ANY PLANS TO TRAVEL THIS SUMMER?
Summertime often means travel time for many people. However, it’s important to note that those living with lymphedema do have to take some special precautions while traveling. Here are 20 travel tips to consider when traveling with lymphedema.
- When traveling by air, be sure to wear your compression garments. Decreased pressure in the airplane cabin may cause increased swelling.
- Wearing a glove or gauntlet is also recommended for those wearing an arm sleeve.
- Wear the garment before you get on the plane and leave the garment on for 1-3 hours after arriving at your destination.
- If you have lower extremity lymphedema, requesting a seat with more legroom, such as the bulkhead, would be a good idea. You may want to travel first class.
- Please use the extra leg room and move those legs, pumping your ankles up and down or circling them to get fluid movement.
- It would be best if you carried a note from your physician regarding compression garments or bandages to help answer any questions at security checkpoints.
- Non-constricting, loose-fitting clothing is not only more comfortable, but it will also prevent restriction of lymph fluid flow. Avoid tight and restrictive jewelry and watches, as well.
- Stay well-hydrated throughout your flight. Ambient air in the cabin is dry and may increase dehydration.
- Avoid carrying heavy luggage and bags or using shoulder straps on the affected arm. Instead, use luggage with wheels or ask for assistance.
- Minimize diuretics such as alcohol and beverages with caffeine in them.
- Maintain healthy eating and avoid salty foods.
- Try to move about the cabin frequently to help move that lymph fluid.
- If you cannot move about the plane, remember that deep diaphragmatic breathing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stimulate lymph movement.
- Consider bringing antibiotics, especially if you are prone to cellulitis or traveling outside the United States.
- Sitting for long periods may also cause swelling if traveling by car or train. But, again, wearing compression can help lessen the risk of increased swelling.
- If traveling by car, make frequent stops to stretch and walk around.
- Also, be mindful of the location you are traveling to. Mountainous areas high in elevation can cause swelling, and it is recommended that you wear a compression garment.
- Be aware that hot, humid conditions can cause blood vessels to dilate and move more fluid into the affected limb. It would be best to stay indoors during the warmest parts of the day between 11 am and 3 pm.
- If you are somewhere to enjoy the great outdoors, remember sunscreen and insect repellent. Sunburn and bug bites can be very dangerous for those with lymphedema.
- Wearing a lymphedema alert bracelet for the upper extremity or a necklace for the lower extremity is a good idea.
SAFE TRAVELS, MY FRIENDS!
Awareness can prevent more severe complications in dealing with your lymphedema while traveling. Please note these 20 travel tips for lymphedema are to serve as guidelines only. You should always consult with your lymphedema therapist or doctor before traveling.
Disclaimer – This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, the information contained in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice – always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on your specific condition.