Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top 10 Lymphedema Tips for the Summer

1.  Increase fluid intake, mostly H2O
By increasing your daily water intake, you are telling your body that it has plenty of reserves and as a result it will release fluid out of your body.  If you are not a fan of drinking water, try flavored waters.  Crystal lite offers on-the-go packets, available in delicious flavors such as kiwi-strawberry, cherry pomegranate and raspberry peach.

2.  Try and stay as cool as possible
At times staying cool may seem impossible in 90+ degree weather.  Use fans to help circulate air conditioning while indoors.  Also store plastic bottles of water in the freezer for easy access to cold water when you travel outside.
3.  Avoid tight restrictive clothing
Opt for lightweight, loose-fitting cotton clothing.  Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than those made out of synthetic materials.
4.  Avoid severe sunburns
I like sunscreen products that good for sensitive skin, affordable, waterproof and offer UVA and UVB protection.  Banana Boat Baby Tear-Free Sunblock  SPF 50 is $10 for 8 ounces, Bull Frog Water Armor Sport 50+ is $9.99 for 6 ounces,  Beach Defense Water + Sun Barrier Lotion SPF 30 & 70 is $10.99 for 6.7, or Hydrosport Sunblock Spray SPF 30 by Aveeno is $8.99 for  5 ounces are all great options.
5.  Always use insect repellent
Protecting your skin from insect bites is another top priority during the warm summer months.  Avon carries a strong defense against mosquitos, gnats, ticks, sand flies and other biting insects.  Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin Aerosol Spray is $7.99 for 4 ounces of protection.  Another good option is Deep Woods Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent V, 25% DEET, 6 oz for $7.49.  This insect repellant is a reduced DEET product that works well.  It sprays upside down too!   Be sure that you apply insect repellent over your garment.
6.  Try and avoid high sodium foods
Restrict your daily salt intake to between 1,500 – 2,300 mg per day.  Also avoid processed foods as they typically contain a lot of sodium and preservatives.
7.  Protect your handsWhen working in the yard or gardening try and wear glove to protect your hand with upper body edema.  Choose a work glove with a suede leather palm for heavy-duty protection.
8.  Exercise Smart
When exercising outdoors try and do this not in the middle of the day, instead opt for early morning or after sunsets.  Exercise for shorter periods of time, take breaks at regular intervals and always wear compression on the affected limb, unless you are swimming, as water resistance acts as natural compression.
9.  Protect Your Feet
With lower body edema it is a good idea while at the beach wear water shoes as to avoid cuts and scrapes.
10.  Travel Prepared
If possible, talk to your doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics in case of infections.  Also, remember if you are flying, drink plenty of water and make sure you wear your day time compression garments, as the decreased air pressure in the airplane’s cabin may increase your swelling.
For more tips, contact Kristen, our BOC, ABC Certified compression garment fitter at kristen@hairandwellness.com.

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