Lymphedema & Sheltering at Home
Are you wearing your lymphedema compression garments? I hope so, even if no one’s watching! Even if you are stuck in the house for days and days during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused many states to adopt shelter in place mandates. We all can get lazy not going out of the house for days at a time. We may stay in our pj’s all day, not put on makeup or style our hair. However, we should not become lazy about our compression garments and the care of our lymphedema. I think all of us want to stay away from the hospital at this time, so we don’t need any flare ups of Cellulitis or open wounds.
The other day I had a gentleman call to reorder his FarrowWrap Classic garments. He was so happy with this product and claimed it was a miracle worker. “Not once did he have to go to the hospital this year for his legs!” he claimed. He attributed this to the use of his compression garments. “They really work,” he said! Compression does really work, especially if you have a high quality wrap garment. During this time of self sheltering, we need to be especially mindful to wear our compression garments.
I know at this time some of the lymphedema clinics are still open, but a lot of them are not or are working with limited schedules, so we must do what we can at home. Are you doing your self MLD (manual lymph drainage)? Do you have a lymphedema pump, and if so, are you using it?
Here are a couple of self MLD YouTube videos that might be beneficial to you while we wait for everything to reopen. (Provided by Klose Training)
For upper extremity:
For lower extremity:
What about bandaging? If you have a flare up, are you self bandaging? Below are a couple of YouTube videos showing how to self bandage. (Provided by MD Anderson Cancer Center)
Bandaging your arm:
Bandaging your leg:
Alternatives To Wrapping
If you have a nighttime chip-foam garment such as the Sigvaris ChipSleeve, L&R Tribute Wrap, or Caresia, you can use these in place of the bandaging. You can also use any wrap garment including the Juzo Compression Wrap or the Medi JuxtaFit compression garments as a nighttime garment in place of bandaging. It’s nice to have different types of compression garments for different times and situations – more aggressive compression for flare ups and treatment phases, and lighter compression garments for daily use and better lymphedema days.
Sheltering at Home with Lymphedema
Are you “moving that lymph?” Are you exercising? Although we are in a state of home sheltering, can you get out for a walk? The fresh air and the sunshine surely will do you good, as well. If you are unable to get out, can you do some mild yoga at home? Yoga is a gentle, effective way to move lymph. If all else fails you can simply rock in a rocking chair, or if no chair is available, pump your ankles up and down – movement moves lymph! Even deep diaphragmatic breath will help to move that lymph!
Just a few other reminders to keep your lymph system healthy during this time of self sheltering:
- Drink plenty of water
- Wear loose, non-restrictive clothing
- Be careful not to wear tight, restrictive jewelry
- Wash your compression gloves on a regular basis as well as your compression garments
Sheltering at home can be difficult for all of us, but especially those dealing with Lymphedema. Take the time to take care of yourself. Stay healthy and be safe, my friends!