Coping in Hot Weather 

Wearing Compression Therapy

 We know living with long-term conditions, such as lymphoedema and lipoedema, which require consistent compression therapy all year round, can be challenging and, at times, down-right difficult. 

Your symptoms can be exacerbated by the summer-time heat unfortunately. This is because the summer heat can cause veins to dilate and, without compression therapy, this can lead to increased swelling and discomfort in affected limbs. People with existing conditions, such as lymphoedema or varicose veins, can also suffer more with the sensation of 'heavy legs'.

 And yet when it is hot and sticky outside, the very last thing you may feel like doing is pulling on those tight compression therapy garments which help to treat the swelling and discomfort. It is a tricky dilemma…

So how can you stay cool while wearing your all-important compression?

 Woman holding her swollen leg having removed her compression stocking

Tips for Coping in the Heat While Wearing Compression Garments

  • Try to wear your compression therapy every day. Limbs can expand in hot weather so it is more important than ever to keep swelling under control.
  • Wash your compression therapy garments every day. Throughout the day our bodies sweat in the heat and compression garments will loosen. Washing your compression garments every day will help you to stay fresh and comfortable in the heat and ensure after each wear the material returns to the correct pressure , ready for the next wear. You may find you require more than two pairs of compression garments during the summer months as a result.
  • Dampen your compression garments (while wearing them) if you need to cool yourself down. You can use a spray bottle or the shower head on a fine mist setting to spray your affected limbs while wearing your compression therapy. However, please do not do this if you have dressings in place.
  • Switch to skin-coloured compression therapy garments for the summer months. Darker colours, such as black, attract the heat and can make you feel even hotter and sweatier.
  • Switch to open-toe garments for affected legs, if possible. Check with your GP or specialist nurse if this is a suitable option for you. Open-toe compression garments can help you to feel a bit cooler and give you the opportunity to wear sandals and paint your toenails.
  • Switch from tights to stockings for affected legs, if possible. Again, check with your GP or specialist nurse if this is a suitable option for you.
  • Check if your compression therapy garments are made from 100% cotton, if not, see if you can switch. Compression garments that are 100% cotton are breathable and will help you to keep cool. They are also best if you have sensitive skin or experience sensitivity due to the heat.
  • Seek shade and avoid the mid-day sun. The sun is at its hottest from 11am-3pm, try to seek shade whenever possible when outside to help you keep cool.​​

Woman wearing her compression arm sleeve in the summer

Further information & support

If you are struggling to cope with your symptoms or to wear your compression therapy during hot weather, please do seek further support. You are not alone.

Contact your GP or specialist nurse for more advice and to make alterations to your prescription, if possible.

For further support, please contact the Lymphoedema Support Network or Lipoedema UK. Both charities offer lots of help and advice about managing these long-term conditions and operate a helpline.