A KidneyBuzz.com viewer wrote, "Please help! I just got my catheter installed on my chest and it is itching like crazy.... I wanna pull the thing right out of my chest. What can I do to stop this?"
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Have you ever had a catheter? Often placed in the neck, chest, arm, or groin, a catheter is a tube that is used to draw blood, or give fluids and medications. Most every Chronic Kidney Disease patient who conducts Dialysis is familiar with a catheter because they likely had to have one placed in their chest while waiting for their primary Dialysis Access to mature. In fact, although it is not advised, some patients continue to use catheters for their regular Dialysis Treatments, do you?
Regardless of whether or not you conduct Dialysis, if you have a chronic illness such as Diabetes and need serious medical attention, at some point in time you will likely require a catheter. The World Health Organization notes, "Central venous catheters are life-saving and the majority of patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) have them placed in order to receive medicine and fluids."
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Though this device saves lives, it unfortunately comes with a high risk of contracting bloodstream infections which are associated with catheters' insertion and maintenance. A catheter-related bloodstream infection can often be successfully treated with antibiotics, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 12% and 25% of patients who acquire this type of infection die. Many other patients have dangerous complications which worsen their health, prolong hospital stays, and increase risk of early death. Also, you may have to remove your catheter should a life-threatening infection occur.
So, what can YOU do to curb your risk of serious complications? First, make sure family and friends that are visiting you in the hospital clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before getting close to you. Also, do not let ANYONE touch your catheter expect trained medical staff, and even then ask if they have washed their hands. Remember that this is YOUR health so do not be bashful in ensuring that it is maintained.
Should you experience excessive itching, such as the above quoted viewer, tell your Healthcare Team pronto! This could be an allergic reaction to the tubing, in which case they can provide you with an Antihistamine (type of medication used to manage allergies). Otherwise, ask about Lidocaine Jelly which has been noted to provide relief.
If you spot any redness or notice soreness around your catheter site, inform your nurse promptly as this could be the onset of an infection. For more helpful insights on how Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetics can better manage their health as well as Lives, visit KidneyBuzz.com every day for the most breaking news and information. Also, if you have an AV Fistula, join the Fistula Protector Campaign today by requesting your Fistula Protector at the following link (http://www.kidneybuzz.com/no-bpno-stick-fistula-protector/).
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"Vascular Access for Hemodialysis." Http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov. National Kidney and Urologic DiseasesInformation Clearinghouse (NKUDIC).
"Access Care 101: Tips for People on Home Dialysis." Http://www.davita.com. DaVita.
"Preventing Bloodstream Infections from Central Line Venous Catheters." Http://www.who.int/. World Health Organization.