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Nov 25, 2017 09:42AM
Nov 25, 2017 10:23AM
I'll second what Hopeful said: ill-fitting compression is worse than no compression at all, so seek out the advice of a well-trained lymphedema therapist before you consider buying garments. It's a good idea to see a LE therapist anyway, for baseline arm measurements for future reference, personalized risk reduction tips, and to learn a simple lymph "massage" that you can use prophelactically to help reduce your risk (and besides, it's gentle and relaxing!).
There are other precautions you can take when flying, though. Here are some:
Don't lift heavy luggage with your at-risk arm, either at home when you're packing, at the airport, or on the plane. Ask for help to lift items into overhead bins, onto or off of the luggage carousels, or in and out of trunks. Wheeled luggage is a help when moving around home or the airport.
Stay REALLY WELL hydrated! This helps to keep the sluggish lymph fluid moving, but it can be a challenge since you can't carry a full water bottle with you through security. As I board I inform the flight attendant that I have a medical condition that requires me to stay well hydrated and they're usually quick to supply me with a water bottle.
Exercise your hand and arm frequently. Stretch your arm above your head and slowly open and close your fingers, moving your arm like a cat clawing. Put your arm out in front of you and wriggle your fingers, then work your wrist up and down, then bend at the elbow and touch your chin a few times. Embarrassing? Yeah, but keep in mind you'll never see your fellow passengers again so their imagined opinion doesn't matter.
Keep up with the hydration and the gentle exercises even after your arrive. If your final destination is at an altitude that is higher than your home, keep that up for the duration of your visit, as altitude can affect swelling.
Then relax, have a great time, and enjoy the get-away. Happy travels!