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swim has read up a lot on this as it was a huge moral dilemma for him...
he finally caved yesterday and shot about .05 g of some good heroin with a fresh rig. he used aquafina water, and a small tip insulin syringe.
he is curious if cotton filters are absolutely necessary? he's heard horror stories of something called "cotton fever".
also he wanted to know what side effects occur NORMALLY at injection sites. he used the large vein on the inside of his left arm that goes up through the area by the thumb/index finger. they are slightly achey, swim doesn't know if this is normal. he knows what shots feel like at the doc's but he's not sure. he used the same vein on the right side and had a little bit of trouble getting blood to consistently come back up into the rig, so he thought he may have been borderline missing. it's raised slightly and resembles a mosquito bite. it is not painful, but he can feel notable pressure when pressed on which is very very slightly painful.
where's the best spot to hit to hide the tracks? and should he hit different spots everytime?
swim used alcohol swabs after on the iv sites both times. an experienced user hit him up with a clean rig both time.
basically swim just wants to make sure he's doing this safely. if anyone could list or post pics of healthy and effective iv sites he'd be real appreciative.
swims a noob to this administration method and is hoping to assure the little things he's feeling are just adverse effects of puncturing a vein.
Swim likes shooting into the place where the arm meets the hand, like swiy's upper wrist.
Like if you point your thumb at your face, that upper part of the wrist their usually is a fat vein or one on your upper forearm.
Also a good way to prevent cotton fever is to use a balled up piece of a cigarettes filter. Thats all swim uses and has never had cotton fever.
As for your "mosquito bump" this is fairly normal when injecting, sometimes it happens other times it doesn't.
Swiy should ALWAYS use a cotton filter. While cotton fever sucks, risking getting it is much better than risking the numerous bad things that can happen to you if you do not use one. Swim usually has Q-tips in his works case and has had no problems, no cotton fever.
As for side effects to the arm, swim has come across:
-small sting when pulling the needle out
-red blotchy skin at injection site, lasting maybe 20 min or so
-small lump that looks like a bee sting, lasting maybe 45 min
-pins and needles once, which scared the hell out of swim
Swiy should always roatate veins. And remember, The arm is the safest place, followed by the hands, followed by legs, feet, neck ect ect.
When Injecting into the same vein more than once, always start farther away from the heart, injecting with the flow of blood (towards the heart), and moving your way up. Never inject in the same exact place more than once. If using a tie, try to loosen it after swiy has registered, but before swiy actually pushes the plunger and injects. Using new rigs each time and using swabs are a great start, keep it up!
As for trying to hide track marks, Swim has found that when most people make the switch to IV, they never go back. And after a while, Swiy won't care as much about hiding track marks, Swiy will be more concerned with trying to find a good vein to hit. IVing is a whole different ball game, and a (bad) turning point for many users. Swim feels the needle itself, and the act of cooking up a hit, become an addiction themselves. For about a Month after Swim had gotten through his first really bad detox, swim would boot plain old water.
SWIY, DO NOT use cigarette filters. I'm not sure what exact fiber it is that is in them but it's sharp and it will kill your veins. Just make sure you always use a fresh cotton pulled from a sterile q-tip. Usually cotton fever is caused by "dirty hits". If you look around the forums you should find more about it.
Firstly, on the subject of filters: Yes, it is necessary to use a filter to suck your heroin solution through. Using a filter reduced the amount of undissolved cut/ sediment from being sucked up into your syringe and then injected. What type of filter you use is a matter of personal choice. In the US people tend to use cotton (or cotton wool, as we call it here). In the UK the vast majority of people use hand-rolling cigarette filter tips to filter their gear. These are what the needle exchanges supply for use, and recommend using. It's purely circumstantial, but swim gets the impression that "cotton fever" (or "bad hits" as it's known as here) occurs a lot less often in the UK compared to the US. Contrary to popular opinion, filter tips are not made of fibreglass or anything like that. They are in fact made of cellulose acetate fibre, and it is pretty much impossible for a piece of filter to break off and end up in the barrel of your syringe, even less likely that it would fit back out through the needle's lumen, and end up in your veins. There is some argument that the best thing to use is a piece of ripped off tampax, as they are made of a fibre that is designed not to break up into pieces, in order to prevent things like toxic shock. Also, there are a few different specially designed IV filters available, speak to your local needles exchange about these.
Your choice of water (bottled water) isn't ideal. Strangely enough, cold water from the tap is actually better for injecting than bottled water designed for drinking. The bacteria count in tap water (in the US and the UK at least) is less than that found in bottled water. The best thing you could use are water ampoules designed for IV use, but if these are not available, second best water choice is to boil (and then allow to cool) water from the cold tap (never the hot tap). For more details on the different risks associated with different types of water, see here - Exchange Supplies Interactive Water Risks Poster.
You mentioned using an alcohol based wipe after injecting. This should not be done. These wipes are pre-injection swabs, not post-injection swabs. They're intended to be used before injecting, in order to cleanse and sterilise the intended IV site. Using them after having a hit will actually slow down the site's recovery, as the alcohol impedes the body's natural healing process. After injecting the best thing you can do to clean the site is to use fresh, clean water, and then to dry using a clean tissue.
As to side effects at injection sites - this is pretty much an inevitability if you continue injecting. Things like missed hits, infections, abscesses, hitting arteries, thromboses, blood borne viruses etc are always going to be linked to IV drug use. Of course, by maintaining a high standard of hygiene, never sharing needles, and never letting things slip, you can minimise the risk of these things occurring. But they do still happen, and all you can really do is seek medical advice as soon as something starts to worry you.
At first, when your veins are all nice and undamaged, you shouldn't have too many problems as long as you don't rush, use new works, check to be sure that you're in a vein before injecting etc. But you will be amazed at how quickly your veins start to become unusable. And then, if you want to continue injecting (and as has already been said, it's a bit of a one-way street in terms of ever considering any other ROA) you'll have to move onto smaller veins in your hands and wrists. These won't last nearly as long, as they're so small and fragile they blow easily. What then?
I'm almost certain that the small amount of discomfort you are describing at the IV site is completely normal. If you had missed a significant amount (not hit the vein, injected into the surrounding tissue instead) it would have hurt (stung) whilst injecting, and you would have been left with a noticable tender, raised lump at the site of the miss. You might have missed a very little amount, or this small irritation may just be as a result of the needle breaking the skin. BUT - continue injecting and all sorts of other issues like those described in the above text are going to become things you have to think about and deal with. You seem to be fairly conscious of your health, and wish to remain healthy - this isn't something that IV drug use is conducive with. Have a very good think about whether or not you wanna commit to this. Starting injecting really is a big step in the wrong direction in terms of health risks, addiction risks and severity of withdrawal. Don't take this decision lightly, as already said, it's very, very hard to ever go back to smoking/ snorting once you've started to IV.
Last edited by Helene; 23-01-2010 at 11:53.
Reason: adding more info
Swim thinks this difference between the 'anti cigarette filters and the pro cigarette filters' is largely a misunderstanding.
In the UK, the filters provided by exchange services are not actual filters from regular cigarettes, they're the separate, much smaller filters used for making hand-rolled cigarettes.
If you compare them to a regular filter from a normal 'pre-rolled' cig like a marlboro for example, they are clearly made of completely different stuff.
Swim has certainly never heard of any case of cotton fever in the 4 and a bit years he's been using, in fact most of the junkies he knows wouldn't even know what it is.
Swim has also used plain old cotton, but much prefers hand-rolled cig filters. The hand rolled filters dry much much more quickly; prehaps a reason why cotton fever is so unheard of in the UK....
If they haven't been tried before, swim would strongly recommend giving them a go, normally you'll want to cut one into two pieces as one whole filter would be too big. Aside from this, they're very easy to get that 'second hit' out of, (considerably easier than regular cotton in swim's opinion).
Just make sure you don't buy the filters which have paper wrapped around them! (These are rarely seen in the UK, but swim doesn't know about elsewhere).
Last edited by Helene; 02-02-2010 at 23:13.
Reason: removing quoted text