Over the holidays, my clinic had numerous heroin users check in. Many of them have absesses at injection sites and a few of them have a very hard lump at an injection site. They keep asking me if these lumps will go away & they've told me the doctor has looked at them. The doctor wrote antiobiotic orders for them. What I want to know is.... What are those hard lumps, if it's just puss, why are they so hard, how long does it take for them to go away & when should I be concerned enough to send them to the hospital? (I work in non-medical detox clinic. A doctor visits every morning(I work nights), but is not otherwise on the premisses)
One of these clients came to me the other day very tearful and showed me a large abscess at an antecubital injection site. She was scared and said she felt nauseous. She had a fever of 100.1, and the site was slightly red & very warm to the touch. She also stated that she was feeling tingling & numbness in both hands. So, I sent her to the ER. Thank God I did because she has blood clots in both arms & they've admitted her. So now, several of the other clients (one of whom is her boyfriend) are worried that they could have clots as well.
I would very much like to put together an information packet to educate myself as well as my clients about what to look for and when to go to the hospital regarding abscesses, blood clots, etc. related to IV drug use. Does anyone have any good resources I could look into?
I'm a new grad LPN. This is my first job and we did not go over this type of thing in school & I feel that I need to know these things if I am working with this population.