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Can I still fly?

No one is going travelling anytime soon during this current COVID-19 climate, but there’s no harm in dreaming right?  But you might also be thinking “Can I still fly?”.  It’s often the most common question we hear as therapists.  The answer is Yes, however there are characteristics of flying that can increase your risk of Lymphoedema whilst in the air.

For instance, being stationary when flying means that the muscle pump in our body isn’t working to help circulate the lymphatic fluid from our legs and arms.  We also aren’t taking deep breaths which means that the diaphragm isn’t able to perform its’ role in the movement of fluid.  We also know that sitting can cause fluid to accumulate in the feet and ankles 

So to have you well prepared for that next journey you’re dreaming of, we’ve put together a travel checklist to ensure your lymphatic system can work effectively up in the air:

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Here’s a travel checklist for you to ensure your lymphatic system can work effectively up in the air:

  1. Keep moving – perform seated exercises like ankle pumping, shoulder rolls and head turns.  Also try to get up each hour and walk up and down the aisle if you are on a longer flight.  These movements will help keep the muscle pump working and fathe uptake of fluid that accumulates whilst sitting
  2. Deep breathing – taking 10 deep breaths each hour will help keep your diaphragm active, assisting the transportation of lymphatic fluid
  3. Stay hydrated – avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption before and during your flight to avoid dehydration and the potential accumulation of fluid in the extremities 
  4. Compression garment –  If you are at risk  of developing Lymphoedema and your flight is longer than 8 hours, ensure that you see your lymphoedema therapist one month prior to your trip to organise a light, well fitted compression sleeve.  If you have been diagnosed with Lymphoedema, ensure that you have a well fitting garment that you can wear on the flight.  

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