Helping you live a better life on dialysis

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Caring for your Catheter

Because the catheter used in peritoneal dialysis goes through the wall of your abdomen, it creates a place where bacteria and viruses can cause infection.

Since you will only visit the dialysis facility once a month on PD, you play an important role in minimizing your risk of infection. Here are some tips:

  • Clean and look at the skin around the catheter exit site every day. Drainage, oozing, redness or swelling may mean an infection. Report it to your doctor or nurse right away.
  • Sometimes small scabs form at the exit site. NEVER pick or remove these scabs. Your nurse will teach you how to take care of these areas.
  • Your exit site should not hurt. If you have pain, report it to your doctor or nurse.
  • Inspect the catheter and adapter each day for cracks where bacteria could get in.
  • Always secure the catheter end to your skin or use a dressing to stop tugging.
  • Shower daily following your nurse’s instructions, and wear clean clothes.
  • Always check with your doctor or nurse before you put anything on your exit site like a lotion, powder, or cream.
  • If you must go swimming, remember these points:
    • Your exit site must be completely healed before swimming.
    • Immediately after swimming, change into dry clothes and perform your exit site care.
    • Never swim in a lake, pond, river or non-chlorinated pool. DO NOT use hot tubs. These all contain germs that can cause infections.
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