This email was sent out by the Wittlinger Therapy Centre, Austria, earlier today - it explains a lot in an easy to read way:
Since we have received more requests in the past few days about whether people with lymphoedema disease have an increased risk of COVID 19 infection, we have summarized the essential information for you.
As a lymphedema patient, you are not one of the mentioned risk group due to your immune deficiency, because this immunodeficiency is only locally limited to the lymphoedema affected areas of the body, such as mostly legs or arms.
You only have an increased risk of covid-19 if in addition to your lymphedema disease, general risk factors are added to it such as
• older age (over 65)
• chronic lung diseases
(Asthma, COPD, Pulmonary fibrosis)
• Limited heart performance
• Diabetes mellitus
• Immunosuppression therapy
(after organ transplant, rheumatherapy with cortisone therapy)
Lymphedema patients also have no increased risk of severe disease in the event of COVID 19 infection.
According to the German Cancer Research Center, there is currently little information on how cancer patients react to an infection with Corona. However, since they can have a weakened immune system, they could also become more severe with Covid-19
With a good body hygiene that you should always keep due to your lymphedema disease, you reduce the risk of contagion with Covid-19. Especially frequent hand washing, disinfection and skin care, we can advise you to avoid infection.
If you are prevented from getting the necessary manual lymph drainage because of the initial prohibitions imposed or due to the closure of therapy institutes or practice, you will intensify your learned gymnastics programs to decongestion. Note that you are bandaged or wear a suitable compression stocking and apply the lymphatic drainage handles you have learned several times a day.
If you wear a compression glove or arm stocking with glove, we recommend to do the following (source: Homepage "GDL"):
Most compression stockings manufacturers advise to follow the washing instructions on your clothes, but make sure to wash your compression stockings every day. We were told that antibacterial handles don't damage the clothes. Most compression stockings can be washed in the washing machine at 40 ℃ and then dried in the dry dry cleaning of the tumble dryer. If your compression stocking cannot be dried in the dryer, dry it thoroughly in the air before use.
Most compression stockings remain even after approx. 100 washing processes in good condition, but if placed in a net wash bag, they are even better protected.
You can wear a disposable glove over the compression glove for extended periods of time a day if you are working in a profession where you often need to wash your hands. Please remember that the glove is used to prevent contamination of your compression glove; it will not protect you from the virus. The virus can live on the plastic glove and be transmitted in the same way as by your hand, so the same rules apply - frequent washing and changing the glove.
For some people it may be a challenge to get a disposable glove that fits over the swollen hand. You may need to experiment with the sizes. If you can't find a suitable size, talk to your therapists to see if it's appropriate that you temporarily change the glove when you wear it.
Carry a spare compression glove / replacement compression stocking in a sealed plastic bag if you fear your glove may have been contaminated. Put the polluted glove in the plastic bag and lock it until it can be washed and remember to throw away the plastic bag.
Should you develop signs of disease such as fever or symptoms similar to flu (limb pain, fatigue chills), call HOTLINE 1450. You should also indicate that you are suffering from lymphotline to give the opportunity to the hotline to query fever and chills as a symptom of an erysipel and differential diagnosis.
We hope we can take away the uncertainty with this information and wish you all the best and good health!
Your team from the Wittlinger Therapy Center