Every day, clean the skin of your arm or leg that has lymphedema. Use lotion to keep your skin moist. Check your skin every day for any changes.
Protect your skin from injuries, even small ones.
- Use only an electric razor for shaving underarms or legs.
- Wear gardening gloves and cooking gloves.
- Wear gloves when doing work around the house.
- Use a thimble when you sew.
- Be careful in the sun. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Use insect repellent.
- Avoid very hot or cold things, such as ice packs or heating pads.
- Stay out of hot tubs and saunas.
- Have blood draws, intravenous therapy (IVs), and shots in the non-effected arm or in another part of your body.
- Do not wear tight clothing or wrap anything tight on your arm or leg that has lymphedema.
Take care of your feet.
- Cut your toenails straight across. If needed, see a podiatrist to prevent ingrown nails and infections.
- Keep your feet covered when you are outdoors. Do not walk barefoot.
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Wear cotton socks.
Do not put too much pressure on your arm or leg with lymphedema.
- Do not sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes.
- Do not cross your legs while sitting.
- Wear loose jewelry. Wear clothes that do not have tight waistbands or cuffs.
- Where a bra that is supportive, but not too tight.
- If you carry a handbag, carry it with the unaffected arm.
- Do not use elastic support bandages or stockings with tight bands.
Taking care of cuts and scratches.
- Wash wounds gently with soap and water.
- Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment to the area.
- Cover wounds with dry gauze or bandages, but do not wrap them tightly.
- Call your doctor right away if you have an infection. Signs of infection include rash, red blotches, swelling, heat, pain, or fever.
Taking care of burns.
- Place a cold pack or run cold water on a burn for 15 minutes. Then wash gently with soap and water.
- Put a clean, dry bandage over the burn.
- Call your doctor right away if you have an infection.
Living with lymphedema can be hard. Ask your doctor about visiting a physical therapist who can teach you about:
- Ways to prevent lymphedema
- How diet and exercise affect lymphedema
- How to use massage techniques to decrease lymphedema
Wear your compression sleeve during the day. Remove it at night. Make sure you get the right size.
Wear a compression sleeve when traveling by air. If possible, keep your arm above the level of your heart during long flights.