What Is A PICC Line? Your Trusted Guide for Your PICC Questions & Concerns

What does PICC stand for?

Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter

What is a PICC line, and what’s the difference between that and a central line?

A PICC line is a catheter that an interventional radiologist or a specially trained nurse inserts into a vein around the elbow. It is long, thin, and hollow. A central line, sometimes called a skin-tunneled central venous catheter or Hickman line, is a catheter that a doctor or a nurse inserts into a vein located on your chest.

What should I expect with a PICC line for the first 2 weeks?


Emily, our amazing Lyme warrior and CEO, filmed a video that can give you a glimpse of what to expect when you’re expecting a PICC line.

Who has one?

Premature babies, children and adults can have PICC lines to treat a number of different of different medical conditions. Anyone that needs long-term IV treatment, medications, nutrition, and for frequent blood draws may require a PICC line.

How long do you have it?

You can have a PICC line for weeks, months, or years depending on your treatment. Your medical provider will determine this duration.

Why is a PICC line important?

It is important because it provides an efficient means for those who require chemotherapy, intravenous medication or fluids for a long period. It is also used when one requires frequent blood sampling.

Can I shower and take a bath with a PICC line?

You can shower, but you must keep your PICC insertion site sealed off from water access. Emily recommends her go-to covering, Nistaa Waterproof Transparent Barrier, for showering! Bathing is recommended over showering because it reduces the risk of water getting near the insertion site. Get more information from Emily about showering with your PICC.

How do I care for my PICC line?

There are a number of necessary steps to ensure that you’re properly caring for your PICC line, both when you first get it inserted and long-term care. Read more about Emily’s tips and tricks for keeping it safe, secure, and stable with PICCPerfect.

Can I exercise with my PICC line?

You should avoid strenuous activities that require the arm on which your PICC is placed. Rule of thumb: You should not carry anything heavier than a gallon of milk! If you start to sweat, not that this may compromise your PICC line dressing.

Should I cover my PICC line to protect it?

Mighty Well PICCPerfect PICC Line Cover

Yes, of course! For protective and sleek wear, check out our antimicrobial, moisture wicking PICCPerfect PICC line covers! Not to mention, they are four-way stretch, machine washable, made in the USA, and recommended by PICC nurses all around the world! You won’t want to miss the Top 5 Reasons Why People Love Their PICCPerfect PICC Line Sleeve here.

Additional PICC Line Information and Guides:


This document was made in part with the PICC team from Tufts Floating Children’s Hospital.

Disclaimer: We are offering health advice for only educational purposes. This information should not replace what your medical provider has recommended for your treatment. You should consult your physician or other health care professional with any medical questions and concerns.

Interested in learning more about a topic not on here? Check out our community blog, or let us know by submitting blog post topic requests below!

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