Lymphedema most often begins with swelling of the hands and feet. If you notice persistent swelling in an extremity, it is very important that you seek immediate medical advice as early diagnosis and treatment improves both the prognosis and the condition. When lymphedema remains untreated, the limb becomes more edematous and the skin hardens, losing its elasticity (fibrosis). Moreover, untreated lymphedema leads to infection and sometimes irreversible complications. The degree of swelling you are experiencing will determine some of your clothing needs.
In general, follow these simple rules:
Lymphedema causes an infection when the lymphatic flow is obstructed. Lymph fluid is rich in albumin or protein. The lymph fluid accumulates and becomes stagnant in the tissues of the limb closest to the obstruction. This creates an environment favorable for the growth of bacteria and ultimately, infection. Low prophylactic doses of antibiotics frequently are prescribed for people who experience recurrent infections. Note: Always carry your antibiotics or a prescription with you when you travel.