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Cotton fever is commmonly caused among users who I.V. various drugs such as methamphetamine or street heroin. A user needs to remove particulate matter from a pill or a substance to inject a drug without high risk of damage to the circulatory system or possibly death.
Many users want to take the cheaper route, opting for cotton balls as filters, or sometimes use even more dangerous methods such as cigarette filters. The cotton ball is not the ideal filter for the removal of risky substances from your drug concoction.
All bacteria are caught by smaller filters, letting through a max of .22 micron objects that are left behind by the cotton ball. A specific species of bacteria which thrives on the cotton plant, and is also dangerous to users, is the E. agglomerans strain. Injecting the bacteria directly into the bloodstream or by accidentally shooting a fiber of cotton can cause cotton fever.
As quickly as a dozen minutes after the injection, the bacteria can begin to multiply to the level of causing distress to the circulatory system and your mind. Headaches and a general feeling of discomfort or illness may appear; fever and a fast heartbeat work together to fight the bacteria.
The unaided human body is sufficient to defeat the infection, and the cotton fever symptoms and bacteria are permanently eliminated from the body after about two to three hours. That is, unless you decide to use another cotton ball filter for your next shot!