Feel that chill in the air? Winter is here in full force, and with it comes all the seasonal challenges the cold weather brings, especially for those managing their lymphedema treatment. During this time, it can be frustrating to keep your symptoms under control, especially when it becomes harder and harder to get outside, stay active, and exercise. To give you a hand, here are some of our tips to support your lymphedema treatment in the winter.
1. Find Ways to Stay Active
There are plenty of winter activities to enjoy outdoors, but sometimes the extreme weather and temperatures of winter make it preferable to stay nice and warm at home. However, it’s important not to let this keep you from moving and exercising altogether.
Try to find something you enjoy that keeps you active, even if you’re indoors. Diaphragmatic breathing involves deep, controlled breaths that engage your stomach, abdominal muscles, and diaphragm to move lymph fluid. You can also do gentle stretches and movements to engage your muscles, like the one demonstrated here. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.
2. Emphasize Winter Skin Care
One of the biggest challenges faced by people with lymphedema is preventing the winter air and indoor heating from drying out their already fragile, swollen skin. These areas are naturally much more sensitive, and without proper moisture can start to chap and crack, which is uncomfortable at best and damaging at worst. Damaged or cracked skin increases the risk of infection.
Some things you can do to help avoid this dryness are making sure any skin around your edema is well covered when outside and using mild, moisturizing soaps and lotions that are gentle for sensitive skin to help relieve and prevent the symptoms of dry skin.
3. Balance Comfort and Protection
When you do have to head out into the cold, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared to not only keep warm, but keep your lymphedema-affected areas safe. Being too cold can cause your body to redirect blood flow away from your arms and legs, worsening the ability for lymph to drain in those areas.
The good news is that the cold air can actually make wearing compression garments more comfortable than in warmer seasons, just be mindful not to cover up your garments too much with heavy winter gear, as the excess sweating this causes can irritate the skin and exacerbate the dryness previously mentioned.
4. Prioritize Mental Health
When you add the bleakness of winter to the additional challenges that lymphedema and its symptoms can cause, it can be difficult to not get overwhelmed. While caring for your lymphedema this season, make sure you take just as much care of your mental health by doing the things that make you happy.
With the movement and mobility-focused design of Dayspring®, you can take your compression treatment with you just about anywhere—meaning you can keep up with many of your favorite winter activities without lymphedema slowing you down.
We hope these tips help you manage your lymphedema easier this winter so you can have a healthy and happy start to your 2023!