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PICC Catheter and Site Care

Your PICC will need to be cared for and kept clean. Care will include changing the dressing any time it becomes loose, soiled, or wet and at least one time every week. This may be done by a healthcare provider, or at the suggestion of the healthcare provider, by you, a family member, or friend that has been taught how the dressing is changed.

A sterile end cap will be placed on the end of the catheter. This keeps the catheter closed when not being used. Notify your healthcare provider if your end cap(s) becomes loose, comes off, or is leaking. The end caps should be changed often, and your healthcare provider will help you understand this process.

Should I limit my activities while I have a PICC?

Generally, bending your arm, reaching and doing everyday activities will not harm your PICC. You should not lift heavy objects, or carry objects held in the bend of your arm that may put strain on the PICC or the dressing. 

If your healthcare provider approves, you may take a shower or bath with the PICC in place as long as you cover the PICC and dressing with plastic wrap, a plastic bag or material that will keep it from getting wet. You should NOT do other activities, like swimming, that may get the catheter or dressing wet. A wet dressing or catheter may put you at risk for infection. 

Notify your healthcare provider or seek medical attention if you have:

- Redness, soreness or swelling at the PICC insertion site or on your arm.
- Fever,  chills or vomiting
- Any problems with your catheter while caring for it
- Difficulty giving medications, or being able to draw blood
- A catheter that becomes damaged in any way, leaks, is torn or broken

picc site care