Wound Care is an important topic that can be overshadowed by the conversations about Naloxone or treatment options. When focusing on harm reduction, we factor in the health hazards of intravenous substance use. Long-term use of needles and substances can cause abscesses or Cellulitis, resulting in an open wound.
When injecting into a dirty or unsanitized area increases the chance of infection. Also, if a wound has already formed, keeping the wound drained, cleaned, and properly bandaged is important for healing and prevention of infection. Below we’ve simplified some important information from the NextDistro guide on wound care and prevention.
How to Prevent Injection-Related Wounds
Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
Wash the injection site with soap and water or an alcohol prep pad.
Use fresh supplies each time you inject, whenever possible.
Using sterile water, sterile saline, tap water, or a sealed water bottle is best.
Always filter your shot and use a new filter every time.
The best and safest injection sites are in the arms and legs because they have the best circulation, meaning they’ll heal the fastest.
Note: if using an alcohol prep pad, wipe away from where you plan to inject.
Reducing track marks
1. Use a moisturizer or antibiotic creams on injection sites once they’ve closed or scabbed over. Aloe vera gel, cocoa butter, and vitamin E oil can help reduce track marks.
2. Creams like triple antibiotic ointment can be applied before sleep. The body heals when resting, making it the best time to use it.
3. Avoid injecting into areas with wounds. This will cause scar tissue and further damage the vein, leading to vein collapse in the long term.
As a part of Save Our Families harm reduction efforts, we will offer a limited supply of Wound Care Kits per month with your help. We have set up a charitable registry with Walmart for wound care supplies and related items. If you would like to contribute to our wound care kit initiative, please check out our Ways to Give, or you can purchase supplies from our registry.
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