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all about abcesses



What is an abscess?

Technically, it’s defined as a localized collection of pus in a part of the body, surrounded by an inflamed area. The area will most likely look like a giant boil or cyst that can become extremely red and infected. If you don’t use a sterile syringe and clean yourself up carefully, the risk of getting an abscess is high.

What should I do if I get an abscess?

It depends on how bad it looks and the severity of it. If you don't see any red streaks or have hot puffy skin around the abscess, you can treat it at home with a hot soak. Soaking helps draw out the infection and can help the abscess come to a head, open up and drain.

To hot soak:

... Soak the affected area in a tub of plain hot water and Epsom salts. This works especially well if the abscess is on your hand or lower arm.
Hold a hot, wet washcloth over the abscess if it’s in a spot you can’t easily put under water.
Soak for at least 10 to 15 minutes at each time, 3 or 4 times a day.

If you have a really bad infection, you may need to go to the clinic and ask to be put on antibiotics. The health care worker will probably need to drain the pus to relieve the infection.

You must go to a clinic if:

... It has not improved after 5 to 7 days.
The lump gets bigger and more painful.
You see red streaks spreading out from the lump.
The lump is hot, puffy and pink.
You get a fever.

Go to the Emergency Room if:

... You have chest pains.
You have chills or a high fever.
The infection looks like it is spreading really fast.

You can get help for abscesses at the Wound and Abscess Drainage Treatment 4C (The ISIS Clinic) at San Francisco General Hospital, 1001 Potrero Avenue. Their hours are Monday thru Friday 8:00-4:00 PM. To make an appointment or to get more information, call them at (415) 207-3719.

If you need help after these available hours, go to the Emergency Room at SFGH.

To have abscesses drained at the ISIS Clinic, you must not eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before seeing the doctor.

You must have someone come to the clinic with you so they can escort you home.

Substance use counselors are available at the clinic Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 AM to 12 noon.

How to reduce your risk:

When you are injecting, it is always important to use sterile equipment. If this is not possible, use bleach to clean all of your works before reusing them.

Here are eight steps to reduce your risk:

(1) Always use a brand new syringe every time you inject.

(2) Wash your hands first and then the injection site with warm, soapy water. Getting bacteria into the injection site is a leading cause of abscess.

(3) Use an alcohol pad to cleanse the injection site. Take the alcohol pad and wipe back and forth where you plan to inject. Press hard and use as many pads as you need to get the dirt off the skin. Use a second pad and press down on the injection spot. This time, wipe in a circle. Start with small circles and make bigger circles as you go. This will push any leftover dirt and bacteria on your skin away from the spot where you’re going to shoot.

(4) Use a clean container to mix your hit.

(5) Filter the hit well. Use brand new cotton every time you draw up a hit.

(6) Rotate the injection sites. It will give your skin and vein tissue a chance to heal.

(7) Get a tetanus booster shot. If you inject, it is a good idea to get one every 5 years. You can get one at City Clinic. 356 7th Street, San Francisco

(8) Do not muscle or skin-pop crystal meth. It will likely cause an abscess. It is also very painful.

 related links
maintain healthy veins don't skin pop meth
avoiding arteries hep c basics
finding veins needle exchange

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