefully will only be short lived. Watch for the signs of infection especially for those that experience cellulitis. Check you skin daily and treat any bites immediately. If you experience swelling, feel unwell, run a temperature seek medical help as you may need antibiotics.
Wash the area of the bite or sting
Gently pat dry
Use an antiseptic
Do not scratch
Place a cold compress on the affected area (might ease itching)
Drink plenty of water, to help eliminate toxins from your body