Any medical device comes with risks and fears. PICC lines, while safer alternatives for those needing frequent IV treatments, do come with risk of complications.
The good news is that how you take care of your PICC can make a world of difference! We have asked our Friends in the Fight, over the years, for their tips and tricks. Here are some highlights:
A lot of people, like myself, have issues with adhesive allergies, so if the first dressing you have causes a rash or skin irritation, don’t fret! There are lots of different see-through dressings to try. From Tegaderm to IV 3000 and beyond, your PICC care nurse or doctor who placed the line should be able to help you find a solution. If you can’t tolerate any adhesive, they can do something called a dry dressing. Don’t worry if you have issues at first with your line; the healthcare world is huge, and there are lots of options out there!
2. keep it clean and dry
PICC lines are like a portal to the inside of your body. It is a medical miracle to be able to access such important blood vessels without needles, but it’s important to also remember that the reason our skin is there is to protect us from infection. Keep it covered (see #5!) and talk to your doctor about the best way to change dressings and administer treatments. Medical professionals will be taking care of you along the way. Make sure you (and your medical providers) keep your hands and products clean before touching your PICC line or changing dressings. Since bacteria love moisture, be sure to keep your PICC line dry at all times.
3. know the risks and how to prevent them
There are other risks besides infection, such as blood clots, air embolisms, and the line getting dislodged. Check out tips here for avoiding these complications, and be sure to ask your doctor if you have questions.
On that note…
4. when in doubt, ask your team!
Medical devices require frequent care and questions. Your team will tell you how to care for your specific device, but it’s easy to forget or feel unsure once you are home. Don’t be afraid to reach out with a phone call or portal message! Even if your question does not pose an immediate health risk, having an answer will help you feel more comfortable and cared for.
5. wear a PICC line cover
To make this time easier for yourself, consider getting a PICCPerfect PICC line cover! It is easy to use, and comes in a variety of patterns and sizes. Its features are built to keep your PICC line safe:
- Antimicrobial fabric wards off infection
- Anti-slip edges keep your line safe and secure while sleeping (even if you move around a lot!)
- Soft-touch fabric keeps you comfortable while providing protection from the younger family members or pets you may be cooped up with
For more information on sizing, features, or a video demonstration, click here.
For more PICC line advice, check out what to expect during PICC placement, what not to do with a PICC line, protecting your PICC line, and more! Or, join the Friends in the Fight facebook group to find out what other patients are doing to keep their PICC lines safe and comfortable!
Shop the PICCPerfect
Got more questions about PICC Lines? Join us in our Friends in the Fight Group ;to connect with our community.