When you get a cut or a scrape, you may think you’re fine skipping the soap and just washing with water, since at the very most, you might get a minor infection and need antibiotics. The problem with this reasoning is that nobody can predict when it’s actually a severe, potentially fatal flesh-eating bacterial infection waiting to enter your body!
Necrotizing fasciitis does just this, destroying muscle and skin tissue to spread through the body. It enters from the bloodstream, often thanks to minor injuries, and spreads rapidly. The bacteria releases toxins that kill tissues rapidly and trained medical professionals must deal with it immediately to minimize the damage.
It may start as a red or sensitive small lump on the skin or a bruise, but it changes rapidly and grows in just a few hours. The center of the bruise might turn black, and the skin can sometimes break. Along with the easily observed physical symptoms, the patient may feel nauseous, feverish, weak, or dizzy.
With immediate treatment, a patient suffering from necrotizing fasciitis can recover. Treatment is aimed at killing the bacteria with antibiotics, often given through IV. Surgery may help remove dead tissue, and if the disease spreads into a limb, amputation is sometimes recommended. After the disease has been cured, the patient may also require skin grafts to restore a normal appearance to areas of the body, but scarring and deformity are common long-term effects.
Flesh-eating bacteria might seem like something out of a horror movie, but the condition is quite real. To avoid getting necrotizing fasciitis, make sure you thoroughly clean and wash each cut and scrape as soon as possible, and keep them clean until they heal.