House Call: Lymphedema Pt. 3

Updated: Jun. 2, 2023 at 6:46 PM EDT

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. Ginny Vincent, Occupational Therapist and Certified Lymphedema Therapist at United Rehab, talks about what you need to know about lymphedema.

1). How can you prevent lymphedema when referring to infections?

  • If you think you have lymphedema and you are concerned about infections, you should:
  • Keep your arms clean. Wash often if you perspire, but always dry your skin well so moisture does not remain in skin folds or between fingers and toes.
  • Protect your fingers, hands, and arms from punctures. Use your unaffected arm if you have blood drawn, your blood pressure taken, or need injections.
  • Trim your fingernails carefully. Do not cut or tear the cuticles.
  • Use an electric shaver under your arms. The skin is less likely to become injured.

2). For those who experience muscle strain or constriction, what would you recommend?

With proper care, lymphedema can be prevented with the following guidelines:

  • Use your affected arm as normally as possible, but avoid heavy lifting and vigorous pushing, pulling, or scrubbing.
  • Ask your doctor, nurse, or physical therapist about the best exercise program.
  • Avoid anything that constrains your hands or arms, such as tight sleeves or cuffs, watchbands, or jewelry.
  • Make sure your bra fits properly so that straps do not dig into your shoulders. With proper education and care, you can recognize lymphedema’s symptoms and seek treatment early.

3). With warmer days ahead us, are there any precautions to take with regard to the sun and heat?

Actually, there are precautions you should take with regard to any heat source. So, you want to make sure that you:

  • Always wear protective clothing with sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or preferably higher. If possible, stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Avoid hot baths, saunas, and dishwater.
  • Wear oven mitts when cooking or baking.

For more information on lymphedema, please contact me at 681-342-3790.