Be sure to check with your clinician if you have any concerns about wound healing.

Following a clinician’s directions for wound care is essential to healthy healing. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many people volunteered to help cleanup efforts, despite the possibility of injury. The Galveston County Health District released a reminder for individuals to adequately treat wounds and ensure they see a clinician if they sustained anything serious, as one man suffered an infected wound and necrotizing fasciitis developed.

Also known as “flesh-eating bacteria,” the infection kills soft tissue, generally at a wound site, and it can be a fatal condition. As Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County Local Health Authority explained, “It’s most likely this person’s infection occurred when bacteria from Harvey debris or floodwater entered his body through a wound or cut,” and he added, “This is a very rare infection.” Individuals who are injured should be aware of the signs and symptoms of this condition, especially if they live or work in a high-risk area.

A serious wound infection

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis will develop rapidly and the bacteria associated with the infection causes the skin to die. The condition can be fatal in a short amount of time and A Streptococcus (group A strep), Klebsiella, Clostridium, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Aeromonas hydrophila are responsible for causing this condition. A patient will often need surgery and antibiotics as soon as it is determined that dangerous bacteria has entered the wound site and begun to grow. It is important that anyone who suffers a wound learns how to care for it properly to avoid this scenario.

Symptoms and prevention

A patient who contracts necrotizing fasciitis will experience something akin to the flu including vomiting or diarrhea, said UPMC Health Beat. The wound site will likely be red and swollen and severe pain that does not necessarily match the severity of the wound may occur. To prevent this scenario, a patient should use hand sanitizer or antibacterial soap to clean the hands before touching the wound site, and he or she must keep a wound clean and dry and covered with a bandage until it is fully healed. If a patient has an open wound, it is prudent to stay away from open water – ponds, lakes, streams or the ocean – until it is healed, and it is also a good idea to skip the swimming pool or the hot tub, just to be on the safe side.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.