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Infection Precautions

Continue to care for your tunneled central venous catheter as instructed. Change the dressing every Monday and Thursday and whenever it becomes soiled or wet. Flush the catheter ports daily with normal saline followed by heparin as directed. Observe the catheter and exit site closely for any changes. Be sure to notify your nurse coordinator, nurse practitioner, or physician if you notice any drainage, redness, swelling, or tenderness at the site. Call if you are having problems with dressing changes or flushing.

Good personal hygiene helps decrease the risk of infection. Frequent hand washing is essential. A daily bath or shower using a mild soap is recommended. Suggestions for non-irritating soap products are Dove, Basis, Purpose, Johnson & Johnson Baby, or Neutrogena Dry Skin. When showering, do not direct the flow of water directly at the catheter site.

If someone in your family is ill, maintaining some distance is helpful. Do not share drinking glasses or eating utensils. Avoid close contact with anyone who has symptoms of an illness (for example, cold, flu). Do not allow people who are ill to visit. This also applies to children with typical childhood diseases such as chicken pox, rubella, or measles, even if you had the disease as a child. If you come in contact with any communicable diseases, notify a member of the transplant team.

Avoid crowded areas, especially during the cold and flu season. Choose times when a crowd is less likely when you go to church, the movies, shopping, or dining in restaurants. The need to limit exposure to crowds will lessen with time. For allogeneic transplant patients, you should avoid areas of construction, remodeling, air pollution, and excessive smoke and dust for at least 60 days post-transplant, and longer if you have graft-versus-host disease.