Patient Care

The first step to recovery is to heed your doctor’s advice. Then, with careful at-home care and a SEAL-TIGHT product for moisture protection, you’ll be well on your way to recovery! For practical tips on specific types of at-home care, click on the appropriate category below:

  • Do

    • For swelling during the first 72 hours, apply ice to the splint or cast, wrapped loosely at the level of the injury using a dry plastic bag or ice pack.
    • Elevate your injured arm or leg for the first 24 to 72 hours. Locate the injured area so that it is well above the heart. Prop it up on pillows or some other support.
    • Move swollen but uninjured fingers gently and often.
    • Keep dirt, sand and powder away from the inside of your splint or cast.
    • Inspect the skin around the cast. If it becomes red or raw, or if it becomes cracked or develops soft spots, contact your doctor.
    • Keep your splint or cast dry and in good condition with SEAL-TIGHT Original or Sport moisture protection products.

    Dont’s

    • Do not pull out the padding from your splint or cast.
    • Do not stick objects such as coat hangers inside the splint or cast.
    • Do not apply powders or deodorants to itching skin. If itching persists, contact your doctor.
    • Do not break off rough edges of the cast or trim the cast before asking your doctor.
    • Do not allow moisture to penetrate your cast. Moisture weakens plaster and damp padding next to the skin can cause irritation. Use SEAL-TIGHT Original or Sport products for moisture protection.
    • Do not walk on a “walking cast” until it is completely dry and hard. It takes about one hour for fiberglass and two to three days for plaster to become hard enough to walk on.
  • Do

    • Relieve mild discomfort by applying a warm pack to the PICC line area three to five times a day.
    • Use the arm without the PICC line when your blood pressure is taken.
    • Consult your patient booklet, your clinic or utilize a home health nurse to flush your PICC line with saline.  Flushing cleans the line after medication is delivered, keeps the line open and prevents clots.
    • Take the recommended dosage of ibuprofen, Advil or Motrin for soreness three times a day with meals or as directed by your doctor. Tylenol is sometimes recommended if you are allergic to ibuprofen.
    • Use a SEAL-TIGHT Protector to prevent moisture infiltration when you shower or bathe. This helps keep the dressing dry and intact, still protecting the site.

    • Swelling,redness, red streaking or a hot or hard area in your PICC-line arm;
    • Pain in your PICC-line arm, or swelling of the hand, arm and/or neck on the same side as the PICC line;
    • Fever or chills;
    • Leaking of fluid when you flush the catheter.
    • If any of the above signs emerge, call your healthcare provider or PICC-line care provider immediately.

    Dont’s

    • Do not lift items weighing more than 30 pounds when you have a PICC line.
    • Do not ignore these “red alert” signs:
    • Do not lift items weighing more than 30 pounds when you have a PICC line.
    • Do not ignore these “red alert” signs:
    • Do not have blood drawn from the Groshong PICC line. You may be allowed to have blood drawn from a Poly PICC line—but ask your doctor.
    • Do not totally submerge your arm in water for extended periods—avoid swimming or using a hot tub with a PICC line.
    • Do not engage in any strenuous exercise that may endanger the PICC line without your doctor’s permission.
  • Do

    • Apply triple-antibiotic cream when dressing cuts or scrapes and use 4”x 4” sterile gauze pads for coverings.
    • Keep the wound area clean using normal saline solution (available by prescription) or hydrogen peroxide.
    • Apply antifungal cream to the wound if you have athlete’s foot or other fungal infections.
    • Take your temperature twice daily and notify your doctor if it exceeds 100.5°F.
    • For venous skin ulcers, keep the legs elevated above the level of the heart and use compression stockings during waking hours.
    • Keep the wound area and dressing dry when showering by using a SEAL-TIGHT Original, SEAL-TIGHT Sport or SEAL-TIGHT Shield product.

    Dont’s

    • Do not stand or sit for prolonged periods of time. Leg inactivity can prolong healing.
    • Do not smoke or use alcohol excessively –either can impair the healing and prevention of skin ulcers.
    • Do not ignore the “red alert” signs requiring immediate attention by a professional:
    • Swelling, redness or red streaking near the wound;
    • The wound becomes hot or hard to the touch;
    • Increasing or unusual pain;
    • Fever—when body temperature exceeds 100.5°F.
  • Do

    • Change the dressing according to instructions provided by your doctor or health professional.
    • Check for any signs of infection daily, including:
    • Yellow or green discharge that increases;
    • A change in the odor of the discharge;
    • A change in the size of the incision;
    • Redness or hardening of the surrounding area;
    • An incision that’s hot to the touch;
    • Fever when body temperature exceeds 100.5°F;
    • Increasing or unusual pain;
    • Excessive bleeding that has soaked through the dressing.
    • If any of the above signs are evident, call your doctor or health professional immediately.
    • When allowed to bathe or shower, keep the incision dry and clean using SEAL-TIGHT Shield or Protector products.

    Dont’s

    Do not wash the area for at least 24 hours unless your doctor instructs otherwise. Follow your doctor’s instructions for washing exactly.

    • Do not scrub or rub incisions.
    • Do not remove the tape strips (such as Steri-Strips) from incisions unless your doctor tells you.
    • Do not use lotion or powder on incisions.
    • Do not expose incisions to sunlight.
    • Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or mercurochrome, which can harm the tissue and slow wound healing.
    • Do not allow moisture to degrade the dressing. Keep the incision dry and clean using SEAL-TIGHT Shield or Protector products.

This information is for general guidance only. For proper healing, always follow your doctor’s advice.For more information, you may visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Web site at www.orthoinfo.org .