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Many people who use self-harm as a way of coping at one time or another will find out that one of their injuries has become infected. When left untreated such infections can become serious and in extreme cases even life threatening. It is important that infections are treated as quickly as possibly after you become aware of them. Most infections can be treated by over the counter remedies or a short course of antibiotics available from your GP or local NHS walk in centre. If you do not wish to see a doctor or go to a walk in centre most pharmacists will be happy to advise you on what is the best over the counter treatment to use.
Infections can often be prevented by only using clean implements to harm yourself with and if possible an implement should never be used more than once. If you need to use an implement more than once it is important that it is cleaned and sterilised after and before each use. Soaking the implement in boiling water with a disinfectant such as Savlon and then rinse with boiling water can do this very basically. It is also important to keep the area you intend to harm clean and this can be done very simply by cleaning the area prior to injury with an antiseptic wipe or spray (available from the chemist or on prescription) the same spray and wipes can also be used to clean and sterilise implements. After injuring you will need to keep the site as clean as possible and keep a close eye on it to watch for signs of infection.
Cuts and burns
A foul smell
A change in colour of the surrounding skin
Internal infections (vaginal or rectal)
Pain in the lower back or lower abdomen
Rectal or Vaginal discharge
A foul smell
Bleeding (outside of standard menstrual flow)
We are not medical professionals but the information contained on this site has been reviewed against various official sources and found to be correct. If you have any comments regarding this; please click here.
© Equilibrium - Site last updated 30/03/04 at 15:49