Lymphedema: Smoking makes the condition worse!

Maintaining healthy skin is essential for those with lymphedema because intact skin, with no scrapes or cuts, prevents bacteria from entering and causing infection.


The swelling of lymphedema stretches the skin and disrupts the skin’s basic protective mechanisms. Also, as lymphedema increases in severity the skin loses its elasticity, becomes thicker and scaly, and is increasingly at risk.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin. This decreases blood flow, which depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients (such as vitamin A) that are important to skin health.

These factors increase damage to the elastic fibers (elastin) and collagen, which give your skin strength and elasticity. When skin is already challenged by the damage of lymphedema, these additional stresses make the condition worse.


Sonja M. Maul PT, CLT-LANA

National Board Certified Lymphedema Therapist


Gardening Tips

Gardening is a popular pastime this time of year, and while most of the time it’s fairly safe there is the possibility of injury.  Aches, pains and other injuries occur every once in a while, but luckily can be easily avoided if you go out prepared.

            Sunscreen, long clothing and sunglasses should be your first line of defense.  You should also drink plenty of water before, during and after being outside.  Dehydration and hot weather can cause “Heat Exhaustion.”

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion include:

·        Muscle cramps

·        Dizziness

·        Headache

·        cold and clammy skin

Immediately go indoors where it is cool and rehydrate.  If left untreated Heat Exhaustion can lead to “Heat Stroke.”  Heat Stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.  Contact your doctor with any questions or concerns about Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke include:

·        Difficulty breathing

·        Hallucinations

·        Seizures

·        Death

Muscular injuries can occur from the heavy lifting, bending, stooping or other repetitive movements.  When working in the garden use a stool to sit on instead of being on your hands and knees; this will help prevent low back, sprained wrists and strained shoulders.  If you are standing most of the time avoid stooping forward; instead bend at your knees or use gardening tools to reach the ground.  It is very common to experience delayed back pain after too much bending or twisting.  Muscles can spasm up to 8 hours AFTER the injury has occurred.  So, maintain good posture at all times.  Another option is to work on a raised bench or elevated plots, so you don’t have to constantly bend down.

Common symptoms of low back injuries include:

·        Pain when bending forward

·        Pain or stiffness rising from bed or a chair

Common symptoms of shoulder injuries include:

·        Pain when reaching over head

·        Pain and stiffness when reaching behind you

·        Difficulty twisting lids off jars

            Prevention is the best way to avoid injuries and pain this spring.  Remember these tips in order to help have a fruitful and pain-free summer.

·        Plan ahead with appropriate amounts of water, clothing and tools.

·        Gardening in the early morning and late evening in order to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

·        Stretching before AND after, especially if you have any history of injures.

Camp of Champs

Last week (June 11, 12 & 13) SLIERS, The Boise Burn and Project Filter presented the Camp of Champs. This was the second year of the camp and every bit as successful as the first.  Each day held a morning and an afternoon session.  The ages of the athletes ranged from 6-12 years-old, with the first sessions of camp focusing on the younger crowd. 

During camp sessions, the future Burn worked with the current Burn and Burn coaches.  They ran drills and worked on skills for the first portion in order to get warmed up for their big entrance where they ran through the tunnel with the arena lights off, the spot lights and smoke on, and their names blaring over the sound-system.  Players and campers bounced around to music while shouting Burn cheers.  The camp finished with Head Coach Lee Leslie giving a motivational speech for both campers and parents.

But, the excitement didn’t stop there.  Every camper was invited back to wear their camp shirt and run through the tunnel with the Burn players at Saturday night’s game. 

Overall, it was a great success and we look forward to next year!      

Summertime Parenting Tips

Now that summer time is upon us, it is important to remember that all children will continue to need structure, as well as time to play and be a child!  Now that you are spending more time at home with your child it can be easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated.  Remembering to use a few simple, easy tips can make your precious time with your children more enjoyable over the next summer months!

Using Consequences to Change Behavior:

  • Consequences teach children to think and to learn that their actions lead to results, both positive and negative.
  • There are 2 kinds of consequences-positive and negative
    • Positive consequences are things people like and are willing to work on in order to obtain. Behavior that is followed by a positive consequence is more likely to occur again.
      • rewards and privileges
        • Activities
        • Small rewards/Food
        • People
        • Attention

o Negative Consequences are things people don’t like and want to avoid. Behavior that is followed by a negative consequence is less likely to occur again.

  • Taking away a privilege and adding chores
  • Time out

Bribe VS Rewards

  • It’s bribery when parents give consequences to stop children’s misbehavior, i.e. giving a child a candy bar when he is crying and screaming in the grocery store in order to be quiet.

Choosing a consequence:

  • The consequence has to be important to the child
  • Consequences are more effective if they occur immediately after the child’s behavior
  • Parents should be aware of the size of the consequences and try to give the smallest consequence that will work
  • link the consequence to the behavior

 Julie King, LCSW- Adult and Pediatric Counseling

Lymphedema: Infections Related to Lymphedema

Infections that can develop within the affected tissues are a serious complication associated with lymphedema. The risk of infection increases when lymphedema is not controlled by proper treatment and appropriate precautions.

The risks of lymphedema related infections are due to:

  • The swelling of lymphedema compromises the health of the skin.
  • Protein-rich stagnant lymph within these swollen tissues creates an environment that pathogens love!
  • The deep skin folds resulting from the lymphedema are an ideal breeding ground for fungal infections.


Cellulitis (sell-you-LYE-tis) is an infection that spreads freely, and quickly within the deeper tissues of the skin. Cellulitis becomes a life-threatening emergency when it spreads through the lymphatic or circulatory systems and can reach vital organs and other body parts.

Cellulitis is usually caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus that normally live on the skin. Any break in the skin, no matter how small, provides an opening for them to march in, multiply, and thrive. Even a simple act such as shaving a swollen leg could be an invitation to infection.

Symptoms of Cellulitis

  • Malaise (a general sense of not feeling well)
  • Flu-like symptoms 
  •  Chills and fever
  • Discoloration (redness, or streaky red lines)
  • Rash
  • Tissues that feel hot and tender
  • Sudden swelling
  • Itching
  • Pain

This type of infection requires prompt treatment with antibiotics.  See a Physician immediately if you think you may have a Cellulitis infection in a Lymphatic limb!!

Sonja M. Maul PT, CLT-LANA

National Board Certified Lymphedema Therapist