Swimming and bathing

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  • Many doctors don't support kids with central lines going in the water. So you probably should have a thoughtful conversation with your child's treating doctor about the pros and cons of swimming or going in the bathtub.
  • Those who do allow their child in the water generally agree that they shouldn't go in the water for at least a month after a new line has been placed.
  • During bathing or swimming, some parents cover dressings and lines with Press'n Seal. See also waterproof PICC protector and aqua-guard.
  • Bathing suit idea link [1]. I like the UV one piece suits. They cover everything very nicely, dry quickly and provide sun protection. I've never used it in the sand, but I imagine it would keep the sand out of the g-tube area really well.
  • Product link for keeping the ostomy dry [2]

Specific Recipes

  • For Austin, I let him swim in clorine pools, use a kiddie pool at home and go in the bath tub. We do the following: 1) cover the connection between the cap and line with tegaderm to keep water out and 2) cover the end of the cap tightly with the tip of an exam glove and a mini hair elastic (beauty store). I've tried all kinds of methods to cover the actual central line dressing and line under a huge tegaderm or other similar products, but they always seem to leak and are miserable to put on and take off. So we don't use anything now. I haven't done anything to cover the ostomy. It seems to stay on fine and doesn't decrease wear time. The product we currently use is convatec (the product says it's safe to use in the water). Then immediately after getting out of the water, we do a dressing change and cap change. Never had a line infection since going in the water.
  • I wanted to share a bathing solution that I've had some luck with recently. Austin is now 3 and way too big for the kitchen counter. I got a plastic resin beach style chair from Toys R Us for $6 and a visor to keep water from running down his face and onto his chest from One Step Ahead online for a few bucks (works really well!). He sits in the chair in the tub while I wash him and then tilts his head back over the back of the chair while I wash his hair. I use a spray to wet and rinse him. Dressing stays nice and dry!
  • From a parent on the yahoo short bowel syndrome group: No swimming in public pools ever. Private pool may be ok if you know the person and trust that they keep the pool clean and that no one goes to the bathroom in it. When my son is playing with the hose or water table I put a stack of 5 or 6 4x4 gauze pads over his dressing and then cover the whole dressing area with press and seal OVER his mesh vest (this way there is no skin-skin contact and no press and seal-dressing contact = no pain upon removal and no chance of inadvertently pulling off the dressing). I then put a rash guard on him and send him on his way. If his shirt gets wet/too wet, I change it out for a new one and constantly check the press and seal get up to ensure dryness. I also wrap the cap and line with press and seal. I highly doubt this will work for full-on swimmng.
  • From another parent on the yahoo short bowel syndrome group: I would not recommend any swimming unless you have cleared it with your *experienced* GI teams AND you are sure you have incorporated best practices regarding changes, particularly the cap changes. (Many doctors and families believe swimming is not worth the risk of infection, particularly for children who are too young to feel like they are missing out.) When we went to our first Oley conference in 2002, this one TPN Pharmacist really stood out. His name was Reid Nishikawa and he explained that most central line infections come from non-sterile technique during cap changes. The Mayo clinic sent us information regarding best practices and line care. Nutrishare also has a free CD ROM or info directly on their website: http://nutrishare.com/ Sean did not swim with a central line until after we adopted the protocols regarding cap and dressing changes from UCLA and Nutrishare. We were very nervous about this. Eventually UCLA was confident enough about our technique. They told us they even had long term TPN kids who were on their schools swim teams. The dressing and cap are changed after swimming. The swimming is done in chlorinated pools (no ponds, no lakes, no backyard wading pools etc.). The ocean, again we were nervous about, but after extensive consultation with everyone involved (Reid Nishikawa and long term TPN nurses at UCLA) and *meticulous* technique we were able to do the 10 day trip in Maui without incident. This- another small miracle considering the ocean snorkeling, surf boogie boarding etc. Definitely not for the faint of heart since cap changes are inherently risky.
  • From perhaps the "most extreme" parent (on the yahoo tpnsupport group): There are many thoughts on swimming and CVLs. I think it depends on the child and their immune system. In our case we let him swim in our lake and he never has a dressing on his CVL or anything. I pretty much bath the line in CHlorahexadine ones he is out of the water. Clean the site with Betadine since he cannot handle chlorahexadine on it. Mind you I am probably the most extreme person on the list on this one. When he was younger we used Mefix and a gauze. But in the summer he was always swetting and rashy. For the last 5 years we have had no dressing other then if it is a new line of course till the site has healed. Yes it is exposed but it also looks fantastic. We fasten the line or the sausage with a bit of paper tape and or mefix and we move it around so its not always in the same spot.