I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time I showered with a PICC Line. Though my parents urged me to take a bath instead of a shower (sage advice) or to wait until I hadn’t MacGyvered my own PICC Line shower cover (also words of wisdom) – I was determined to manage my first shower with a PICC Line on my own. Even with the right PICC line waterproof cover, your first shower can be scary. Here are my top three tips for managing that first shower, and keeping your PICC Line protected throughout.
You don’t want your PICC Line to get wet.
When a Hickman PICC Line gets wet, it allows for the spread of infection. Because your PICC is directly connected to your heart, infection that originates from your insertion site can quickly spread through the body. You want to take every precaution to keep your PICC Line dry.
During my first shower, I made my own PICC Line shower cover out of a grocery bag. I was lucky to avoid getting it wet or infected on that first try, but I quickly learned that I needed to get some kind of PICC Line protector to relieve my stress and keep me safe.
The Nistaa Waterproof barrier is a great option for this, recommended here by the Mighty Well team in one of our older blogs. Christina Doherty recommended the Auqua Guard in her Mighty Well interview about shower tips (check it out here). You need to find the product that’s right for you, but make sure you prepare yourself with some kind of PICC Line waterproof cover before your first shower.
Try a bath instead of a shower.
A bath allows for more mobility and reduces the risk of water getting near the PICC Line insertion site. I was more comfortable in the bath when I had my PICC Line, because I felt like I could more easily control what parts of me got wet.
Even though I wanted to manage my first shower alone, I knew that my parents were right outside and ready to help me if they needed to. Give yourself some peace of mind, and put a plan in place so that you know what to do in case of emergency.
If your PICC line does get wet, immediately dry the area and call your home health nurse to schedule an emergency dressing change or have a trained family member change your dressing. The sooner your dressing is changed, the lower the risk of infection. You can read our tips on How to Change Your PICC Line Dressing here.
Everyone is going to learn how to manage this process differently. It can be nerve wracking at the start, but with a bit of practice you’ll get the hang of it.
Do you have specific questions about your PICC Line? Join us in our Friends in the Fight Group to connect with our supportive and knowledgeable community!