Having a PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line for the first time can be daunting. The chances are you may have several questions regarding its procedure or how to care for it or how it is like to live with a PICC line or whether you will need a PICC line shower cover or not. If that’s the case, you should know that you are not alone. It’s common and happens with every first-time PICC user.
Here’s what to expect when you are getting a PICC line:The procedure
A PICC line placement usually takes place in a radiology interventional procedure room and takes about an hour. Your physician will ask you to lie down on a procedure table and rest your arm in which the line is to be inserted on board for support. Then, they will find the right vein for insertion (they may also use medical imaging equipment such as ultrasound to find the vein) and sterilize the arm and inject local anesthesia under your skin. It is likely to sting or burn, but after a few seconds, your arm will be numb, and you will not feel anything during the entire procedure.
With the help of an ultrasound, the physician will slowly thread the PICC line through the vein up towards the heart. Since you will not be able to feel anything, you should be calm and relaxed during the procedure. Once the line has been placed, the physician or nurse will guide you about the care of the PICC line. They may also advise you to use a PICC line shower cover to keep water at bay when showering.The first week after the PICC line placement
After the one-hour procedure, you should head back home, eat nutritious foods or drink juice, and rest for a few hours. In the first few days, your arm may feel numb, sore, or swollen, but that is normal. Besides, you will have to pay meticulous attention to your PICC line and follow the care instructions to keep it clean and dry. Make sure you buy a PICC line shower cover as soon as possible to protect it from water when engaging in activities that involve water. Not following the post-care guidelines will make your PICC site more vulnerable to infection.Living with a PICC line
Many people think that having a PICC line slows life down; however, this isn’t the case. You can move through your life as you did before having it as long as you follow the necessary steps to prevent infection. And as you go along, you will get better at living with a PICC line and enjoying life as you did before.In a nutshell
If you are going to have a PICC line placed, remember to be calm and relaxed during the procedure. Also, take special care of the line to rule out the risk of infection. Consider buying a PICC line shower cover to shower without worrying about water entering the site.
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