COVID-19 & Lymphatic Disease Community

Here is important information from LEARN about COVID-19 and the Lymphatic Disease Community:

“This strain of coronavirus is a new one and scientists do not yet know all there is to know about it. While these common-sense points will always be helpful, it is important that you keep up to date with the advice being given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NHS England and how it might affect you personally. These suggestions have been produced using the most up-to-date advice available to us from our Scientific and Medical Advisors and are not intended to replace or supersede advice you may have been given from your health care professional.

Our experts tell us that in nearly all cases lymphedema (LE) (also spelled lymphoedema) alone does not make one more susceptible to the coronavirus. The only exception would be those very rare primary LE patients who have extensive lymphatic abnormalities involving the chest, i.e. lungs, and have generalized immune deficiency; we are assured those patients will know who they are.

  • Stay calm. Panic and fear will not help you or those around you.

  • The virus spreads mainly from person to person via sneezes and coughs, but we can carry it on our hands and it does survive on hard surfaces for some time—how long depends on a lot of different factors so best to be cautious. It is thought to be able to survive on fabrics for between 3 and 48 hours, again depending on a lot of different factors.

  • The virus gets into your body through your nose, mouth or eyes when someone coughs or sneezes on you or when you have it on your hands and then touch your own face.

  • The main symptoms are a higher than normal temperature, a cough, aches and pains, and unusual tiredness.

Those with LE should take the same precautions as others, although this may be more of a challenge if you wear a compression glove as part of your treatment. Everyone should:

  • Wash your hands well before you leave home and wash your hands well when you arrive at your destination. Wash your hands frequently during the day.

  • If you use shared equipment such as keyboards, telephones, etc., wipe them with antibacterial wipes between users.

  • Maintain at least 3–6 feet (1–2 meters) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve at your elbow if you cough or sneeze, then disposing of the used tissue immediately and washing your hands.

  • Get into the habit of not touching your face, mouth, and eyes.

  • Avoid shaking hands.

  • Use hand sanitizer gel with at least 60% alcohol content if hand washing facilities are not available.

  • Keep your hands well moisturized as frequent washing can make the skin dry and cracked (which may lead to cellulitis).

  • Follow government guidance regarding large crowds, avoiding certain areas and activities. These may well change as more becomes known about the virus or as more people become infected.

If you are able to avoid taking risks—such as being in large crowds or traveling unnecessarily—do so, but remember that social isolation can have an effect on your mental health.

If you wear a compression glove or sleeve with hand attachment:

  • Most of the compression garment manufacturers advise following the washing instructions on your garment but making sure that you wash your garments each day. We are told that antibacterial hand gel will not damage garments if it is on the skin.

  • Most garments can be washed in your washing machine at 104° F (40° C ) on a gentle wash and then dried on the gentle cycle of your tumble drier. If your garment cannot be tumble dried then air dry it thoroughly before use.

  • Most garments will stay in peak condition for over 100 washes but putting them in a net washing bag can protect them further.

  • You may choose to buy some disposable plastic gloves to wear over your compression glove or handpiece while you are out and about. When you arrive at your destination remove the disposable glove by rolling it off your hand so it ends up inside out and throws it away. Then wash your other hand before removing your compression (this will stop your other hand contaminating the compression glove). Wash your hands again and reapply your compression.

  • You may choose to wear a disposable glove over your compression glove for longer periods of the day if you are in a job that requires you to wash your hands frequently. Please remember the glove is there to stop your compression glove from becoming contaminated, it will not protect you from the virus. The virus can live on the plastic glove and be transferred in the same way as it can on your hand so the same rules apply—wash your hands frequently and change the glove often.

  • Some people may find it a challenge to attain a disposable glove to fit over their swollen hand. You may need to experiment with sizes. If you are unable to find one that fits, talk to your CLT to see if they feel it would be appropriate for you to temporarily modify when you wear your glove.

  • When not in your own home avoid using the part of your hand covered by your garment, if possible, and use hand sanitizer gel on your fingers as needed.

  • Carry a spare compression glove/garment with you in a sealed plastic bag to use if you are worried your glove may have been contaminated. Put the dirty ones in the plastic bag and seal it up until it can be washed, remembering to throw the plastic bag away.

If you think you may have the virus please refrain from interacting with others until you have sought advice by calling 111 in the UK. In the USA call your doctor or local Department of Health:



To download, please click here


Disclaimer: This website is designed for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional care. The information provided here should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your physician. All medical products require a physician’s prescription.