The skin is the body's first line of defense. It protects the body from trauma and infection and aids in temperature regulation. Therefore it is essential to keep the skin healthy. Individuals who have had any impairment of the lymphatic system are especially at risk for developing an infection. Any small cut or abrasion can allow bacteria to enter the skin and the stagnant lymphatic fluid is a perfect milieu in which bacteria can grow.
Simple measures which will promote healthy skin:
1. Inspect the skin daily for any crack, cuts or dry areas. Check carefully areas with reduced sensation or where there are skin folds.
2. Clean skin daily with non-perfumed soap
3. Dry skin completely, especially the area between the toes
4. Keep skin supple. Use a Iow pH lotion as Eucerin to keep the skin moist and pliable.
5. Check fingernails and toenails for any signs of infection, cracks, fungus, or hangnails. Do not cut nails or cuticles. Use an emery board.
6. Call your doctor at the first signs of any infection, redness or temperature.
People who have lymphedema, diabetes or vascular disease are at risk for infections.
Helpful Hints on Skin care
1. To care for corns and calluses, do not use over the counter medications such as Dr. Scholl's corn pads as they contain acid. After the bath or shower, when the skin is softened, buff the skin to remove the dead skin and soften calluses.
2. Corns can develop between the 4th and 5th toes as the foot swells. Fungus can also develop, which can lead to infections. Changing to larger or wider shoes may alleviate the development of corns. Use lambs wool in between the toes to reduce friction.
3. When you trim your toe nails, round the edges to prevent ingrown toenails. Boil clippers for one minute and let cool for one hour before using.
4. Dry you feet very well after bathing, especially between the toes. Do not use alcohol on your feet. Use a Iow pH lotion.
5. If you are unable to cut your toe nails, see a Podiatrist regularly.
6. Use a mild, unscented lotion after bathing. (LYMPHODERM.)
7. Wash your elastic compression sleeves/stockings and stockinet for compression bandaging daily.
8. Use an electric razor to remove hair on affected areas to minimize risk of nicks and scratches
9. Avoid sunburn. Always protect your skin from being injured from the sun.