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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » IV antibiotics questions ???

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Author Topic: IV antibiotics questions ???
mmbl
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I am going to be going on IV antibiotics and want to know generally what to expect. Can you hide them from being visible, or are they right on your arm? How often do you have to get new bags? How do you shower? And is there anything else I should be aware of that the doc may not mention??

Just looking for some general answers. Thanks.

Posts: 40 | From NJ | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lymetoo
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I've never had IV, so I can't help much!

Hope someone will be along to help you!!

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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timaca
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I did have IV for 6 months. It did help me, but to be honest, I would try oral antibiotics first, if you haven't, then test and treat for viruses before going through the expense and risk of IVs.

Having said that, my picc line was in my left arm. You could see it when I wore short sleeves. The dressing was changed weekly by a visiting nurse. Labs were drawn weekly too (if I remember correctly---it's been several years now). I showered by wrapping my arm in bread bags which had rubber bands on the top and bottom.

Make sure you do a blood draw from the picc line once a month to check for infections in the line.

Good luck,
Timaca

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Lymeorsomething
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I would agree with Timaca. Exhaust oral experimentation before goin IV. I put IV off another few months because I have noticed some signs of improvement though slight.

The PICC is not without risk. For me, I work in a public building and am exposed to all manner of cooties so having an open wound (even covered) would not be very desirable...

You can always try upping your oral doses first...

--------------------
"Whatever can go wrong will go wrong."

Posts: 2062 | From CT | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Maryland Mom
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I agree with the others that you should attempt to treat with orals first if possible, but if you and your doctor have decided that it is time to go with IV, here are a few tips.

I've had several years of IV through the use of a PICC (not all at the same time--6 months here, a years there), so I know it is possible to learn to live comfortably with this type of treatment.

Depending on the equipment available at your local hospital, your PICC could either be placed into a vein in the crook of your elbow, or higher up the arm into one of the veins in your upper arm.

Placing the PICC higher up the arm is preferable, but not possible without the right equipment and properly trained medical personnel. Those veins are deeper in the arm, and must be accessed while being viewed simultaneously on x ray. Depending on where you live, and who puts in your PICC will determine if placing the PICC in your upper arm is possible.

Either way, your PICC will be visible in short sleeved clothes.

The portion of your PICC that is closest to where the tubing enters your vein will be covered at all times by a sterile dressing. Most likely, your doctor will arrange for a home health care company to visit your home once a week to do your dressing changes for you.

To prevent infection, the PICC must be kept clean and dry at all times. You will not be able to swim, or immerse your arm fully in water. To shower, plastic sleeves are available to cover your PICC and keep it dry. Many home health companies now stock these, so ask the nurse who does your dressing changes about them.

If you can't get the plastic sleeves, medical supply shops stock cast covers that may serve the purpose. In a pinch, a roll of Saran wrap and some medical tape can also do the trick.

For ease of using your PICC, your nurse will most likely place an extension set on it, sort of like screwing two hoses together to make them longer. It will make it easier for you to access the end of your line in order to clean it and attach your IVs.

So that is not just flapping in the breeze, the hospital will probably give you a length of stockinette to place over your dressing to keep the tubing in place.

That stockinette will stretch out and become close to useless fairly quickly, but a good substitute is a ladies thin trouser sock with the toe cut off. I had PICCs for such a long time that I invested in several pairs of trouser socks in different colors that I switched out depending on my outfit.

AS far as the actual infusion of your IVs, how often and how long you do it depends on which type of antibiotic your doctor prescribes.

Whatever antibiotic you use, be assured, you will not be permanently hooked up to an IV bag. In between infusions, wearing a long sleeved shirt, you could go out in public and no one will be able to tell you have that PICC.

Many pharmacies now have the technology to put your IV medicine into pressurized "balls" instead of the old fashioned bags. If you can get them, the balls have some advantages. Unlike the bags, you don't need to worry about hanging it on a pole and making sure gravity is ensuring proper infusion.

I had these IV balls for the last round of my treatment, and they worked so well I could hook one up to my PICC, stick the ball in my pocket, and go about my day until the infusion ended, then disconnect it, flush my line, and toss the empty ball in the trash.

I even wore those balls when I went to Bible study, and occasionally to the grocery store. Most people never noticed them--and if they did, so what?

The home health care pharmacy will probably deliver IV bags or balls to your home about once a week. Once again, it depends on which antibiotic you are on. Different ones will have different shelf life once they are mixed.

I've tried to cover some of the aspects of living with a PICC with the hope of alleviating some of your anxiety, but I'm sure you'll think of many more questions.

You will be trained by the nurse your home health care company provides, so that once you get started, you will be familiar with everything you must do to care for your PICC and do your infusions.

Your nurse should be able to answer any other questions you may have. It's their job to be there to support you.

Wishing you all the best!

Posts: 962 | From Charleston | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mmbl
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Gosh, thanks guys! Lots of useful info!
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icarusalsoflew
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maryland mom,
wow, you just answered ALL of the questions i've been preparing for my LLMD, as i'm starting IV soon. thanks for being so thorough!

mmbl,
good luck! i'm in the same boat.

-lisa

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Parisa
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If it looks like you will be on IV antibiotics for a long time, look into a central line. The line starts in the chest versus the arm.

My husband has had one in now for a year and about 8 months. No problems and lots of improvement. He tried orals but wasn't improving.

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alliebridge
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There's a PICC line cover you can buy for the shower. Sorry, I can't remember the name.

Good advice from Parisa to get a central line if you'll be on IV for more than a few months.

The IV Rocephin balls are great, once per day and you're done and you can travel with them, as mentioned.

The IV Cefotaxime is a bit of a pain as you're not mobile (drip bag, not a ball) and you have to do it three times per day, spaced out 8 hours in-between. I found that very difficult.

One problem I did encounter is the sticky tape they use to tape up the line. It irritated my arm incredibly (bad rash) and was forever itching.

It may have been an allergic reaction to it. But my visiting nurse did say she got many complaints about the itchiness caused by the clear sticky tape.

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farraday
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quote:
Originally posted by alliebridge:
There's a PICC line cover you can buy for the shower. Sorry, I can't remember the name.

Good advice from Parisa to get a central line if you'll be on IV for more than a few months.

The IV Rocephin balls are great, once per day and you're done and you can travel with them, as mentioned.

The IV Cefotaxime is a bit of a pain as you're not mobile (drip bag, not a ball) and you have to do it three times per day, spaced out 8 hours in-between. I found that very difficult.

One problem I did encounter is the sticky tape they use to tape up the line. It irritated my arm incredibly (bad rash) and was forever itching.

It may have been an allergic reaction to it. But my visiting nurse did say she got many complaints about the itchiness caused by the clear sticky tape.



--------------------
DOCTOR: "I don't think you are sick."
PATIENT: "We are all entitled to our opinions. I don't think you are a doctor."

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farraday
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Sorry. I am new to the list and not sure how and where to reply.

Instead of plastic tape, be sure to tell them you are allergic and ask for "paper tape". I actually got scars from that nasty plastic stuff!

--------------------
DOCTOR: "I don't think you are sick."
PATIENT: "We are all entitled to our opinions. I don't think you are a doctor."

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pamoisondelune
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One detail---- have you had a blood coagulation panel test first?

That's a prerequisite before IV.

If you have any genetic propensity for blood clots, you shouldn't have a picc line; you should instead have a peripheral line that is reinserted every week by a nurse.

And do you have protection for your gall bladder lined up?

---Polly Polygonum

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mmbl
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Thanks everyone. I am trying to get an idea. My ID wants to get ready for IV and I have my next appt with him next week. The following day I have an appt with a LLMD recommended on this site. So I will wait to see the LLMD and determine whether or not I need the ID anymore.

But the ID was near certain that's where we were headed due to the fact that I had no response of the 21 day antibiotic. I started a new job today and I don't want to start with a slew of problems. Really wanted to know if I could manage carrying it with me to work and all.

Posts: 40 | From NJ | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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