Do I have flesh-eating disease?

Do I have flesh-eating disease?

There are few diseases which cause such a sense of dread as flesh-eating disease or necrotizing fasciitis. As we have seen in the media recently, it attacks suddenly, very fast, and it is deadly in 73 percents of cases if not treated immediately. While we are following the faith of a young girl from Georgia who is currently undergoing a series of operations and amputations in order to stay alive, knowing some basic facts about this horrific disease can make the difference between the life and death of someone dear to us.

What causes flesh-eating disease?

Flesh-eating disease, also called flesh-eating bacteria syndrome is a bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue. There is a range of bacteria which can cause flesh-eating disease: Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio vulnificus, Clostridium perfringens and many others. The most common is Streptococcus A ” “ the same bacteria that causes strep throat.

Flesh-eating bacteria do not actually “eat” the flesh, but release a range of toxins and cause complete system shock, known as toxic shock syndrome.

While very virulent and deadly, most of bacteria respond to the treatment with antibiotics. There are some new therapies that are showing promise, such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

It is also important to be aware that the disease is very rare – according to the CDC, about 600 people contract flesh-eating disease each year.

Who is in danger?

Most people – about 70 percents ” “ who contract flesh-eating disease are in some way weakened. Or their immune system has been suppressed, or they have diabetes, some chronic systemic disease or are alcoholics. In some rare cases it attacks people who are apparently perfectly healthy.

The bacteria enter the system at the site of a trauma of some kind ” “ even minor cut or a bruise.

How to recognize the danger

The biggest problem with flesh-eating disease is that it is often misdiagnosed and the treatment starts too late. If you feel very intense pain at the site of some minor skin cut or bruise or near it, this is the first sign of alert. If the tissue starts swelling very fast and you start vomiting and having diarrhea, go to the emergency hospital right away. In some cases, the skin turns purple and starts developing blisters. If the infection is deeper, such superficial signs might be absent, but many people develop fever. Everything about this disease happens very fast, so do not wait if you have any doubt that you might have flesh-eating disease.

Can we prevent it?

We can do the best we can with the perfect hygiene ” “ washing even the smallest cut with antibacterial soap at least. If we are having a strep throat, we might be endangering someone else ” “ keep your mouth covered when sneezing or coughing. Otherwise, if you think you might have flesh-eating disease and you doctor does not, make him prove it with an appropriate test. Most people die because they have been diagnosed too late or not at all.

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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators.

The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles.

Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years. Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles. Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.

13 Comments

  1. April Hebert Reply

    I went to Florida last week when we came back my hands itches very bad it gets hot like I have a fever and my fingers swelling

    1. Debi Carter

      I developed the flesh eating disease a little less than a year ago. I felt a small lump on my stomach and within three days it had moved down into my thigh. I was in so much pain has to call an ambulance to take me into ER. Almost as soon as I got there I was rushed into emergency surgery and had to have part of my thigh removed that had already turned gangreen. I had to have two other surgeries after that and spent an entire week in ICU.
      Then I was sent to a nursing home for three weeks for physical therapy in learning how to walk again with that leg. It took a total of 7 months to completely heal and I hope this is one nightmare that I never have to go through again.
      If you suspect that you might have this disease, please go to the hospital right away! They told me that if I had waited just one more day it could have killed me!! Life is way too precious.

  2. Ashley Cashi Reply

    I left the hospital today! But was at the beach on this last Saturday, Crystal Beach which is located in Texas close to Galveston, Texas! I woke up Sunday morning with my left cheek swollen and slits in my upper lip also on the bottom of my foot was a square like spot right in the middle with a little whole in the middle of it then 2 days later my foot swell up and had red and yellow puss coming out of it! So are these symptoms of the flesh eating bacteria that you get from going to the ocean?

  3. Greg Reply

    I’ve survived this disease. Its quite painful and if you even suspect you may have it, get to a hospital right away. It would have killed me in less than a week had I not gone to the hospital. Again if you even suspect it, go to ER. It spreads fast and the earlier you spot it, the more likely you’ll walk away with all of your limbs. Untreated, this disease shows no mercy and you WILL die soon after. I was taken by helicopter to another hospital that could better treat it. Its very serious. Hopes this helps someone.

  4. Theresa Baker Reply

    I had a little red dot on my right leg by my ankle. It was little sore. But next day could hardly walk it hurt alot. So I went to walk in clinic . Doctor just say it was a ding an gave me aspirin. Went home. An layed down . My cellphone had no power and I couldn’t walk to living room for charger. My Mom was worried about me because I didn’t answer cell. So she called police. They came . It took me over half hour to try walk to door it pained do much. About 12 feet walk to bedroom to door. They called ambulance. 11pm that day I went into operation room. They called my Mom because they didn’t think I would make it. But I did was unsure. The Doctor got my boyfriend sign a paper because may lose my leg. After that had blood transfusion…An had to get dyalasis. Was in hospital for a month. Ended up going home on dyalasis for awhile an medications. I got better. They grafted skin from my right thigh to put over my leg. From my ankle to below my knee. My leg hurts an sensitive . But I am still alive an have my leg. That was such a scary thing to have went through. Could someone get it again? Thank you

  5. christian radschlag Reply

    I have this weird burning sensation on my big toe on my left foot, I usually get ingrown toe nails but i don’t really get the light burning feeling. Do I have it?

  6. gOLDIE GOLDIELOCKS Reply

    i hope im reading things here wrong, but brother is diabetic talkked to him today, asked him what the doctor says and what he said was chilling, flesh eating disease, he is diabetic so im hoping that this situation gets better. was transferred from hospital in his home town to a hospital 40 miles away and put on antibiotics, was transferred again to another hospital 45 minutes north of that one for long term care as he put it.

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