WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Superficial thrombophlebitis (STP) is inflammation of your superficial veins caused by a blood clot. The superficial veins are blood vessels just under the skin. This condition most often appears in the legs, but may also occur in the arms.
- Acetaminophen: This medicine decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
- Blood thinners: This medicine helps prevent clots from forming in the blood. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. Use an electric razor and soft toothbrush to help prevent bleeding.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or hematologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Manage your symptoms:
- Pressure stockings: These are long, tight stockings that put pressure on your legs to promote blood flow and prevent clots.
- Exercise: Walking will help improve blood flow and decrease inflammation. Do not stand or sit for long periods of time, because the blood will pool in your legs. Walk around 5 minutes for every 1 hour that you sit or stand in one place. Ask your primary healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
- Heat: Heat helps decrease pain and improves blood flow. Apply heat on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed.
- Elevate: Raise your leg or arm above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your leg or arm on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Ask your primary healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
- Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or hematologist if:
- Your symptoms return after treatment.
- Your symptoms keep you from your daily activities.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your leg or arm turns pale or blue.
- Your leg or arm becomes hot or cold.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.