We are aware that we need to take care in the sun and avoid sunburn and insect bites. Moisturising is important too. But what about the changing seasons especially the winter months? Now that it’s getting colder, we need to continue to take care. Maybe you are travelling to a colder climate for a Winter holiday? Extreme temperatures, hot or cold can challenge the lymphatic and circulatory systems and may make your swelling worse.
So, continue to moisturize your skin regularly with emollients recommended by your therapist to avoid the skin becoming dry and chapped. Washing the skin with a soap substitute like Aqueous cream also helps. Check your skin regularly, dry skin can become itchy and if you scratch it may cause breaks in the skin, leaving you vulnerable to infection. Please refer to the information on LymphConnect about tips on how to avoid infection and deal with cellulitis.
In the colder months we also tend to turn up the heating to make our homes nice and warm. Like air conditioning, central heating can dry out the skin so be sensible about how high the heating goes but do not be cold.
Continue to wear your compression garments as instructed by your therapist and wrap up warm in clothing that keeps the body at a comfortable temperature. Layer clothing when you go outside but make sure that the clothing is not too tight and restrictive as this may compromise your circulation and Lymphatic Drainage. Use gloves, mittens and warm socks to keep your extremities warm and wear a hat to keep cosy.
In icy weather limit the chance of slipping on the snow/ice by wearing sensible shoes with good soles to give you grip. Refer to the LymphConnect blog on footwear for more tips and information.
Avoid significant changes in activity. Beit skiing, snowboarding, sweeping leaves or de-icing the car, these activities, commonly associated with colder weather, may tempt you to overexert yourself. Be careful not to go beyond your current activity levels and especially take care with activities that use the area of your body affected by your lymphoedema.
Remember, if you experience any changes in your symptoms or an increase in your swelling, contact your lymphoedema specialist or GP for advice. The crisp, winter weather can be a beautiful season but wrap up warm, take care and enjoy. It will soon be Spring!!
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Claudia Lymphoedema patient