“People living with lymphedema are NOT at increased risk for coronavirus (COVID-19).” – Dr Anna Towers, MUHC Lymphedema Clinic
This applies to both primary and secondary lymphedema.
Here are the recommendations of the Lymphedema Association of Québec to effectively guide people living with lymphedema during this time of pandemic.
REGISTER FOR THE LAQ VIRTUAL MEETINGS: firstname.lastname@example.org
For safety and prevention reasons, private therapists no longer see patients and hospital therapists assess their acute lymphedema clients on a case-by-case basis. Telehealth, teleconsultation, telerehabilitation and telephone follow-ups are preferred until further notice. If you need help, call 1 866 979-2463 or 514 979-2463.
If you are in the maintenance phase (wearing day garment), your appointments must be CANCELLED. You will be able to resume therapy when the professional associations and orders indicate to their members that the situation is safe again.
Please note that the MUHC Lymphedema Clinic has cancelled all FOLLOW-UP appointments for the next 2 months. Only patients with problematic situations will be seen.
Thank you, patients and therapists, for your sense of civic responsibility.
IN CASE OF ACUTE LYMPHEDEMA
Contact your oncology team
OR reach out to our team of volunteer therapists by leaving a message at 1 866 979-2463 // 514 979-2463
IN CASE OF CELLULITE SYMPTOMS
If you do not have a prescription for antibiotics on file at the pharmacy, call your doctor or a medical clinic in your area or ask your pharmacist. AVOID GOING TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.
It is possible that cellulitis related to lymphedema may present flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, fatigue). If redness is visible on the affected limb, circle it with a pen and observe the progression. Arrange for a tele-consultation with your family doctor or a telephone consultation with your pharmacist.
If you have been known to have recurrent cellulitis related to lymphedema in the last 4 years, your pharmacist may be able to help you to get antibiotics during the pandemic period.
Persons wearing a glove or gauntlet should pay particular attention to hygiene of hand and compressive garment. We recommend that you change your glove/ gauntlet as needed during the day. Use your old gloves/ gauntlets for a good rotation.
Wash your compression garments every day as usual – including the sleeve, given the instruction to cough into the elbow.
Remove your glove/ gauntlet to thoroughly wash both hands with soap (20 seconds).
DRY your affected hand completely before putting your glove/gauntlet back on (to prevent fungal infections).
Soap is preferable to alcohol-based cleansers that dry the skin.
Remember to moisturize your hands daily. They’ll need it with these increased hygiene measures.
Waterproof gloves are not recommended because they trap moisture.
If you are using cotton glove over your compression, change it regularly during the day and wash them in the washing machine using a bra net.
If you have to wear disposable plastic gloves over your compression glove or hand piece while you are out and about, follow these steps : remove the disposable glove by rolling it off your hand so it ends up inside-out and throw it away. Then wash your other hand before removing your compression (this will stop your other hand contaminating the compression glove), wash your hands again and reapply your compression.
You may choose to wear a disposable glove over your compression glove for longer periods of the day if you are in a job that requires you to wash your hands frequently. Please remember the glove is there to stop your compression glove becoming contaminated, it will not protect you from the virus. The virus can live on the plastic glove and be transferred in the same way as it can on your hand so the same rules apply – wash your hands frequently and change the disposable glove often.
EDUCATION AND SUPPORT MEETINGS
The meetings of the LAQ’s education and support groups are cancelled for an indefinite period. If you need help, call 1 866 979-2463 // 514 979 2463. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for virtual meeting dates.
INACTIVITY AND HEAVINESS
GO FOR A WALK ! (If, of course, you are not returning from abroad, do not have a fever, do not have flu-like symptoms, and do not live in a country where there are strict containment measures). Walking or any other simple physical activity – indoors or outdoors – stimulates lymphatic circulation and will relieve feelings of heaviness. Don’t forget to respect social distancing measures – so go outside alone or in the company of people who live with you.
(SEE OTHER RESOURCES ON OUR FRENCH WEBSITE)
Lymphoedema Support Network Recommendations https://www.lymphoedema.org/images/pdf/COVID-19.pdf
Videos created and produced by the CHUM to stimulate lymphatic circulation
Casley-Smith exercises for arm and leg
Cervical-facial self-drainage for secondary lymphedema of the head and neck
Klose Training Resources
CONSULT THE YOUTUBE CHANNEL OF YOUR COMPRESSION GARMENT MANUFACTURER (INCLUDING IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER COBAN 3M, JOBST, JUZO, MEDI, SIGVARIS, THUASNE)
Risk Assessment Tool for COVID-19. Does not replace the advice of a health professional and applies only to Quebec citizens. If in doubt, contact 1-877-644-4545 https://covid19.empego.ca/#/