Necrotizing Fasciitis: Flesh-eating Disease from Nightmares
While scrapes and minor cuts are rather inevitable part of life, in the presence of flesh-eating bacteria even the smallest of wounds can become serious and life-threatening. This is basically what happens when one is suffering from necrotizing fasciitis. But what is the disease? This is a soft tissue infection that destroys the muscles and skin tissues. It’s caused by bacteria that do not actually eat the flesh but rather release toxins that end up destroying the body tissues. The bacteria invade a scrape, wound or bug bite and unleash toxic chemicals that kill the tissue cells.
The first symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis may not be very serious. Your skin may become red and warm. Later on, you may develop a painful small red bump. However, the pain starts becoming worse when the red bumps appear. Other symptoms include:
– Infrequent urination.
– Fever with chills.
A bit of statistics on the disease
It's believed that necrotizing fasciitis leads to around 500,000 deaths every year and can cause severe consequences to those who affected. According to a recent research, at least 650 new cases of the ailments are reported every year in the US, and about a quarter of these cases prove dangerous. New findings show that this infection is fatal in about 20% of all the cases.
The best way to prevent this ailment is good hygiene and proper wound care. Here are some of the best ways to take care of your wounds:
– Ensure that open wounds are covered with a clean bandage until they are healed.
– Do not delay to do first aid even on small wounds such as scrapes and blisters.
– If you have an active infection or an open wound do not spend time in hot tubs, whirlpools, and other natural water bodies until you are healed.
In a study done on patients suffering from the ailment, it was found that instillation with saline having 0.01% hypochlorous acid may make the bacterial toxin weak and mitigate the immune dysfunction.
An early diagnosis and treatment of this ailment is very important indeed. The sooner the treatment starts, the more likely you will avoid developing complications. The extent of treatment usually depends on the stage of the disease. It may include:
– Strong antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
– Medications to increase the blood pressure.
– Breathing aids and cardiac monitoring.
– Intravenous immunoglobulin to support the body immune system.
If early intervention is done, patients usually survive the ailment. If there is a lot of tissue loss has already happened, it may be necessary to carry out skin graft and, in some severe cases, amputation may be necessary.