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Velvet Darkness

Sang. Vamp safety and feeding article.

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This article was originally written by Gentleman Death and was posted on Castle Otherkin on December 20th 2008.

If anyone has any further information to add, problems, questions, worries or complaints about this article please let us know by replying below.

Sanguinarian feeding and safety.

There are several ways for sanguinarians to feed. Some are better and safer than others so it is important to know everything and more before you engage in feeding like this. There are huge risks. Not just to your donor, but to you too and as such sanguine feeding should not be taken lightly.

Here are few of my tips and what I hope is a very useful article for all those who have recently awoken to what they are and for those who wish to read it and learn or even those who have plenty of experience of feeding.

My information is taken from many resources across the internet and from my own knowledge as well as the guidance of others who helped me. Sorry there is so much here, but it’s all important stuff. Print it off if you like.

Please note that this is by know means a definitive list of tips and information, there is always room for more research and there are many other things that people may wish to consider. Hopefully this covers a good portion of it though.

Safety first

As mentioned above there is a lot of risk involved and feeding can be potentially very dangerous.

Any one even considering indulging in bloodletting should listen up now. If you want to stay safe, alive and stay out of trouble you would do well to read this section and learn from it. Do not be arrogant and think that you will not make a mistake and never think you are not at risk when feeding. Don’t take chances, leave no (or at least very little) room for mistakes. Chances are you may very well make at least one when feeding at some point in your life. However the following information should help prevent that and reduce risks.

Medical and health

Get your donors tested. A simple blood test from the NHS or local doctor’s will prove whether your donor is safe to supply you.

For your own peace of mind and personal safety I strongly urge that this should be carried out before you feed. A blood (serum) test will screen donors for sexually transmitted diseases. A separate test may be needed for HIV, but again I recommend this.

Understandably there are issues for younger members of the community, having been in that place myself I know what might be going through their heads.

One concern may be that they feel they won’t be able to get donors tested, as donors themselves may be of the same age as they are. In the UK people can give blood at the age of 17 to the NHS. As such all blood is screened for everything before any donations take place. If your donor is not 17 I would personally advise that knowing their sexual history is a good idea, if the next approach is of no use to you.

It is also possible to go to the doctors and ask for a blood test, they will only ask a few questions, mainly as to the reason for it. In which case all that need to be said is that you (donor or vampire, as the donor has EVERY right to know that they are safe too) are concerned about STD’s and that think you may have one. This may involve a little bit of being “creative with the truth”, for example claiming to have had sex if you haven’t . However the doctor’s don’t ask too much and it is all kept confidencial. That means that your parents need not know the outcome or that you ever had a test, after all you may not want them with you when you go to the doctors requesting this information. On top of this, they can’t refuse giving you a number to book an appointment.

Regarding the NHS and probably any blood donation service, it is important to know that gay or bi-sexual men can’t donate due to the high risk of HIV (and homophobia, as ALL blood is completely screened.). It is argued that the risk is the main reason, however it is also possible to claim that it is down to funding and the fact that it takes a while to develop and show in results (or so I’ve heard). Safety or Homophobia, you decide, either way, something to be considered if your donor is gay or bi as they will have to go to the doctors and book a test.

I would also advise that donors do not tell there doctor’s that the test is so you can donate to a vampire, for obvious reasons.

There are certain other things that affect blood other than STD’s. It is important to have your donors screened for these too just in case and for their own safety. A “complete blood count” will tell you if your potential donor is anaemic. I would not recommend having an anaemic donor, for their safety as they need all the iron and blood they have. Any depletion can harm their health.

Here are some common STD’s and blood born diseases to watch out for and be aware of: Information taken from Castle Otherkin, posted by: Noctem Aeternus

Hepatitis B.

A viral infection which causes inflammation of the liver which may cause cirrhosis. It is also linked with an increased risk of Liver cancer. Hepatitis B can be passed through blood and other body fluids. Approximately two thirds of the carriers of this chronic disease never get ill themselves and so although they can still transmit the virus to others, they may never know they have it, and some may eventually clear the virus from their body.

A vaccine is available to prevent infection, though there is no specific treatment.

Hepatitis C,

This is a blood-borne viral infection which could cause inflammation of the liver and also long term liver damage. It can be passed through other body fluids but transfer this way is rare.

For this strain of Hepatitis there is no vaccine, but a treatment is available. This is a set of medications which when given in the correct combination can lead to sustained clearance of the virus in approximately 50-60% of all patients.

HIV.

This stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and is the virus known to cause AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

HIV damages or kills cells in the body's immune system, slowly but surely destroying its ability to effectively fight infections and certain cancers. It can take from a few months to over 10 years for an infected person to develop symptoms.

It is passed through the transfer of any bodily fluids, but usually this is a transfer through blood or sexual contact of some kind.

There is a treatment which slows the disease but as yet there is no vaccine, no real treatment and no cure.

Tests for these diseases are available from any GP surgery etc.

Chlamydia.

Can only be passed through sexual contact of some kind, and so would not be an issue for Vampires and their donors unless they are also sexual partners. Although it is a nasty disease Chlamydia can be easily and successfully treated once it has been diagnosed, and the tests are painless, fast and can be performed at any GP surgery.

Medications:

If you happen to be on any form of medication, check to see what medications (if any) your donor is taking as well. The combination of the medications may have adverse effects. One may cancel out the other or make you both ill.

Also, even if you are not taking any medications, find out if your donor is. The medication could still have some form of effect on you, so it’s best to find out.

It would also be handy for both you and your donor to be up to date on your injections and shots for things like tetanus. It can never hurt you to be too careful can it? The last thing anyone wants is some form of infection from sanguine feeding, there should be very little chance of this happening if tools are sterile.

Know basic anatomy, regarding where it would and would not be safe to cut. It will be helpful to you and potential prevent an accidental cut of a vein or tendon etc. Because “it wasn’t where I thought it was”.

Illness and the health of you and your donor:

While it is unlikely that you will be infected by drinking bodily fluids of any sort unless you have cuts or sores in your mouth or oesophagus your donor and you should still be screened as there is always a chance.

If you have a raw, sore throat don't feed on some one else’s blood and take the risk.

If you or your donor happen to be ill or sick with anything, even a common cold, do not feed. You or they will pass the infection to the other person. Not great really. As well as this if your donor is ill, they need all the energy they have at this time and feeding can be draining for them. If you do decide to feed you will find the energy weak and polluted, wait for them to recover and give them food that will help their immune system (garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper etc.) Let your partner heal before any feeding.

So do not feed if either of you have a cold, the flu or sore throat. It may also be wise not to feed for a few weeks after as the pathogens that caused the disease could still be in the blood and body of you or your donor and you could still come down with some thing. Personally I stick rigidly to this and will delay feeding for a month if needed. If you are ill, please reframe from feeding so that you don’t pass anything to you donor.

Extremely spicy food, although tasty, burns the oesophagus and can leave it feeling a bit raw, so it might be wise not to feed after having a hot curry. Spicy food also gives you bad breath, which is less of a problem for you, however you donor may not be too taken by it.

Trust

Another point regarding donor/vampire safety is that you know and trust each other and really know them. Trust is needed in a relationship of this nature. A donor must be comfortable with helping you out and you must trust them to be safe and help you.

Creating a strong bond with a donor is highly recommended. You must be able to trust each other fully. Exchange medical information vital to blood drinking. Behave responsibly and have faith that you and your donor can handle anything related to the act and situation as well as its possible out comes. Have faith in each other too and trust the other person. Get the tests done, know their clotting rates and simple biology as to where and where not to cut, this well improve both yours and the donors confidence as you both feel safer knowing there is less (hopefully no) chance of an accident.

Prep and equipment

Preparation is also recommend with feeding and safety. Prepare for anything that you think might happen in bloodletting. Cutting too deep for example and causing real damage, it could always happen, so be prepared!

Know first aid and how to cut off blood flow to the area if needed.

Tourniquets can be used on limbs for this purpose. A belt fastened tightly to the limb cuts of the circulation of the blood and will prevent further bleeding.

Having some basic medical equipment ready just in case of an accident is a good idea, it would certainly save running around the place in a panic if anything did ever go wrong.

Sterile pads, gauze, plasters, bandages, antiseptics will be useful to have handy. Everything you use must be clean, this not only includes medical supplies but “sharps” and cutting tools too. This again will minimise the risks of feeding.

Hands and skin surfaces should also be clean, alcohol wipes are a good idea as these are good for cleaning the area on your donor that you are going to cut.

The last thing your donor wants is an infection or something worse.

It is also a good idea to use mouthwash before feeding to get rid of germs etc there. Do not brush your teeth before feeding. I know you don’t hear that often and your dentist may have a fit but...Brushing can cause tiny minuet cuts on the gums which bleed. You do not want blood to blood contact or open cuts in your mouth as this might lead to transition of diseases, not just to you but your donor, yet another reason to both be checked out medically, but even so don’t risk it. The same applies to flossing before feeding. Don’t do it!

Fresh sharps should be used if possible as these will be sterile, it will say this on the packaging. However knifes and blades can be sterilised by boiling them or letting them soak in diluted bleach, detol, or a similar antiseptic, and rinsing them off.

Fresh, new sharps are also very good to use as they well cut easier and “cleaner” leaving less scaring. Dull already used ones on the other hand hurt more and do not cut so cleanly. Dull blades also stand a greater chance of tearing your veins, rather than cutting them neatly. They can also leave scars and promote the collapse of veins. And for God’s sake, please never use a rusty cutter. You’re just asking for it if you do.

When Cutting or feeding by other methods...

Have your donor do the honours of cuttings if at all possible. It is technically an act of assault and battery, I believe. If this is not possible have your donor sign some form of consent; it may not help much if they ever go rogue on you, but at least you will have something in your defence indicating that you did not attack them. This helps you cover your own back a little.

Also, relax. Stay as calm as possible. If you are nervous and it shows this may cause your donor to freak out a little. If they are uncomfortable it makes things a lot harder when feeding and has the potential to lead to an accident. It also causes your donor to doubt you, which will reduce any amount of trust and faith they have in you.

Another reason to relax: shaky nervous hands means a painful cut and possibly one nasty scar. Take a deep breath and calm down. If you don’t feel confident enough with cutting your donor safely, then perhaps it would be a good idea not too until you are ready. Don’t rush yourself. It only leads to accidents.

This just about wraps up the safety aspect of feeding I think. Of course certain types of feeding well require extra safety to be taken. Methods such as using syringes have there own set of rules which should be followed and I shall address these latter.

My final advice here would be:

Be sensible, be safe, be calm. Have common sense and be sanitary. Feeding is not a game. Be responsible. Luck to you all.

Feeding methods

Right, that was the preliminary warning of feeding and safety area, now on to some of the methods of how to do it...

Surface cuts:

Exactly what it says on the tin. This is a cut which doesn’t cut too deep but allows enough blood for a suitable feed. Recommended for beginners and younger members of the community as there is less chance of harming your donor and friend. It will heal quickly and look a bit like a scratch, although a little worse maybe. It is also a good method for those who don’t want scars.

Avoid vein and organ areas. Be sure that you don’t go near areas where there are tendons and ligaments, unless you are confident and experienced enough with a suitable amount of research under your belt. Even then, this could be risky for you. For beginners I would suggest that the back, shoulder, abdomen and thighs are the only places you should cut. Again though with the thighs, take care and avoid cutting the blood vessels. There are several large, major ones here.

You don’t need to press to hard with this method. If you are cutting the back, you can “trace” the blade, pressing lightly. More blood can be gained if you cut deep and press harder with a razor, blade, knife or scalpel, this however hurts more for your donor and will leave scars. In most cases, deep cuts won’t be needs no matter how hungry you think you are, chances are you have eyes bigger than your belly. However if you do need more another surface cut will do.

Useful equipment for this method:

Razors, blades, knifes, scalpels blood letters and Lancets.

Blood letters and Lancets:

These are little boxes with three or four razor blades inside. It is spring loaded, so when you pres the button the blades come down just enough to get about an ounce or two of blood. When placed on the underside of the forearm they cut about 1mm deep and do not leave scars. The marks left by the letter when healing look like a cat has scratched you, pretty good alibi there.

The side of the finger close to the tip well give a good amount of blood, but will sting.

They are used by diabetics but they also prove to be a great blood letting tool.

They are safe, reliable and don’t leave scars whilst allowing a good feed.

There are many different styles, at varying prices. Cheap ones work just as well as the more expensive ones, but hurt a little, although its hardly anything.

These can be bought from a pharmacy. You will have to claim to be diabetic or that you are getting them for a family member who is diabetic as it is not likely that the pharmacist will sell them to you otherwise. It is better to get them from the pharmacist as well as they can provide you with information on how to get the best results from your type of blood letter or lancet.

Remember to prep the skin etc before feeding, using alcohol wipes etc but let the area dry before you cut.

When cutting pull the skin taut with fingers make a light incision. Be care how much pressure etc you apply and watch how deep the blade goes in to the skin. I recommend cutting an inch or so in length and no more than just breaking the skin in depth. Of course there is a degree of personal choice here so long as you remain safe.

Once cut, place the blade aside in a safe place and where the fingers were pulling the skin taut they should push together forming an open wound so the blood can pool inside of the wound. Let the blood pool and drink what is available. Do not suck the blood out roughly. This can cause serious damage to the wound, which can cause the wound to become infected and take more time to heal. Plus it looks like a love bite. A very nasty one at that and bruises. Some light sucking is allowed and will not do much damage, however how badly it might bruise depends on your donors body. Some people bruise a lot easier than others.

The repetitive pooling and drinking of blood such be enough for your feed.

Making a light X mark with a sharp, fresh razor, is one good shallow cut method.

It provides a good amount of blood and causes less pain than if you make a single stroke and try to suck hard to get enough blood out; there's also less chance of scarring provided you keep the cut shallow.

When cutting your donor on the back, make sure you cut high and toward the outside to avoid wing muscles.

Pricking (jabbing):

With pins and needles. If you get into piercing at all, this is a great way to get little tiny amounts of blood. More blood can be gained if you hit a capillary.

Venipuncture and Syringes and hypodermic needles:

OK, here’s the tricky method. I do not recommend that any younger vampire should use this method and that only those qualified to use needles and syringes safely try.

This method has many potential risks. Collapsing veins for one if the needle you use is too large and you repeatedly feed from the same site.

As well of this untrained people using needles can inject air in to someone. If you inject even the smallest amount of air into an open vein you will cause an air embolism which is always it is always Fatal. Your donor will die if this happens! You are collecting blood with your syringe so never push the plunger! Only pull to collect. If you think for even a second that you may be nervous and accidentally do this just use the tip of the needle to puncture the vein and remove it. This will allow blood to flow for your feed if you hit the vein correctly and means that you can drink from the source.

That’s my “doom and gloom” warning over.

I can do no more for you now other than tell you how to be safe using them if you really want to (and can) use them.

1. Carry out all the preliminary prep work regarding cleaning tool, hands and the surface you are going to draw from. Alcohol wipes are great for wiping the surface.

2. Smaller needle gauges are better to use than larger ones. The higher the number, the smaller the needle. An 18 gauge butterfly needle is good to use I heard.

Larger needles are harder to use and can promote vein collapse. Rotating the site of feeding is recommended so that you don’t cause too much scaring on any spot of the vein.

3. Tourniquets should be used as you want to be able to see the vein you are going to draw from. Veins on the inner arm are usually best to use(the antecubital vein is strongly suggested; this is the space on the other side of your elbow, because the vessels are large there.) so attach the tourniquet and tie it off above where you plan to insert the need le. A good tourniquet is one that you can release easily, make sure its not too tight for your partner when attached. It’s purpose is to make the veins stand out, not make the arm go numb or put your donor in pain. Once you have made your opening, remove the tourniquet to allow blood flow.

4. When putting the needle into the skin and puncturing do so slowly and steadily. You do not want to go through the other side of the vein after all, this won‘t work. Arteries also lie under some veins, hitting one of these is as painful as *Milton Keynes* for your donor and will swell up to a huge size. It will be very obvious and hurt for days, it can also lead to scarring of the vein. Never pierce if there is a pulse, veins bleed better and don’t have pulses where as arteries do.

If you are using a razor blade for a deep cut to cut the vein, be careful, using the corner of the blade. And remember to cut across the vein, not down it! Never cut down the vein.

5. First aid: After you have finished feeding see to the wound, treat it as you would any semi-major cut. Make sure you have the self control to pull away if the donor gets dizzy, shaky, faints, or if they are worried about bleeding too much.

Stop any bleeding afterward by applying a sterile compress(cotton ball, paper towel, clean washcloth, etc). If necessary elevate the wound above the person's heart, and add and ice pack (for no more than 20 minutes). After this apply a bandage, use antibiotic ointment if desired and make sure they're ok. Offer them something with sugar, iron and/or b vitamins. Stick around for 30mins to an hour just to make sure they don't start bleeding again, or feeling unwell. They will probably feel fairly tired too.

Be sure to clean up everything and dispose of any sharps in a stab-proof container (coffee can, shampoo bottle, beer bottle with cap, etc).

More information about vein care and puncturing can be found at sites that are directed at heroin and drug users. Just remember that you will be drawing blood instead of injecting... remember not to inject.

After care:

After care is just as important as the preliminary work and prep.

Clean out the wound and the areas surrounding it with antiseptic wipe, cream or liquids like detol. This will prevent infection, not that there should be one.

Cover the cut with a plaster, bandaid, or something sterile and similar.

If the cut is deep but not deep enough for stitches, place a butterfly bandaid on it. These are designed for added support for deep cuts.

Have the person keep an eye out for infections or continuous bleeding. In most cases, the wound should close in a matter of hours, but support is still need cause it can reopen and any sign of stress. The wound should clot and stop bleeding fairly soon, usually with 5 to 10 minutes. However this may be longer for slightly deeper cuts.

Now to dispose of the blade. Take the used blade, wipe off blood and wrap it in tape so that the edges can‘t cut anyone. Then throw it away.

I do not recommend reusing blades or using them on different people (such as using one blade for multiple partners). As reuse leads to dull blades and using them on multiple donors can lead to transition of disease and infection.

Finally, debrief. Talk with each other making sure you are both alright, physically and emotionally. It may also be wise to get a cup of tea or sugary drink for your donor along with a biscuit as they may need the pick me up of a sugar boost.

Finally, don’t bite to feed. It’s extremely painful and will leave hideous marks. Do not lap up the blood like an animal, it’s impolite.

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