Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Tips for Air Travel With Lymphedema

With the holiday season in tow, an increase in travelers will invade airports all over the country.  we've put together a few tips for those with lymphedema and are planning to travel by air this season.

Cabin pressure during a flight in a plane is less than the atmospheric pressure while on the ground. The decreased pressure in the cabin can cause increased swelling of the limb. If you have had a mastectomy, lumpectomy or radiation therapy you should wear compression garments while traveling by air to reduce risk of swelling.

Air travel is sedentary in nature, normally causing blood and lymphatic circulation to slow.  When you have been properly fitted for a sleeve and glove/gauntlet, it should be tight at the wrist and sit one finger width from the arm pit.

A hand piece or glove should be worn with the sleeve in order NOT to push the fluid into your hand. It is recommended to wear your sleeve 2 hours prior to flight and 2 hours after you have landed. Wearing garments applies to other types of long distance travel such as a car, train, or bus.

Travelers Tips:

-Wear comfortable clothing
-Avoid lifting and carrying heavy baggage
-Take a short walk every 2 hours
-Raise your arm and turn in circles several times
-Wear compression garments while on the trip will help prevent symptoms and swelling
-Drink plenty of liquids, avoid dehydration
-Take sunscreen, insect repellent, and extra non-scented lotion such as Eucerin

If you are in need of compression garments, call our BOC/ABC certified fitter, Kristen Knowles at 713-623-4247.  She specializes in creating customized solutions to increase mobility and decrease lymphedema swelling.

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