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Ep. 56 – Cotton Fever – What Are the Symptoms and How Do I Know If I Have It?

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“You never know what can happen if you put recovery first.” -Ben B. Click To Tweet

Cotton Fever is the name of a condition that is caused by bacteria getting into the blood and creating extreme flu like symptoms and uncontrollable shaking. Unfortunately, addicts will use cotton to filter heroin before injecting it. If the cotton contains bacteria, it can get into the syringe and then the addict’s blood stream and create this condition.

In this episode, Tom and Adam discuss the symptoms and Ben shares some personal experiences that happened, before he was in recovery. The whole purpose of this episode is to make people aware of this condition, the symptoms, and what to do if they experience these symptoms. We also talk about the deeper issue of finding help for addiction and eliminating these dangerous behaviors.

“Addiction is scary, we don't think about the health consequences.” -Ben B. Click To Tweet

Show Notes

  • Lonely man sitting on the stairs[02:05] Cotton fever is caused by germs left in cotton that is used to filter drugs before being put in a syringe. The bacteria gets injected into the bloodstream.
  • [04:24] Ben and his girlfriend both got cotton fever. He shot the heroin, and then got a severe headache, involuntary muscle shaking, and severe flu like symptoms.
  • [05:38] His roommates could hear him moaning and got him some Tylenol and NyQuil.
  • [06:20] Cotton fever doesn’t seem to be fatal, but the symptoms are severe. Ben was scared when he saw his fiance go through it.
  • [07:54] She was really frightened and even called her mother. They wanted to go to the hospital but were afraid of getting arrested.
  • [08:15] They waited it out through the night. They felt a little better in the morning.
  • [08:56] There isn’t a lot of medical research on cotton fever. It is similar to flu like symptoms. Fever, nausea, anxiety, shaking, it can mimic withdrawal.
  • [10:32] The symptoms are a bit different than withdrawal.
  • [11:38] If it doesn’t subside in a few hours or days, an antibiotic is necessary to kill the bacteria in the bloodstream.
  • [12:24] It’s probably not safe to assume that your severe symptoms are cotton fever. Seek help if something is wrong.
  • [13:32] Ben also had a girlfriend who got a staph infection in her arm.
  • [14:46] Ben was in detox and a woman who was there shot heroin with well water that wasn’t sterilized and got an infection in her brain through her blood.
  • [16:14] Opiates take a lot of the part of the brain that gives you the ability to have logical thought.
  • [18:50] Addiction is scary and can cause people to make very bad decisions when it comes to how they get high.
  • [20:44] If you think you have cotton fever don’t freak out too much. Treat it with some Tylenol, take a warm bath and get some sleep. Drink water not alcohol.
  • [21:24] The main thing that Adam wants to talk about is you shouldn’t shoot heroin in the first place.
  • [21:39] There are so many dangers involved. It’s like Russian Roulette. Especially with all the dangerous fentanyl floating around.
  • [23:19] If you’re making a phone call about cotton fever or you’re concerned about cotton fever, there is something wrong.
  • [24:12] If you’re having symptoms, and you feel you need to see a doctor, please go see a doctor.
“Opiates take the part of the brain that gives you the ability to have logical thought offline.” -Adam Click To Tweet

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