In a couple of the news blogs I follow there is a daily reckoning of how many people are suffering from necrotizing fasciitis. Now it seems that there are at least four people who are in pretty deep trouble due to skin infections that are very serious.
I did a bit of research on the problem, using my little pea brain, and I’ve decided that this isn’t a threat to modern society. I suppose you’ll want a little more to go on than just knowing I’ve arrived at this conclusion.
First I think we all recognize that this kind of disease is freaky. The idea that our body parts will just slough off is highly disturbing . It’s no wonder so many of us are worried about it. Still, let’s try to keep our heads. Necrotizing fasciitis impacts over 500 people a year. While that may be a small number, it makes the four people that have it seem a little less overwhelming. It’s a horrible disease and I’m sorry anyone has caught it, but the bacteria that cause these illnesses are pretty common in the world- we just don’t all succumb to their poisons.
Did you notice I said “the bacterias”? See, that is another bit of evidence that makes me feel a little less panicked. There are several bacteria that can cause necrotizing fasciitis. And it isn’t like Doctors are testing for which bacteria a patient has as soon as they enter the hospital with body parts that look zombified. There are regular old staph infections that can kill the skin and then there are bacterial infections that live to kill like the aeromonas hydrophilla bacteria which Aimee Copeland, that young kayaker absorbed when she cut herself on a zipline.
The ‘aeromonas’ bacteria generally attacks fish. Fish that are in stressed environments suffer enormous issues with this bacteria. They ulcerate and have wounds, they puff up and look like crap and then a lot of them just die. The bad news is that each spring the counts of fish with this illness keep going up because of the water temperature. Spring is happy time for this little nasty bacteria. So that means that if you are in an area in which fish are around…and some of them may have this illness ( which how the hell can you tell since we can’t see most of the fish and without a degree in icthyology most of us wouldn’t know what a bacteria loaded fish would look like. Let’s just be safe. Just remember that you need to be extra careful when you cut yourself. You need to wash out the wound, and then you need to apply an antibiotic ointment and you need to bandage and allow the wound to heal. If your wound doesn’t appear to heal in due time then you need to get yourself to a doctor!
Any skin infection is going to hurt. But any skin infection isn’t going to blow out toxins to kill the rest of your body! This disease is awful and I’m terribly sorry for the folks that have to deal with the horrible devastation this illness causes but this isn’t the end of the world as we know it….
Not yet 😉