This is topic PICC/Port showering and Other Issues in forum Medical Questions at LymeNet Flash.

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Posted by FromTickToPicc (Member # 45683) on :
Well I finally got a PICC -- a "tunneled PICC" to be exact that actually comes out of my upper chest like a Hickman catheter. I preferred this for easy access and to not involve my arms which I didn't want to do, and it works *fine* in most respects, except that:

-- showers are a nightmare. I cover the dressing w/ sterile gauze and then a Shower Shield and waterproof tape -- last time it was *two* Shower Shields -- and am trying to be careful the whole time and then the gauze gets drenched and so does the Tegaderm -- I have no idea how or why. But I'm doing tons of at-home dressing changes and now am afraid to shower. I don't have a bathtub right now.

-- I'm really sensitive to both the chloraprep and iodine for the dressing change. Both cause my skin to get so itchy and burning I want to rip it off. It subsides after a couple of days, but then starts all over again with the next dressing change.

Anyway, in terms of shower, I'm curious if anyone has ever tried:

-- hairdresser's cape with a towel wrapped around the neck so it's tight?

-- actual wetsuit or "spring suit" which from what I can tell is a neoprene thing like a lighter wetsuit

-- these strange products I just found on Amazon that involve a kind of shower cap embedded with shampoo -- there's even a frag. free version -- and the shampoo is "no rinse" and stays contained in the cap so one can basically sponge bathe one's hair with these

-- any other techniques or contortions I can't imagine right now?

-- dry shampoo (homemade or otherwise) on super greasy hair that does not last long without being washed

I really would rather not get a systemic blood infection, thank you very much.

Also, re: the sensitivities and itching and burning and etc. etc. -- did I make a mistake getting a PICC instead of a Port? Are all of these things way easier w/ a Port? I'd love to hear from those who have had both, especially.
Posted by terv (Member # 29410) on :
I had a central port which is what I think you have. It stuck out of my chest and was covered with a dressing.

Regarding the showers. I think I went through the same things as you and eventually came to the realization that I would never take a normal shower while I had central line in.

So I installed a hand held shower, covered the dressing and line with Glad Press and seal. (I didn't stick it on the dressing, just my skin surrounding). Used rubber tape to seal parts of it up, particularly the arm pit area. And then avoided getting it wet.

I washed my hair with my head upside down the whole time I had the line in. I dreamed of taking a regular shower.

Central line was a good choice for me because I infused something everyday.

Regarding the skin reactions. Do you have a nurse changing your dressings? If so talk to her about it. You do not want your skin irritated because it can cause a whole new set of problems.
Posted by FromTickToPicc (Member # 45683) on :
Thanks Terv, I don't understand why it seems a lot of people report showering to be okay? It's really much more of a nightmare than I anticipated after reading a lot online about other people's experiences. I'm considering switching to a port, but like you was advised to do the tunneled (central) PICC because I'm infusing every day (and w/ a Port, the needle is left in while infusions are going on, so one would *still* in theory have to cover it if infusing every day and deal with same problems).
Posted by poppy (Member # 5355) on :
I did the same thing as terv for a very long time and it worked, with the showering. Except that after a while, all I did was hand wash around the dressing, with the tip covered with a plastic bag. Got tired of taping stuff over the dressing. Might take a while to get up your nerve to do this though. If you are scared, keep taping things over the dressing. But for sure don't let any tap water splash onto the end of the catheter.

Those hand held shower things are great.

But no experience with the skin reactions. This has come up several times on the forum. Don't remember what the solution was. Maybe someone will come along and tell us.
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
Any kind of plastic or water barrier right on skin will cause it to sweat.

When I investigated this as a possibility, I recall being told not to wrap port area directly with plastic but put

a clean piece of gauze

then some kind of clean cotton fabric on top of that BETWEEN the port / picc and the plastic to

help avoid the SWEAT issue a bit. Salty, damp sweat could be a problem even with warm water so keeping it on the just tolerably warm to cooler temp was said to also help.
Posted by Razzle (Member # 30398) on :
With my PICC, I can't shower. Haven't found anything that keeps the water out of my dressing site (Press 'n Seal doesn't stick to my excessively dry skin).

So I wrap regular plastic wrap around my PICC site and wash my hair in the kitchen sink (the sprayer helps a lot).

For bathing, I take sponge baths, being extra careful not to get water dripped on my PICC site (often I'll cover the site with plastic wrap first).
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
For cleaning uro genital area, outside of the tub / shower, for toilet use, a bottle with a bidet tip that can be aimed just right would be of help.
Posted by terv (Member # 29410) on :
If you are reacting to the Tegaderm, try Sorbaview. I ended up using Sorbaview after reacting to Tegaderm.
Posted by FromTickToPicc (Member # 45683) on :
Keebler, the bidet thing is not a bad idea, actually, I hadn't thought of that -- they make these bidet toilet seat adaptors now that are cheap but it has always seemed a little weird. I know you're not saying that per se but rather talking about the shower, but you gave me the idea for the seat.

Terv, thanks for Sorbaview tip. I actually do think it's *both* the tegaderm and the chloroprep and iodine both (the two alternatives for cleaning site during dressing change), so argh. I react to a lot of things.

I actually just got this thing in the mail today called a Korshield which is designed for the upper chest area coverage for PICC/Port, and I did an extensive thing of gauze over the Tegaderm covered by a Water Shield (those alone didn't work at all before) *and* Press and Seal and then the Korshield, and this time it worked!

So I may next time try the Korshield without all of the rest, or with just gauze or a dry washcloth taped over the Tegaderm. I just wanted to do super redundancy to see if it would actually keep things dry. The gauze underneath wasn't wet at all and before it was drenched. . .
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
You don't need to spend a lot of money for a special bidet seat (and the hose can have microbial issues from water sitting in the line) . . . a bottle with a proper nozzle on it works just fine - you can rinse and air dry.

Of course, if possible, maybe someone can hold a shower hose for you or help you in the shower sometimes - very short span of time and care for you to not even get your line splashed at all (still, some kind of covering needed).

A good rinse off is nice. Maybe someone can do that for you if they have excellent aim. Shower pressure on low, very low. Use very little soap so rinse off is shorter time.
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
For a "bidet bottle"

I prefer the lid / tops / spouts that can easily air dry. If air can't get to all the parts, it's best to pass it on by. Air dry in the air . . . do not put into a closed drawer or space until it's fully dry. Then always run some fresh water through the nozzle before it hits your body.

GoSpa - Travel Bidet bottle

point the ergonomic nozzle in the correct direction

Angled spray design for perfect aim

For a recycled bottle:

The SPOUT stream needs to go out SIDE WAYS.

Bottles that have the vertical spouts just don't work well to aim the water when turned upside down with one hand. This spout style shoots out from the side.

If the spout is straight up out of the bottle, you have to do gymnastics to hold the bottle far out & horizontal, not vertical & close to your body with more control as the slim bottle with sideways spout will allow.

Some people can manage any shape, spout but it was learning curve for me.

I had to stop using the shampoo as it was too harsh for me . . . but the bottles were a great save. You may have something similar.

I found round bottles to be too bulky for that tight fit (unless you have an elongated toilet seat) and not spew water all over.

The FLAT style of this green bottle here works just perfectly. The integrity of the plastic is just right, too, allow for the right kind of pressure.

Water does not spray all over to the floor when I pay attention.

[Some bottles will not actually let you push the water out if the plastic is too heavy. Too light, and they can break. Mine like this have lasted years.]

The simple spout is a PUSH lever - just press lightly with ONE HAND. Very easy to push open once positioned near you, over toilet - and it can be aimed is right.


Just don't press the spout open to stream water until upside down and aimed right at the target. It is possible to do this and not have water land on the floor.

The easier it is, then you will be more inclined to use daily (or after bowels move). I think this is a good habit to keep up and provides better comfort and less irritation in general to that area.
Posted by FromTickToPicc (Member # 45683) on :
Oh awesome, that looks good.

I also find unscented baby wipes to be great to have around for "dry bathing." Sometimes I put a few drops of tea tree oil on them for antimicrobial effect.

I also was thinking looking on Amazon that some hairdresser items would be helpful -- i.e. there are hand-shower nozzles that can screw on to a sink faucet, those nylon capes (with a towel wrapped around the neck I'm guessing would be best), etc. I mean, hairdressers are trying not to get clients wet with a hair wash so these could be esp. helpful with that elusive person with good aim to rinse someone off : )
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
Be sure to NOT flush any kind of wipes (even if they say they can be flushed, they do not degrade), though, as they clog sewer systems and pipes. They are a huge problem for most municipalities and many homeowners now.

The chemicals on any kind of wipe can be a problem, too. Hard to find any that are scent & petroleum free.

For washing hair.
I've looked for hand held kitchen sink spray adaptor on Amazon and most have dreadful reviews regarding the actual connector.

You might call or go by a hair salon and ask what they might recommend.

Not recommended to try to aim such a sprayer from the sink, though my sister and I sure shot our kitchen up as feuding teens a time or two!

If you have a shower head, it's easy to attach a hand held shower with a hose.

Use a TEFLON TAPE inside the screw connectors.
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
Whatever "wipes" you might consider, or anything you use, really: id=z4


Washington Post - Health & Science - July 28, 2014
- By Sandra G. Boodman


. . . At her second appointment Zirwas examined her back, confirming his hunch: The only strong reaction Omiatek displayed was to a chemical called

methyllisothiazolinone, MI for short, Methyl Isethionate


back to Washington Post article:

which is used in high concentration in hundreds of beauty and personal care products.
In Omiatek’s case, MI was in the new brand of “sensitive” baby wipes she had begun using a few weeks before the hand rash erupted.

pattern of the rash, which was on her right, dominant hand, matched the way one would use a wipe. MI was also in the dishwashing soap she used as well as in her soap and shampoo. . . .

. . . estimates that about half of the approximately 300 MI allergy patients he has seen were using wipes. . . .

. . . Unlike shampoo or soap that is rinsed off, the substances in toilet wipes remain on the skin, in a part of the body where evaporation does not occur.

“It gets driven into the skin, perpetuating the problem,” said Zirwas, noting that it takes months for the rash to clear entirely after a patient stops using the product. . . .

. . . The concentration of MI in some personal-care products was increased about five years ago to replace other preservatives, including formaldehyde, which have been linked to health problems.

“People thought it was going to be” an effective replacement, Zirwas said, “but around two or three years ago, we started seeing an incredible increase in the number of people allergic to it.” . . .

. . . She also learned she was allergic to the brand of “sensitive baby sunscreen . . . .
Posted by behealthyagain (Member # 31816) on :
Also had a tunneled catheter and was glad I went that route:
Will second some things:
- Replace shower head with handheld
- Small press and seal patch over it all with paper tape and then bigger one over it
- Tried the cape thing from Sally's - think I ended up not using it - one I got wasn't really water proof
- Kitchen sink for hair
- Showered less - you will probably choose to use the energy for other things
- It may seem hard to believe now but you'll get the routine down and it won't be a big deal (not to say you won't be happy when you can take a normal shower again)
- Try different dressings - believe I ended up with Sorbaview also due to sensitivity. Believe nurse may have ended up using alcohol to clean - can't remember but she tried different things and we finally got it; I had a hard time also with itching - 11 months then a few more b/c I loved lactated ringers to help with detox and NO infections! If you have a nurse, they will know how to help find what works...
Posted by Sammi (Member # 110) on :
I cannot read the replies right now, but what I found helpful are the AquaGuard covers:

I hope this helps.
Posted by willmac (Member # 45705) on :
I've had good results with Liqua-Shield - Google it.

I also use an alcohol prep wipe on skin to reduce oils on skin.

Also helps to extend arm and neck away from port when applying shield. That keeps adhesive strip from separating from skin. There is some slight moisture under patch after shower but not enough to saturate Tegaderm or biopatch.

I have a Hickman central port.
Posted by FromTickToPicc (Member # 45683) on :
Thanks everyone. I just figured out the thing about wiping with alcohol to get the covers to stick (Shower Shield or Aqua Guard, I have both), but that's also a great tip about extending neck/arm away from the shield when applying. . .

And oh, that is very alarming about the wipes, I will definitely take that into consideration!!

And good idea to ask a hair salon what they use -- I bought some haircutting gear at least once from an "industry" website, so I'm sure they probably have decent sprayers there for sinks.

It definitely helps to have all of the advice, as it's super complicated in the beginning with this! But I'm just so relieved to be starting the IV meds, and willing to put up with whatever it takes, for sure, as I know others have had to do.

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