Lyme warrior, Sara, reveals her top daily tips and tricks for keeping a clean PICC line. She encourages fellow fighters to always protect their PICC lines with a PICCPerfect cover! Read her blog below:
1. ALWAYS HAVE CLEAN HANDS.
I like to keep EO Hand Sanitizer in my bag and next to my bed. They have spray, gel, and wipes. Even though I always have my PICCPerfect on, germs are still a huge risk. This hand sanitizer is all natural and doesn’t dry out your hands.
2. IF YOU'RE SWEATY, USE BODY WIPES!
Especially in the summer, I have a pack of Acure Organics or Honest Wipes on me all the time. I use it under my arms or on my face and neck since Babesia (a co-infectious parasite that often travels with the Lyme bacteria) gives me sweats. I try to stay cool so I don’t sweat under my dressing.
3. CHANGE YOUR DRESSING IF YOU NOTICE SWEAT OR MOISTURE TRAPPED UNDER IT.
Call your home health company if you notice any moisture! Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria. Your home health company can send a nurse, or if you or a caregiver who is trained to do it. Just make sure your dressing is dry and always wear a mask during dressing changes for safety precautions!
4. USE IV CLEAR AS YOUR DRESSING.
IV Clear™ by Covalon is a dressing that uses a silicone based adhesive that has chlorhexidine and silver already in it, so you don’t need a biopatch if you don’t want one. It’s antimicrobial and comfortable! Most supply companies don’t carry it but it can be ordered.
5. IF YOU NOTICE BLOOD, CHECK WITH A NURSE!
If your biopatch is bloody, or if you don’t use a biopatch and notice some blood under your dressing, check with a nurse! I was told to call my nurse or home healthcare company if there is an unusual amount of blood. Right after my PICC placement, I had to get my dressing changed a day after because of blood, but that is normal.
6. USE A SWAB CAP WHEN YOU AREN'T USING YOUR LINE.
Swab caps are caps with a little sponge saturated with alcohol on the inside. It keeps the end of your line clean when you aren’t using it. After I got my first PICC line, the Interventional Radiology team didn’t put a swab cap at the end of my line. A week later, my line was infected (not directly because of being without a swab cap). The nurse at the ER where I got my line placed was asking me why I didn’t have it capped and I had no idea what she was talking about. Now I know to keep a swab cap on it, and to ask for one when they’re done using it at the hospital. Your doctor can write an order for them, or you can message @EyeVeeLab on Instagram to order.
7. DON'T GET IT WET!
Use a cover in the shower. You can make one out of saran wrap and waterproof tape, or buy ones like the LimbO or the Dry Pro. My nursing company gives me Hydroseal, but I’ve tried that at least 5 times and it didn’t work once unless the edges are sealed with waterproof tape. I don’t have tips for swimming because I haven’t tried that yet, but even if your line is protected, I don’t recommend public hot tubs, or hot tubs treated with chemicals. They are really germy and the chemicals aren’t good for you.
8. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WEAR YOUR PICCPERFECT PICC LINE COVER!
My PICCPerfect protects my line from my dogs and cats. They like to sniff it and have tried to nibble on my PICC line, so it definitely needs protection! My cover keeps it clean and controls the tubing so that it isn’t hanging out everywhere. Plus they’re pretty cute--a few times, people have thought it was just a fashion accessory!