Lymphoedema Summers

Selfcare tips for staying cool in summer provided by L-W-O Community serve as guidelines, you should always consult your Health Care Professional (HCP) or Lymphoedema Specialist.


Living with lymphoedema you might find your affected limb(s) swell more in the summer months or when you are on holiday because of the heat, this is because blood vessels expand with the heat so that the amount of fluid that travels from the blood vessel into the tissue increases. 


Do not get to upset as the swelling will go down when the temperatures go down.

Do spend as much time as you can in the fresh air but find some shade and remember to stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Increased swelling, prickly heat, hives, insect bites, and stings are far more likely to happen when the sun is out, or you are on holiday.  Good skin care is essential make sure you use plenty of sun cream.  The clothes you wear including your underwear should not leave indentations.  Underwear that is normally well fitting might feel tighter if your body swells from the heat.


Remember your skin can burn through clothes


However, hard it might be please wear your compression garment and wash your compression regularly as body oils, sunscreen and sweat may hasten the deterioration of your garment.  Please remember you can get bitten through your compression.  Always have a mini first aid kit handy that has antiseptic cream, antiseptic wipes, insect repellent and antihistamines.  Bites or stings treat immediately. You will find lots of tips and advice on our holiday care page.  Keep a spare top or item of clothing in a plastic bag in the fridge for a quick change and cool down.

As temperatures rise, please make sure you drink plenty of water keep yourself hydrated, avoid fizzy drinks, caffeine drinks and alcohol as they tend to increase swelling. Always apply sensible precautions.  Meals keep small, stay away from salty snacks, instead have crunchy snacks. Finally, my favourite tip for a hot day is to have an oven free day.


Try not to wait until you are thirsty to drink, it means you are already starting to dehydrate.  Start your day with a glass of water.  Sugary/fizzy drinks make you thirstier and may increase your swelling.  

Bee on a Daisy

Stings or bites

Remember you can get bitten through compression or clothing


From time to time we all experience insect bites or stings, but for someone who lives with lymphoedema being bitten may become a severe problem.  This could cause an increase in swelling which hopefully will only be short lived.  Watch for the signs of infection especially for those that experience cellulitis.  Check your skin daily and treat any bites immediately.  If you experience swelling, feel unwell, run a temperature seek medical help as you may need antibiotics.

  • Wear an insect repellent especially if you are susceptible to being bitten

  • Wash the area of the bite or sting

  • Gently pat dry

  • Use an antiseptic

  • Do not scratch

  • Place a cold compress on the affected area (might ease itching)

  • Drink plenty of water, to help eliminate toxins from your body

It may be wise to take antihistamines but do ask advice from your health-care provider.

Ask advice from your pharmacist.

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Blue Water

Tips at a glance

Staying Cool


  • Avoid sun between 11 am and 3 pm

  • Stay hydrated this helps the body to regulate its temperature

  • Wear light, loose clothing, not only keeps you cool but won't restrict lymph flow

  • Elevate limbs 

  • Place cold wet towels over limb for quick cool down

  • Powder inside shoes with antifungal powder to prevent fungal infections 



  • Wear your compression garment

  • Remember you can get sun burn through you compression

  • Remember you can get sunburn through your clothes

  • Wear a minimum of 30 - 50 SPF sunscreen

  • Remember to top up sunscreen

  • Avoid sunburn as this will place additional demands on your lymphatic system



  • Compression garments - wear an old one to swim in

  • Check before you swim that you have no breaks in your skin that put you at risk of infection

  • Take a shower after swimming to wash off chlorine/salt 

  • Thoroughly towel dry paying particular attention to between the toes and skin folds 

  • Moisturise your skin 

  • Chlorine can dry your skin and may cause a breakage allowing bacteria to enter and cause infection

  • Remember sensible precautions - swimming is a great way to #getmoving and keep your lymph flowing



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