Cotton: Facts and Tips - Library

Cotton: Facts and Tips


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Brochure Release Date: October 2003
Text Only Version: Cotton: Facts and Tips.

Brochure Text:


Facts & Tips

  • Sharing cottons can spread HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
  • Spores & bacteria grow in used cottons.
  • Don't save used cottons for when you can't score.
  • Save a tiny bit of dope instead.
  • Use a fresh, clean cotton every time you shoot.

Cotton fever is probably not caused by cotton fibers. It's more likely caused by bacteria that live in the cotton. Cotton can grow a lot of bacteria, especially after it gets wet. Re-using cottons can put bacteria directly into your blood stream. Cotton fever is uncomfortable, but it's usually not serious.

Symptoms may include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Hot flashes
  • Shaking that you can't control
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms usually show up right after injecting, but may take up to an hour. Taking a second hit will not make them go away. Instead, grab a blanket and let the infection take its course.

If symptoms last longer than 3 to 4 hours, or get worse, go to an emergency room. Don't ignore these symptoms, especially if they last. They can mean that you have a very serious infection or even a blood clot that could kill you.

  • Always use a fresh new cotton, a new cooker and a new sterile syringe.
  • Before you shoot, wash your hands and the injection site with lots of soap and hot water. Then wipe the site with an alcohol pad
. Get all the FREE cottons, cookers & alcohol wipes you need at the Needle Exchange.
  • Exchange used rigs for new, sterile ones.
  • Test for HIV, hepatitis & TB.
  • Get great advice and helpful hints from our vein care pros.
  • Get quality health care from the docs in our Medical Clinic (Monday - Friday, 1:30 - 4:30 pm).

There are 7 needle exchange sites in King County.
Call 206-205-7837 for hours and more info.