Recently I’ve noticed multiple warning posts on social media sites about Vibrio Vulnificus, a naturally-occurring, necrotizing bacteria found in our Gulf coastal and inland saline/brackish waters.
These posts suggest things like “Be sure and keep Hydrogen Peroxide on your boat.” Of course, Mamma always cleaned our scrapes and cuts with it before applying a Band-aid, but back in 1987 the Journal of Family Practice published a study wherein they found that antibiotic ointments kill bacteria but Hydrogen Peroxide does not. (Just do a little Google homework if you doubt me.)
With that in mind, it’s best to leave the HP in the medicine cabinet and replace it with a 1:10 bleach and water solution in a plastic jug on your boat. When you get cut by a fin, pricked by a hook, or pinched by a crab, pour the solution straight onto the wound, dousing it thoroughly, letting it burn, baby burn!!!
Further, if you’re at the beach and have ANY sores on your body whatsoever, DO NOT GO INTO the water, especially if you have a compromised immune system. It’s just not worth the risk, as this bacteria is a deadly one, resulting in loss of life and limb every summer. If you do go into the salty water, take a bath afterward, adding a few caps full of chlorine bleach to your bathwater.
The social media warnings also list signs and symptoms of fever and red lines running up the arm. NOTE: This does not always occur. I did not have any red lines running up my arm from my Vibrio-infected finger. And I NEVER had fever. What I did have was a severely painful sore and a weird sensation of something creeping under the skin on my finger.
To show you again what happened to me in 2012 after cracking crabs for bait during a fishing trip, I am posting the photos showing the progression of what started the day after that fateful fishing trip as a tiny bump, similar to an ant-bite blister but much more painful, and ended up putting me in the hospital four days after the trip.
The below photos show Day 3 after cracking crabs, Day 4 at 9:30 a.m., and then 12 hours later at 9:30 p.m. on Day 4 in the Emergency Room.
My last sound bit of advice, based on my experience is this: If you’ve been exposed to brackish or saltwater and discover a very painful sore or blister anywhere on your person, DO NOT WAIT. Go straight to your doctor, tell them what you suspect, and ask them to culture the wound BEFORE you are given any antibiotic treatments. It is imperative that the wound be cultured in order to administer the correct medications. If they tell you it takes days to grow a culture, then insist they treat it as Vibrio Vulnificus in the meantime.
I tell you this from experience, because I started out at the doctor’s office (Photo 2) with an RX for oral antibiotics that DID NOT treat VV, even though I told the MD that I was 99% certain I had VV. I filled the prescription and went home with a false sense of security, which as I said, resulted in the bacteria continuing to eat my finger and landing me at the ER later that same night. The ER admitted me, hooked me up to two very strong IV antibiotics after a very painful debridement of my finger. (You will see from the third photo that those two doses of two broad spectrum antibiotics did nothing to slow the spreading.)
You know those PSA commercials on TV called “The more you know”?
Well, here you go, with the BW quote of the summer:
“The more you know about Vibrio, the better off you will be, yo!”
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Comments, questions and conversations are welcomed and encouraged!!!