Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Preventing Central Line Infections

Overview

A central line is a long tube placed in a vein in your chest, arm, groin, or neck that goes to your heart. When germs (bacteria) travel through the line into your bloodstream, you can develop a serious, life-threatening central line infection.

We use a central line to give you medicine, nutrition, and fluids, and to take blood samples. You might have one during cancer treatment, kidney dialysis, and in the hospital intensive care unit (ICU).

The line might stay in place for weeks or months. The longer it remains, the higher your risk of infection.

Contact us immediately if you develop signs of infection, such as:

  • Fever or chills
  • Tenderness or redness at the tube site

Early treatment with antibiotics can prevent a severe infection. We might also remove the central line.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a central line infection are fever and chills.

 You might also see signs of infection around the tube site, such as:

  • Red streaks on your skin
  • Warm, swollen skin
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Fluid draining

Causes

A central line infection occurs when bacteria and other germs travel through the tube and enter your bloodstream. The germs most likely to cause this infection are staphylococcus, enterococcus, and candida.

Germs can enter the tube at the site where we inject medication. Germs can also enter the tube when:

  • The skin around the tube isn’t clean.
  • The tube is exposed to dirty hands or gloves.
  • The tube isn’t placed properly or moves out of place.

Diagnosis

We diagnose a central line infection with blood tests (cultures). We’ll also perform a physical examination.

Hospital Prevention

We take precautions to prevent a central line infection while you’re in the hospital, such as:

  • Careful, safe placement of the tube in a vein site with low risk of infection.
  • Wash our hands or use an alcohol-based hand wash before touching your central line.
  • Clean the tube opening with antiseptic before giving you medicine or removing blood samples.
  • Wear gloves when we check and replace the bandage that covers the tube.
  • Check to make sure the central line is correctly in place.
  • Check for signs of infection at the tube site.
  • Remove the tube as soon as it’s no longer needed.

Following these important steps helps reduce your risk of infection. However, even when all prevention steps are followed, it’s still possible to develop a central line infection.

Take care to prevent infection when handling a central line.


Prevention at Home

To reduce your risk of a central line infection at home:

  • Follow all prevention steps practiced in the hospital.
  • Ask questions so you know why you have a central line and how long it’s needed.
  • Always first clean your hands before touching the tube. Make sure others do too.
  • Keep the tube site dry. Cover the area before bathing or showering.
  • Check to make sure your tube remains in place and isn’t leaking, cut, or cracked.

Contact us immediately if:

  • There’s a problem with your tube, such as a leak or crack.
  • The bandage that covers the tube site is loose or dirty. 
  • You develop signs of infection.

Treatment

We typically treat a central line infection with antibiotics. The type of medicine depends on the germ causing your infection.

Because there are different kinds of germs, we may need to:

  • Use more than one antibiotic.
  • Combine several types of antibiotics before we find the best treatment.

We usually also remove the central line as part of your treatment.

Home Treatment

To continue treating a central line infection at home:

  • Follow all prevention steps that you learned in the hospital.
  • Take your full dose of antibiotics, exactly as prescribed.
  • Keep your hands clean. Wash with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand wash.
  • Clean your hands well before touching your central line.
  • Don’t let others touch your line without first cleaning their hands. 

Call us (or your home health nursing service) as needed.

Watch for signs of infection. Call us immediately if you think you might be developing a central line infection. 

Related Health Tools:

Prepare for Your Procedure

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.