ABSCESSES & INJECTING
Abscesses are something most of us have encountered before and they can be excruciatingly painful. Sympathetic medical care can be hard to come by for many of us, and so some people resort to treating themselves. This can lead to some serious complications as the toxicity of an abscess can vary considerably. Here are a few things to remember when it comes to getting to grips with an abscess.
Abscesses present themselves as raised lumps on the skin and can either be sterile or infected. A sterile abscess is caused by injecting either an irritating or insoluble substance into a vein, particularly if you miss. They may develop slowly and do not usually show signs of heat, although there may be a touch of redness. They feel like solid nodules under the skin and are not sore to the touch. Don’t try to squeeze it as it will usually go away in its own time, although it may take quite a while. Avoid injecting at that spot until it clears up.
An infected abscess, on the other hand, is a different story. This is caused by either using non-sterile injecting equipment, or by bacteria in your mix that the body cannot fight.
An infected abscess will soon come up as a swollen lump on, or near, the injection site. Appearing inflamed and red, they feel hot to the touch and soon become very painful. The abscess may come to a ‘head’ or ‘point’ and be filled with pus. It can be tempting to squeeze or burst it now - but DON’T! This will only spread the infection..
If you want to know what is inside your abscess, here’s a little insight. The abscess is actually a cavity under the skin, filled with many little ‘walls’ that contain the pus. The pus itself contains blood, white blood cells (for fighting infection), damaged or dead tissue, and bacteria. Some of these bacteria can still be ‘live’ which is why squeezing or poking about can easily spread the infection. Your body has made this cavity in an attempt to localise the infection so it won’t spread. An infected abscess won’t go away on it’s own, you really need to seek medical treatment.
Treatment of an abscess
In the early stages, you may be given antibiotics to clear it up. If a head has developed on the abscess, a doctor will lance it and drain out the pus if necessary. The resulting hole should be thoroughly cleaned out, using prescription-only agents, and then packed. This is done so the wound will heal from the bottom up, otherwise the skin will just close over the top, leaving bacteria inside and the whole thing will start over again. Antibiotics will usually be prescribed too.
You can go to the Accident & Emergency at the local hospital, your own doctor, or ask about non-judgmental doctors at any needle and syringe outlets in your region.
Will your methadone
script be changed if you go to your clinic, doctor, or A&E with an abscess? They aren’t legally required to report you’ve been injecting ‘done, but there is the risk they might report you. Treatment must be obtained, so you may be better off just not mentioning you were injecting your ‘done.
Get advice and treatment — no matter what — because an untreated abscess can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning), which can be fatal, cellulitis (a very painful infection of the surrounding tissue) and other complications. All this will put extra pressure on your immune system – not what you want if you are HIV or hep C positive. Really, you don’t have to end up with huge circular scars on your body.
How to minimize your chances of getting an abscess
Make a habit of washing your hands before and after your fix, and always use new equipment – sterile water, works, swabs etc. Always inject slowly and gently in the direction of the blood flow.
Use your filters whole (not torn into small pieces), or use surgical cotton wool – it is made up of fibres that won’t separate, unlike cotton wool, cigarette filters, tissue etc. Not only can loose fibres from these get trapped under the skin and cause an abscess, but they can also travel along your veins and cause blockages and infection in some seriously dangerous places, like your heart. This can be an extremely painful experience but fortunately, is not too common.
Use wheel filters, especially if you are shooting up pills. If any gear looks suspect to you, consider other ways of taking it such as snorting
, smoking or swallowing. Don’t skin pop with suss gear.
Speed and coke
are irritating to your veins, so if you can bear it, try smoking or snorting instead.
As the ‘drugs
war’ rages on, the ricocheting effects continue to reverberate around the drug
using community. Abscesses have become our battle scars. If you are concerned about your scars, there are camouflage creams available to conceal them – you can ask a doctor for referral.
Sparky found this, it's good info. If your friend is at all worried tell them to get medical advice.
Hope this helps, take care.