Following last week’s blog article on how and why PICC lines are used for cancer treatment, many of you have been in touch with questions about how you can care for your PICC. In this week’s post, we look at how to look after your PICC and what products can help protect the area.

Caring for your PICC Line

When the PICC line is not being used, there is a slight risk of it becoming blocked. To stop this from happening, a small amount of fluid is flushed into the line using a syringe. This is usually done once a week.

PICC Line Management

The caps or bungs at the end of the line need to be changed each week to reduce the risk of infection. The dressing also needs to be changed every week. If it gets wet or starts to peel off, it should be changed sooner. It is difficult to change the dressing with one hand, so the nurses at the hospital may do it for you or arrange for a district nurse to visit you at home. They can also teach a relative, partner or friend how to change the dressing.

Can I get my PICC line wet?

It is important that your PICC line and the transparent dressing is kept dry at all times, as water at the site of the PICC line can increase the risk of infection and the PICC line needing to be removed.

caring picc line Limbo cover

The LimbO Adult Elbow Cover is a comfortable, easy-to-use, reusable waterproof protector which is recommended for use in the shower. The cover provides a soft water-tight neoprene seal that protects your PICC line but does not constrict blood flow.

 What are the benefits of using a PICC line cover?

caring picc line care + wear picc line cover

The Care + Wear PICC Line Covers are installed with an EPA approved antimicrobial treatment, that will last for 100 washes. The fabric is also hypoallergenic, meaning it won’t irritate sensitive skin caused by chemo. The insertion site is covered by a mesh window, allowing you to keep an eye out for displacement or infection.


What should I avoid doing? 

You should be able to carry out all day-to-day activities. It is advisable not to go swimming whilst you have a PICC line because of the risk of infection. If you have a specific job or hobby which requires a lot of repetitive movement (for example, fly fishing, golf, painting and decorating) please discuss this with the nurse or doctor.

How will I know if something is wrong with my PICC line? 

Sometimes problems can occur while you have a PICC line. If you suspect something is wrong, or if you have any of the following, contact the hospital straight away:
  • If you have a temperature above 37.5C, fever, chills or feel generally unwell. This could be the beginning of an infection
  • Oozing from around the line
  • Cracks or leaks in the line
  • Pain, redness or swelling around the site, in your neck or arm – this could be sign that the line tip has moved and a blood clot has formed in one of the veins
  • If your PICC becomes dislodged.

Looking for more information on PICC lines? You can read our PICC line guide here.