Friday, May 25, 2012

Necrotizing Fasciitis

I hate reading these case reports of patients who've contracted serious necrotizing fasciitis infections. It breaks my heart to see a beautiful young woman in the prime of her life having her body ravaged, when these type of infections can so often be prevented.

For my non-medical visitors - necrotizing fasciitis is a severe, sometimes life threatening infection that occurs when bacteria get into parts of the body where bacteria aren't usually found, such as the blood, muscle, or the lungs. Occasionally described by the media as "the flesh-eating bacteria", it is a rapidly progressive disease which destroys muscles, fat, and skin tissue.

These infections are termed "invasive GAS disease."

Many of us harbor this type of bacteria on our hands, and spread it around without even knowing it. Wash your hands multiple times throughout the day. Make it a habit. By doing so, you'll prevent bacterial spread to others. The spread of all types of GAS infection can be reduced by good hand washing, especially after coughing, sneezing, before preparing foods or eating, and especially after being in crowded places or visiting someone in the hospital.

If you're injured, take precautions and IMMEDIATELY wash the wound site with soap and water, use hydrogen peroxide, and an antibiotic ointment. All wounds should be kept clean and watched for possible signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pus, and pain at the wound site. If it's serious enough, don't hesitate to call your doctor or check with your local pharmacist. Be smart!

The last thing your loved ones want to hear is an apology for not following these easy precautions.

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