woman in pain and clutching her tummy area

Beware Vibrio Vulnificus

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….it’s not. If you still haven’t gotten over the movie “Jaws,” don’t. There’s another predator lurking in our waters, but it you probably won’t see or hear this one coming. Vibrio Vulnicus is a natural bacterium that lives in warm saltwater that can infect humans through skin wounds or consumption of undercooked shellfish, and while it’s not likely to be the subject of the next summer blockbuster, there are a few facts about it’s you may want to be apprised of it. Here are some reasons you should beware vibrio vulnificus.

It’s Not “Flesh Eating”
If you have heard about vibrio vulificus before, you may have heard it described as a “flesh-eating bacteria.” Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your thirst for drama, it’s not. The “flesh-eating” associations come from the possibility of the development of necrotizing fasciitis, which is a condition in which the bacteria destroy the tissue and skin covering the muscle. However, it is not a medical term and does not fit the definition of flesh eating, which is occasionally used to describe other forms of bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis.

Symptoms
The human-infecting bacteria, transmitted through skin wounds or undercooked shellfish consumption is known to cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in those with healthy immune systems, however, those who are immunocompromised may run a far greater risk. Patients with weak immune systems may develop potentially fatal bloodstream infections including sepsis, skin lesions, fever, and chills. Exposure to bacteria through open wounds can lead to redness, swelling, and pain near the wounds. Symptoms will typically begin to show one to three days after exposure.

woman throwing up

Statistics
The occurrence of Vibrio vulnificus is relatively rare, although health experts say many incidences tend to go unreported. Most recent data from the CDC reports more than 900 cases between 1998 and 2006 in the Gulf Coast area, including Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

Risk
Individuals who consume a lot of raw shellfish are at the highest risk of gastrointestinal problems caused by Vibrio vulnificus. The more serious and life-threatening bloodstream infections are likely to target those with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases such as HIV. However, most people who acquire infections will recover without any long-term effects, unless the infection contaminates the bloodstream. In such cases, there is a potential for skin ulcerations, gangrenes, and decomposition of bodily tissue, which may require amputation or skin grafting.

Prevention
The best way to prevent a Vibrio vulnificus infection is by avoiding uncooked shellfish and swimming at the beach with an open sore or cut. Doctors typically treat the infections with common antibiotics.

Have you had a run-in with V.Vulnificus? How did you handle it? Let us know what keeps you in or out of the water in the summer.

woman sneezing in cold weather

Staying Well During Cold And Flu Season

It’s finally Fall! Season of the Pumpkin spice everything! Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice ice cream, hey, you even think you saw some pumpkin spice potato chips the other day! Not only that but fall also means you can let that bikini bod slide just a little bit, maybe relax the intensity on the treadmill a little, cut the routine from 5 times a week to 3. Trade in those Daisy Dukes for some classic fall sweaters and jackets. And, best of all, you get to cuddle with your new significant other while looking at decorative gourds.

There’s only one catch; you’re sick. Your throat hurts, your nose is stuffed and doesn’t feel like leaving your bed. Worst of all, the thought of pumpkin spice is turning your stomach. What can you do?

1.Flu shot
Get a flu shot. The flu shot is the most effective way of flu prevention. They are available at most pharmacies.

2.Wash your hands
There is no such thing as washing your hands too much. No matter what professional environment, you are in, you run the risk of being exposed to contagion. Doctors and nurses constantly keep soap and water in the close vicinity. To completely rid skin of viruses, scrub for at least 20 seconds. Dr. Alan Pocinki,MD recommends singing “The Birthday Song” twice while thoroughly washing under nails and between fingers, although you may get strange looks if you do this in public.

3. Hand Sanitizer
An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can kill germs from cold and flu.

4. Avoid Close Contact with Sick People
Tery Remy, MD, director of Medical Associates at Beauregard in Alexandria VA gives advice on how to politely turn down a handshake. “Just explain, ‘To keep transmission of colds and flu down, I’m not shaking hands. But hello! Nice to meet you!’ They understand.”

5. Keep Your Environment Clean
If you want to stay well, roll up those sleeves and get scrubbing! Paramedic Beth Geoghegan starts every day by cleaning her office with germ-killing soaps. If her day has included visits with flu bearing patients, she, “takes her uniform off the minute I get home, put it in the wash, and get right in the shower.” Geoghagan advises, “looking at your environment and thinking, ‘What could be contaminated? All it takes is a tiny droplet. It may already look clean, but it might not be.”

6.Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Keeping up a strong immune system is one of the most important ways to avoid sickness. Low protein diets can deplete your immune system. Stick to high protein options like fish, yogurt, and eggs. In addition, make sure to get enough rest, don’t smoke, and keep allergies under control. Allergies cause inflammation of the upper respiratory system which sets the body up for getting a virus.

7.Drink Tea
Ah, steaming tea with milk and honey. Just mention it and you start to feel better. Inhaling steam helps the cilia to move germs out of the nose more efficiently. Honey gets rid of bacteria and lemon helps to thin mucus. So, start getting better so you can join the pumpkin explosion!