It is essential to keep the PICC line site dry and protected from moisture while showering or bathing. Moisture is not only a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, it can also compromise the protective dressing, potentially leading to infection and skin irritation at the insertion site. Vital Line PICC and Vascular Services does not endorse or recommend any particular protective cover during showering or bathing, however we should emphasize that protective coverings should have the following properties:
- Provides a protective barrier to keep the PICC or Midline dressing dry and intact.
- Should be a medically approved cover that provides an effective shield against water. (Improvising with homemade inventions is not advisable. While they may appear to be affordable, they usually do not adequately protect the PICC line site and may eventually lead to costly dressing changes or even worst, an infection.)
The following tips may be used to keep the catheter site dressing dry and intact:
- If using an adhesive dressing, limit the use of oils in the area to allow for optimal adhesion of the dressing
- Gauze can be may be applied over the dressing to absorb any moisture that may penetrate.
- Use a brand new water proof adhesive dressing cover every time. Please note that some manufacturers offer protective gloves or sleeves that are reusable.
- Check to be sure that the dressing adheres properly. If not, it is best to discard the dressing and attempt again. The cost of a new dressing is far less expensive than the risk of infection.
- Be sure that the water proof dressing adhesive does not go near the actual line dressing.
- This may inadvertently remove the dressing while attempting to remove the water proof barrier.
- Be sure to dry the water proof cover before removing it
- Limit shower times to no longer than 15 minutes
- Hot steamy showers may compromise the adhesive on the water proof dressing. Warm showers are preferable.
If you notice any redness, swelling or drainage around the site of your catheter, please contact your physician right away.