As if the story about the college student who lost her leg due to a strange flesh-eating bacteria wasn’t scary enough, now there is another case reported of the same bacteria. This type of bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis, is extremely dangerous and claims the lives of 25% of the people who get it. All the more reason to make sure you know the warning signs.
Lana Kuykendall, a South Carolina mom who just delivered twins last week is in critical condition while battling flesh-eating bacteria. Apparently, the new mom was admitted just 12 hours after coming home from the hospital after a healthy delivery.
When she woke up the next morning she noticed an unusual spot on her leg that a friend described as “a bruise with a red outline.” Apparently that spot was about the size of her palm. Six hours later, after checking into a local hospital, it was the size of a sheet of paper. Doctors determined she had flesh-eating bacteria and have since performed four surgeries in six days where they had to remove tissue from her leg to keep the bacteria from spreading.
It’s certainly scary that one day we could be perfectly healthy, and the next day we could wake up with a life-threatening disease. And even though flesh-eating bacteria is not very common–only 750 cases a year–hearing about two cases in the past week is certainly unsettling.
Necrotizing fasciitis most commonly affects extremities, especially the legs, but it can affect any part of the body. It’s important to know the warning signs:
– Sudden, severe pain in the area of a cut or bruise.
– Fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and other flu-like symptoms.
– Redness, heat, swelling, or fluid-filled blisters in the skin over the affected area.
– Signs of shock (confusion, fainting, dizziness), which are often worse when you get up from sitting or lying down due to a drop in blood pressure.
– Scaling, peeling, or discolored skin over the affected area, which are signs of tissue death, or gangrene.
As always, if you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.