Friday, November 15, 2013

PICC Problems...Again!

It is no secret that my skin hates all things PICC related. I have talked about it here, here, here, and here, Oh, and here too! I have a severe allergy to pretty much all the tape they have ever used on my regarding PICCs.

PICCs have always been a huge headache for me and of course this last PICC line was no exception! Before this PICC my docs decided to cover my arm with all the possible tape they can use in a PICC to find out once and for all what I am allergic to. They even discussed my issue with the wound care specialists and the burn care nurses to find alternative tape choices. They also gave me a shot of lidocain and covered a patch of skin with skin protectant just to rule out all the things I could be allergic to. I was excited because once we got the results we would know how to keep my arm from turning into a heinous mess.

3 days passed and I had no reactions, not even one. Which I sort of expected since my reactions usually started several days into my PICC treatment, but it also terrified me. What if this test proved I was allergic to nothing? Then what? Where would we go from there?

By the end of the day my arm was a little itchy under the stat lock. I was instructed to pull off any tape the second I felt a reaction because of how horrendous my reactions get and how quickly they escalate. Sure enough as I pulled the stat lock off my arm the skin was bubbly, covered in puss and beet red underneath. I also noticed a slight reaction to the skin protectant. As far as tape, nothing reacted which was a huge shock for me. I was skeptical, but we decided to try a PICC with one of the "gentle" tapes that I did not react to and we would not use a stat lock, skin protectant, or chloroprep (which I already knew I reacted to).

The PICC was placed and all seemed well....for 3 days. And then, then the skin started to feel a little itchy so I called AIM. It was a Sunday, but they took my right away. Sure enough when they pulled off the gentle tape my skin was fire engine red, covered in puss, bubbly, blistery, a gory mess. We sat there dumbfounded. How did this happen again and what are we supposed to do now??


  1. I have pretty severe reactions to adhesive and chloroprep and bedadine too, not nearly as bad as yours....but I had to have a PICC line in for 8 weeks (it was to be six months but I developed a blood clot). I talked to a dermatologist extensively about how to help the reactions and skin under the adhesive that I couldn't cover in Benadryl cream. He suggested two things: 1) take oral benadryl and use hydrocortozone cream and benadryl cream on any area surrounding the PICC that was not covered by gauze....if I could get a doctor to prescribe it a few days of prednizone would be even better. 2) Talk to wound care/PICC nurse/doctor whomever was going to change my dressings into using a teflon type burn victim does not have adhesive because when you are dealing with a burn the adhesive would not be conducive to healing. It is sterile though to protect the damaged skin so better than coban. I hope you can talk to someone and find something that works for you because otherwise that is so uncomfortable and difficult to deal with on top of everything else.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time and giving me some tips! I have since had a port placed so I won't have to deal with PICC placements anymore, however I still need to cover the port when accessed so I am going to talk to my PICC nurse about the teflon dressing. I can't take oral benedryl because it dries out my lungs, but I am sure topical would be fine since less gets into the blood stream. I am sorry about the blood clot :( That sure makes an already un-fun experience even worse.