We all know that seasonal influenza and the newly emerged COVID-19 can cause severe health problems for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
So how can medical hosiery help during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Anyone who is forced to reduce their mobility as a result of sickness like influenza, or those who are stuck in self-isolation or quarantine will benefit by wearing quality graduated compression socks and stockings.
Medical hosiery improves your circulation and moves lymphatic fluid around the body, which can, in turn, strengthen your body’s immune response to infection and help prevent health complications arising from illness.
How COVID-19 affects humans differently – The Facts
It has emerged that the new coronavirus is not an equal-opportunity virus: having pre-existing health conditions or being elderly increases your risk of severe illness and death from the disease the virus causes: COVID-19.
Data shows that males may also be at increased risk. We’ve compiled a list of statistics below so you can be as well informed as possible:
- The World Health Organization found that 78% of the cases reported in China (as of Feb. 20th) were in people ages 30 to 69.
- The fatality rate was 14.8% in people 80 or older, 1.3% for people in their 50’s, 0.4% for people in their 40’s, and 0.2% in people 10 to 39.
- China’s Centre for Disease Control found that 106 men had the disease for every 100 women, while reports from the WHO show men equate for 51% of cases.
- Comorbidities (pre-existing illnesses) raise the risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19. China’s Centre for Disease Control investigation of 44,672 patients found the fatality rate in patients with cardiovascular disease was 10.5%, 6.0% for those with hypertension and 7.3% for those with diabetes.
As you can see above, the immunocompromised, those with pre-existing illnesses and the elderly are in the high-risk category for developing COVID-19.
If you or your family (especially your elderly family members) don’t currently wear medical-grade graduated compression hosiery, now just might be the time to start.
Top 10 categories of people who should wear graduated compression socks or medical hosiery:
- Those with varicose veins
- Those with cellulitis or venous leg ulcers
- The elderly and immunocompromised people
- Those who are pregnant
- Those with Lymphoedema or Lipedema
- Those who are bedridden or inactive for long periods of time
- Those who are on their feet for long periods
- Those who have previously had or are at risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
- Those who have swelling in their legs or poor circulation
- Those with tired or aching legs
In addition to the above list, many people without any of the above pre-existing conditions report that wearing compression socks or stockings daily has made them feel healthier overall, and less fatigued.
How do Medical Grade Graduated Compression Socks and Stockings work?
Quality compression hosiery is designed to put pressure on the tissue, which pushes blood and lymphatic fluid from the bottom of your legs upwards so it can return to the heart.
This is why compression socks and stockings are tighter at the ankle than they are at the top.
If you suffer from any of the above conditions, are elderly or unwell, your vascular system may not be working to its fullest capacity.
Wearing the appropriate style of properly fitted socks or stockings can make a big difference to your vascular health, and therefore your overall well-being.
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that appear blue-ish or purple in appearance.
When vein walls and vein valves become impaired, they stop functioning correctly. Blood starts to pool in the vein or starts to flow in the incorrect direction.
In 2018 researchers found that those who wore compression stockings with pressure from 18-21 mmHg for a period of only one week experienced a reduction of pain associated with varicose veins.
Venous Leg Ulcers:
Venous ulcers are wounds that occur due to impaired function of venous valves, usually of the legs and are responsible for up to 90% of leg ulcer cases.
Leg ulcers have a recurrence rate of 72% partially caused by patients not adhering to their compression therapy. In order to manage and decrease the risk of recurrence, a healthy circulatory system is crucial. Between 50% and 60% of patients with venous leg ulcers heal with compression therapy alone during a six-month period.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):
DVT is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when blood clots form in veins deep inside your body, mainly in the legs.
These clots can break off and travel in the bloodstream to the lungs, which can prevent blood from reaching the lungs and can cause death. This condition is known as pulmonary embolism.
A 2014 study followed 1,681 people. Only 9% of those who wore compression stockings before and after surgery, developed DVT whereas 21% of those who didn’t wear compression stockings developed DVT.
Another study from 2009 showed compression garments can reduce the risk of DVT by 63%.
The lymphatic system has no central pump to move fluid to the lymph glands. A lymphatic system that functions poorly can cause tissues to become swollen with fluid. This is called lymphedema.
Compression is an important treatment for lymphedema as compressing the affected tissue pushes lymphatic fluids to move toward your torso and heart, and out of the arm or leg in a more normal pattern of circulation.
One study showed that lymphedema after mastectomy was reduced by 17%. Subsequent treatment for ten days produced an additional significant volume decrease of 18%.
Relapse was prevented by further treatment with compression sleeves.
A 2014 study split a total of eighty patients with cellulitis into 2 groups. One group of patients (group A) were managed with compression therapy and the other group (group B) were not.
Group A had a greater reduction in pain, tenderness, and odema as compared to group B patients. The length of hospital stay for group A was 10.2 days compared to 13.4 days in group B.
Compression garments provide relief from a variety of problems and discomfort associated with postpartum/pregnancy. Swelling throughout the body, back, pelvic and hip pain, poor circulation, and varicose veins can all be reduced and improved by using compression garments.
Bodyment carry a range of girdles, maternity bras, compression socks/stockings and maternity support bands to help you find relief.
How wearing medical hosiery is beneficial to everyone
Previously compression stocking and socks were only used as a tool by the elderly or overweight to treat ailments such as diabetes, varicose veins, and lymphedema.
But recent advances in science shows us that compression therapy can be of great benefit to not only the ill and sedentary but also the highly active and healthy.
Athletes, pilots, truck drivers, hospitality workers, air hostesses and many more all wear compression garments and have reported fewer aches and pains in their legs and overall less fatigue.
Compression Gradients – Which medical hosiery strength is right for you?
Medical Grade Graduated Compression socks and stockings come in different strengths or amounts of compression.
Depending upon your needs and the recommendation of your Health Professional, Bodyment can help with different brands, compression levels, and sizing.
The amount of compression is determined in the amount of compression from the ankle to the top in millimeters of mercury (or mmHg).
That calculation is often broken down into classes – Class I, Class II, etc.
The most used compression levels:
- 8-15mmHg – Anti-embolism or “TED”
- 15-20mmHg – Class I or Travel Socks
- 20-30mmHg – Class II
- 30-40mmHg – Class III
Then there is the medical hosiery that is not classified. These garments have all-over compression and are not recommended as they do not push fluids upwards through the legs.
We understand compression gradients and knowing which type you need to buy can be confusing, so we’ve broken down the different types of compression classes below into easy to understand categories:
Anti-embolism socks and stockings are graduated compression, but they are designed only for wear when immobile for long periods.
These include the white stockings provided in hospitals which are rightly used during and after surgical procedures.
They do provide great benefits, but not if you are active and mobile most of the day. They are not recommended to be worn as travel or flight socks.
15-20mmHg – Class I
Is generally used as a preventative form of compression. Ideal for those with aching legs or those who are on their feet for long periods.
They are also used to help prevent the onset of varicose or spider veins. They’re great for everyday wear and really keep your legs feeling and looking healthy.
This level of compression is also recommended for wear during pregnancy.
20-30mmHg – Class II
By far this is the most widely used compression level. Prescribed by Doctors to be worn after any procedure involving the Vascular System.
Also, if you have had a DVT or already suffer from Varicose Veins or leg ulcers, this hosiery will be the most effective and provide great relief from swelling.
30-40mmHg – Class III
If you have Lymphoedema or Lipoedema then your Doctor will most likely prescribe this level of compression.
It is not generally used for other conditions so please ensure you check with your Health Professional before ordering Class III hosiery.
- Purchase more than one pair of medical hosiery as you will need one garment to wear whilst the other is in the wash
- Take your measurements when your legs are NOT swollen, this means first thing in the morning
- We recommend putting on your socks or stockings first thing in the morning
- If you have toe problems or larger feet, opt for open-toe socks/stockings
- If you are flying, we urge you to purchase compression stocking/stocks. Those who do not wear compression garments when flying are 12.5 time more likely to develop Deep Vein Thrombosis.
Bodyment’s ultimate goal is always wellbeing and for now we encourage you to wear your compression garments, wash your hands often and to practice social distancing, especially if you are recovering from a recent surgery.
If you have any concerns, please contact us, we’re here to help!