Here is some important advice around how to treat wound infections.
- Are caused when a wound (including somewhere you inject drugs) gets infected by bacteria
- Can be serious and have led to people being taken into hospital, losing arms and legs, and even dying
- Are increasing across England in people who use drugs.
Signs and Symptoms
- Heat, swelling, redness, aches and pains around a wound, joint or muscle.
- Pus and/or unpleasant smell from site of wound.
- Wound that will not heal.
- A swollen pus-filled lump under the skin (abscess).
- Red, painful, hot, swollen, tender, blistered skin.
- Dizziness, confusion.
- Shortness of breath, fast breathing, difficulty breathing.
- Unexplained ‘bruising’ or rash.
Ways To Reduce Risk
- Wash your hands before injecting.
- Clean injecting sites.
- Use new kit every time.
- Don’t re-use filters or lick needles before using them.
- Try and avoid missed hits.
- Don’t inject into your groin.
Seek Medical Attention
If left untreated, these infections can get worse and can even kill. Early identification and treatment are vital. If someone has a combination of the symptoms mentioned above they should seek medical attention from their GP, call NHS 111 for advice or – if symptoms are severe – go straight to hospital. In an emergency, call 999.