How to Deal with the Bacterial Skin Infection Connected to Hurricane Harvey

Bacterial Skin InfectionSeveral reports indicate that there is a rise in bacterial infection after the hurricane Harvey. Necrotizing fasciitis, popularly known as flesh-eating infection, is often found in flood water. It is a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly, once the bacteria enter the body and kill the body’s soft tissue. This rare disease is caused by more than one type of bacterium. Even though anyone can develop an infection from flesh-eating bacteria, people with compromised immune systems are more exposed. In fact, accurate and prompt diagnosis, good wound care and surgery are the best ways to prevent any bacterial skin infection.

In fact, the first line of defense against necrotizing fasciitis is strong antibiotics including a combination of Penicillin G and an aminoglycoside as well as clindamycin which are given through a needle into a vein. However, if toxins destroy soft tissue and reduce blood flow, then the antibiotics may not reach all of the infected and dying areas. In such cases, doctors will recommend surgery, in addition to antibiotics to remove dead tissue. This surgery is often critical to stop the infection.

Wound Care Guidelines

Here are some wound care guidelines to reduce the risk of infection with basic hygiene practices.

  • Use clean, dry bandages to cover draining or open wounds until healed.
  • Never delay first aid of even minor, non-infected wounds (such as blisters, scrapes, or any break in the skin).
  • If there is an open wound or skin infection, then avoid spending time in whirlpools, hot tubs, swimming pools, and natural bodies of water.
  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently. If washing is not possible, then use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Necrotizing soft tissue infections that include necrotizing forms of cellulitis, myositis, and fasciitis require frequent evaluation and assessment of pain and anxiety along with the administration of appropriate pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies. It is critical for clinicians to assess pain intensity frequently with an age-appropriate validated pain measurement tool. Repeated assessments help in formulating an effective treatment plan for the different types of pain. Assessment details can be documented using advanced wound management software.