Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about this crazy flesh-eating bacteria that’s taking the internet by storm. Cases are rising, and so are the number of deaths. We borrowed this awesome blog post about the issue from Dr. John Theeck, who works with Legacy Clinic. We hope you guys find it helpful!

Summer is here with record high temperatures. People try to cool off by enjoying Florida’s lakes, rivers, and beaches. Sharks are not the only thing to fear in the Florida coastal waters as there is a deadly bacterium that is proliferating Florida’s waters. This bacterium, Vibrio Vulnificus, is a flesh-eating bacteria that recently took the life of a 26 year old male from Leesburg, FL.

Cason Yeager (Leesburg victim) thought he had a spider bite, and entered the hospital on a Monday afternoon after working a full day. He was treated for cellulitis and eventually took a turn for the worse and passed away the following day. Being infected by this bacterium is rare, but exposure is on the rise and the community must be aware of this deadly flesh-eating bacteria.

Most cases occur between the months of May and October when the water temperatures are between 68-95 degrees. It is more common in areas of salt water and fresh water mixed. The bacterium enters your body through a scarp or a cut or enters your system through digestion of exposed shell fish. In 2014, there were 32 reported cases, including one in Citrus County. Of those, seven people died. The first documented case of disease by the organism was in 1979.

“The Health Secrets” by the Doctors of Legacy Clinic is a radio show that airs on AM 790 and recently had the opportunity to interview an infectious disease practitioner from Shands hospital in Gainesville, FL. “Our goal is to provide awareness of this deadly bacterium so something like this doesn’t happen again,” Dr. Theeck told them.

Trembley from Shands says those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk. People with chronic kidney or liver disease should wear proper footwear to prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach.

When the bacterium is eaten in contaminated food, symptoms of the disease include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. When Vibrio Vulnificus enters the body through an open wound, it can cause infections that may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers. The bacterium can invade the bloodstream and cause fever, chills, blistering skin lesions, septic shock, decreased blood pressure and death.

Dr. Theeck and Kesller asked Trembley (infection disease practitioner) why there are not testing and postings closing infected waters. Trembley responded that all waters have this bacterium in it and the department of health can’t close all waters. The best protections are taking the necessary precautionary measurements.

WARNINGS:

  1. Do not enter the water if you have fresh cuts or scrapes especially in the summer months
  2. Do not eat oysters or shell fish in months that do not end in R
  3. First sign of a blister go to the hospital immediately and provide the treating doctor with information if you have been in salt water recently.

Precautions:

  1. Shower before entering the water. The skin is a sponge, so saturating it with clean water will prevent the body from soaking up the bacteria from the water. Also some bacteria react with ammonia from sweat. Rinsing before entering water will remove and sweat.
  2. Slather on Coconut oil. This will give your skin an extra layer of protection.
  3. Boost your immune system
    1. Greens
    2. Probiotics
    3. Chiropractic
      1. Chiropractic patients were found to have a 200% greater immune competence than those people who had not received chiropractic care, and they had 400% greater immune competence than those people with cancer and other serious diseases.