Question #4:

“Why should I avoid prolonged sun exposure?”


Direct exposure to the sun causes a rapid increase of skin temperature and blood vessels dilatation, so more blood flows into the affected area. This causes an increase in fluid load in the affected extremity and can cause an increase in swelling. The sun’s rays damage the skin. A “tan” is really the skin’s way of responding to damage from the sun by depositing melanin, a skin pigment, in the upper layers of the skin. You should wear sunscreen on your affected limb as well as the quadrant of your body that connects to that limb. For example, if you have lymphoedema in your right arm, you should also have sunscreen on your neck, shoulder and chest and back on the right side. Actually, you should always use sunscreen on your entire body to avoid skin cancer, but at least have good coverage on your affected areas.

Question #5:

“Why people with lymphoedema of the upper limb should avoid manicures?”


The skin is a very porous organ. It absorbs chemicals. Acetone and other nail polish removers are chemicals. The solvents that are used to remove artificial nails are strong chemicals. Cutting cuticles too close can allow bacteria that are always on the skin to enter and possibly trigger an infection. Nail salons are public places and instruments are not sterile. People who wear artificial nails are more prone to develop fungal infections.

Question #6:

“When I receive lymphatic drainage treatment, where is all that fluid going?”


The fluid is directed back into the central venous circulation and whatever volume of fluid is in excess of the “normal” volume of your limb is excreted from your kidneys in your normal urine.