Published on: May 28, 2020
Managing Lymphedema in Summer
Summer is right around the corner…
so here are some tips on how you can manage your lymphedema in the summer and keep cool in your compression garments:
When measuring patients for compression garments, we are often asked, “Do I really have to wear these garments in the summer? Aren’t they going to be incredibly hot?”
The short answer is “Yes.” It is important to remain in your compression garments all year round, especially during the hot summer months. Oftentimes, lymphedema will worsen with hotter temperatures, heightening the importance of compression garments. The manufacturers of these garments have made great strides over the years in producing garments as lightweight and ventilated as possible, but, of course, adding another layer of fabric to one’s skin obviously won’t make them any cooler.
Leave your compression garments in the fridge or freezer for some time prior to donning (place them in a plastic bag or a Ziploc so they do not get damp). Although this doesn’t permanently keep the garments cool, it provides a nice cooling sensation to the limb for a while after putting them on.
Water Aerobics or Therapy
Exercising in water is beneficial for everyone as it is an effective, low-impact workout, but is especially helpful for lymphedema patients. It gives you the opportunity to get out of your garments and into the water to cool off. On top of that, being submerged in water actually provides you with similar compression to that provided by your garments.
Open Toe Garments
Although not always an option for patients who exhibit swelling in the toes, open-toe garments are available to try. The open-ended garments will allow a bit more of free airflow to go through the garment, which can be a cooler option.
Dress for the Occasion
Consider wearing lighter clothing in the summer months. Clothing with natural, lighter fibers, such as silk or cotton, will be significantly more breathable for you which will help you stay cool. Also, try to avoid darker colored clothing as such colors absorb sunlight and attribute to increased heat.
Managing your lymphedema is crucial in the summer. Compression garments may become too hot to wear, but they are there to serve a medical purpose. Please consult with your therapist before deciding to go without wearing your garments, which may have serious implications for your health. There are many solutions out there and using a combination approach may be the best option.