If you have lymphoedema and experience increased swelling during Summer it can become a real issue and restrict your quality of lifestyle. It also impact on whether you have the energy to do your regular exercise. In this article we look at why extra swelling occurs during Summer and provide some self-management tips to staying cool.
The reason swelling intensifies during the hotter months is to do with the body’s mechanism for controlling body temperature. In the Winter, the blood vessels beneath the skin constrict to keep in the heat.
The reverse happens in Summer, the veins dilate to cool the body down so more fluid escapes into the tissues of the body.
Although the hotter months are when you might least feel like wearing your compression garments, it’s the time of the year you most need to be wearing them. When it comes to exercising in the hotter months everyone is different, so monitoring what works for your body is vital. But before you take off pounding the pavement, keep in mind that overactivity and exertion can cause more blood to flow through the limb and consequently more fluid forms in the tissues.
Here’s 14 self-management tips that will help you to stay cool:
- Keep the affect limb/s as cool as possible to help us cope during Summer.
- Swim to refresh the body but replace compression garments as soon as possible.
- At all cost avoid exposing the limb to the sun.
- Have a cool place to retreat and relax during the hottest part of the day. An air-conditioned room is ideal, but depending on the temperature under a shady tree might also take your fancy instead,
- Try to get out of bed and start your day early so you can do any chores around the house in the cooler part of the day.
- Always try to make medical appointments early so you can relax in the heat of the day.
- If possible elevate your limb/s whenever resting in a cooled environment.
- Minimise the heat in the kitchen in the hot afternoons by using a microwave, cooking early in the day or better still serve healthy fresh salads.
- You might love the taste, but try to avoid spicy foods that produce heat in the body.
- Avoid spending any time at all in a hot car. Always try to park in the shade or shop where undercover parking is readily available.
- Wear loose fitting clothing. You will find clothing made of naturally fibres the coolest and most comfortable. Long loose trousers and sleeves allow more evaporation from the skin whilst also providing protect from the sun.
- When you can, avoid tight fitting underwear as it can restrict flow of lymph.
- Set your shower temperature to cool, not hot. Shower before bandaging at night and at the start of the day before putting compression garment on. You will feel fresher for the task.
- Sit in an airconditioned room or in front of a fan when putting your compression garments on. The limb/s should be perfectly dry.
Lymphoedema Association of Queensland (LAQ) was founded in 1989 with the aim of raising awareness of the condition. A membership-based organisation, LAQ is the trusted resource those with lymphoedema turn to for support when seeking to achieve a better quality of life. Join the LAQ Community and become a Member today!
General Advice Warning: This blog is not designed to replace professional advice. It has been prepared without taking into account your medical situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice, in light of your own health objectives and needs before making any decision as to what is appropriate for you.