Lymphedema Risk Reduction Practices

 

Skin Care

  • Keep skin clean and dry.
  • Apply moisturiser daily. A low pH lotion or cream is best such as E45, Epimax or Eucerin.

Lymphedema Risk Reduction Practices 1

  • Keep nails short and clean.
  • Avoid trimming cuticles.
  • Use a natural insect repellent to protect from mosquito and insect bites.
  • Use a natural sunscreen when in the sun for long periods of time.
  • Take extra care with shaving and waxing. An electric shaver is best.
  • Avoid injections and having blood drawn on the affected side if possible.

  • Wear gloves when gardening, working with tools or chemicals.
  • Wash and apply antiseptic ointment to any cut or injury to the skin. Observe the skin closely for infection.
  • Contact your doctor or therapist immediately if you have skin redness that is warm to the touch, painful and spreading. And if you have headache, fever and flu-like symptoms – these are signs of possible cellulitis skin infection.

Lifestyle and Movement

  • Focus on daily activity and gentle exercise. 30 minutes if possible.
  • Build up the duration and intensity of your exercise gradually.
  • Take frequent rest periods and listen to your body.
  • Monitor the affected arm or leg to note any changes before an after exercise.
  • Be extra careful with maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Educate yourself about healthy food choices.

Lymphedema Risk Reduction Practices 3

Avoid Limb Constriction

  • Avoid, if possible, having a blood pressure cuff applied to the affected arm. And where possible ask for the manual cuff as it exerts less pressure than the automatic blood pressure machines.
  • Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing.
  • Don’t allow elastic or hairbands to dig into the skin of the affected area.
  • Rings, watches and bracelets should not leave marks on the skin.

Compression Garments

  • All compression should be comfortable and well fitted.
Lymphedema Risk Reduction Practices 5

Extremes of Temperature

  • Avoid extreme cold and extreme hot. Both can irritate the lymphatic system.
  • Keep baths to very warm rather than hot water that causes redness to the skin.
  • Do not apply ice packs directly to the affected area. A cloth submerged in cool water is better.
  • Be careful when using hot or cold cream rubs and gels.