Steroid Use - Reducing Your Risk

Safer Injection

Never Share
Your needles, water, spoons, mix, filters or tourniquets.

Keep it sterile
Swab your spoon, fingers and the injection site before injecting.

Dispose safely
Always recap your needle, place it in a hard rigid walled container, and return to your local  needle exchange.

This page provides information and links to resources on how to reduce your risk of infection and disease when injecting steroids.

What do I need to do to make injecting safe?

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What do I need to know about safer injecting and steroid use?

  • Injecting is the most complicated and risky way you can do steroids.
  • Oral steroids are safer than injecting.
  • In addition to following the basics about  safer injecting - you need to take special care when using vials.
  • Vials with rubber caps will have bacteria on them.
  • Swab the rubber cap with a new alcohol swab to reduce contamination of the needle and the steroid inside.
  • Wait 30 seconds for the alcohol to evaporate, before piercing it with the drawing up needle.
  • Never refill vials - they are hard to sterilize and refilling puts you at greater risk for bacterial infections.
  • Needles that go into vials must be new, just as needles that go into your body must be new.
  • Piercing the rubber cap on a vial can blunt the needle. If you use a different needle to draw the steroid up from the vial than the one you inject with, always keep the needle capped until you are ready to use it.
  • When using water to dissolve steroid tablets to inject or for cleaning vials and syringes, if at all possible use sterile water .

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What are signs of infection?

  • Abscesses will first appear as reddish swelling, which may feel hot to the touch. Abscesses will develop into a hard pus filled core. You will need to get medical help for abscesses.
  • Reduce your chances of abscesses by cleaning the site with an alcohol swab.
  • Dirty hits are caused by injection of foreign substances into your blood stream, (for example dirt off a filter, loose hair in the mix etc.) The symptoms are the shakes, vomiting, sweating, severe headaches, fever and occasionally kidney pains.
  • Dirty hits are best treated with acetaminophen, rest and drinking lots of fluids.
  • Septicemia is blood poisoning, caused by bacteria in the blood stream. It is important to get medical help immediately, as septicemia can be fatal.

For more information on how to be safe if you inject steroids, visit our page on Safer Injecting .

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