If your child has lymphedema, here are a wonderful group of suggestions to help cope with this debilitating disease:
1) In the bath, stroke the child's infected limbs upwards away from the fingers or toesand make pretend that it is play.
2) Never run dry a limb that has swelling. Pat it thoroughly dry including all the little creases in the limb. Take extra care with between toes and fingers. The least tiny break in the skin can cause bad infection
3) Nail care. Toe nails always cut straight across keep them short as possible. If one caught on something and tore it could set of infection.
4) Use a cream (non scented) on the limb paying attention to toes or fingers all the time. Remember to work up not down the limb. Let this be a fun thing which prepares the child for a routine that he/she will have to follow for life.If there is any change in colour or reddening of skin, stop.
5) Always have the limb covered with long sleeves or pants which will help the child get used to having something on the limb at all times.
6) Remember extreme heat and cold are bad for lymphedema- try to avoid this at all times.
7) Always have some form of footwear on if the legs are infected remembering that the limbs can swell. Tight fitting shoes can not only rub the skin possibly causing an infection but also damage the development of baby’s feet.
8) Exercise is good for the limb.
9) Be extra careful about changing the baby often, since one tiny break in skin can allow an infection to start.
SELF MASSAGE FOR THE UPPER EXTREMITY
- Massage slowly, approx. one cycle per second
- Massage gently, approx. the pressure when stroking a cat
- Use the entire surface of the hand when massaging. Avoid digging in with your fingers.
- Perform the entire massage in the sequence as specified in this
SEQUENCE OF MASSAGE
1. Apply circular motions to both sides of the throat, in the
triangular space just above the collarbone. Repeat 25x (do in sets of 5)
2. Apply circular motions to both underarms. First to the uninvolved side, then to the involved side. Repeat 25x each side.
3. Glide the hand across the from the involved underarm to the
univolved underarm, in this direction only. Repeat 10x
4. Apply circular motions to the groin of the involved side pumping in an upward direction. Repeat 25x
5. Glide the hand from the involved underarm to the groin on the same side of the throat, in this direction only. Reapeat 10x
6. Glide the hand from the involved shoulder to the same side of the throat, in this direction only. Repeat 10x
7. Glide the hand from the elbow to the shoulder in three patterns:
a. from the front of the upper arm
b. from the back of the upper arm
c. from the inside of the upper arm in a spiral motion to
the outside of the shoulder
8. Apply circular motion to the front & the back of the elbow. Repeat each side 25x
9. Glide hand from the involved wrist to the elbow, first to the front side, then to the backside.
10. Glide hand from the base of the fingers to the wrist, in this
direction only. If the fingers are affected (Mia's are), massage each finger individually from the fingertip to the base. Repeat each 10x
****Stroke the child as if softly petting a cat. That is the easiest way to understand how much pressure to use/not to use.
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