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Air travel, for those that are at risk for lymphedema or have been diagnosed with lymphedema, has created a new set of concerns.  During air travel you should always wear a form of compression therapy (compression garment or bandages, etc.). Talk with your physician on what is most appropriate to wear if you are traveling by air.  The pressure in the cabin can increase swelling in a lymphedematous limb and can create complications during flight.  Refrain from carrying or lifting luggage or excessive exercising while traveling to reduce the risk of extreme swelling. To view our lymphedema products, please click here.

It is advised that during air travel you want to move arms and legs frequently to prevent swelling every 30-60 minutes.

The following suggestions will help provide you with travel guidelines:

  • Find a seat with adequate leg room or on the aisle so you can move around as needed.
  • Consider obtaining a note from your physician regarding your lymphedema in case there is a security question about your bandages or garments.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing.
  • Get up every 30-60 minutes to help prevent swelling in the limbs.
  • Get adequate rest and do not over exert your normal activity levels.
  • Take in adequate amounts of fluid
  • Maintain healthy eating habits.
  • Make sure you have all of your necessary antibiotics and directions from your physician before you leave.
  • Wear a Lymphedema alert bracelet to let others know in case of a medical emergency.
  • Be measured for a well fit compression garment for air travel
  • Obtain compression of no greater than 20-30 mmHg for upper extremity support and no greater than 30-40 mmHg for lower extremity support.
  • Be sure to wear your compression garment the day of your travel before leaving your home.
  • Leave the garment or bandages on until you have reached your destination.

Resource: National Lymphedema Network, Saskia R.J. Thiadens, R.N. 1995.