Four months after Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida, state health officials are again warning people to stay out of beach waters, but this time their warnings also mention sand.
The Florida Department of Health issued an unprecedented health advisory in Lee County after tests continued to find Ian sparked years of pollution on land, sinking ships full of gas and oil in bays and beaches and leaving behind metal, Shards of glass and other hazardous debris along the shoreline.
Notably, the health department has completely dropped the softer language typically used in water quality advice. More often than not, there is some sort of understatement inherent in beach advice so as not to scare off tourists.
“Swimming is not recommended. You should assume that water contact may increase your risk of illness or illness,” Lee County health officials wrote. “Due to Hurricane Ian, debris remains on beaches in the area, including debris buried under shallow sand and not immediately visible.
Ian dropped more than a foot of rain and a storm surge of up to 14 feet was pushed ashore. Stormwater is filled with the detritus of human life: nitrogen-rich fertilizers, human waste from malfunctioning septic systems, animals, feces, microplastics and other chemicals from masks or cigarette butts dropped on the ground, oil from roads and Rubber, soot and grime rolled through the region as the slow-moving storm carried news by the hour from buildings and billboards alike.
As the hurricane moves inland, all that water flows back into the Gulf of Mexico, washing away roads, parking lots, backyards and beaches.
Scariest disease since Ian is a bacterial infection Vibrio is harmful, This can lead to necrotizing fasciitis, a serious infection in which the flesh around the open wound dies.
It is known by the public as flesh-eating disease.
The good news is that this is extremely rare. The bad news is all about it.
Vibrio is a bacterium that is endemic in background concentrations in warm waters such as bays, especially in saltwater areas where freshwater streams and estuaries meet the ocean. No cases of flesh-eating disease in Lee County in 2020; last year there were at least 28.
Vibrio It most commonly enters a person’s bloodstream through consumption of undercooked or undercooked shellfish, but can also enter the body through tiny abrasions or even nicks from shaving.
Death from necrotizing fasciitis is painful at first. And soon. People with pre-existing conditions such as cirrhosis or high blood pressure can go from the moment of infection to death within 72 hours. Older adults are also at risk.
About 20% will die. Many who survived were left with extensive scars or lost limbs.
At first, a small red spot appears and begins to swell, with pain out of proportion to the small lesion. Within hours, the small red spots grow larger and the damage begins as the skin, muscle and connective tissue begin to die.
Infected tissue turns from red to dark purple to blue to black. As gangrene develops, the sharp pain goes away as the nerves in the remaining skin are destroyed, but the fever and fatigue persist and blisters form on the skin.
Without treatment, sepsis, organ failure and death may ensue.
Victims who rush to the doctor to survive often lose so much muscle, tendon and fat that they require intensive care and amputations.
Since all tissue must be removed or lost to infection, survivors will often appear as if they have suffered third-degree burns in the affected area.
About 80 percent of infections occur between May and October, when the water is warmer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 80,000 Vibrio 100 people fall ill and die every year in the country.Florida health department records show 74 arrests Vibrio 14 people died here. Both agencies acknowledged that their numbers were likely undercounts due to misdiagnosis and the rate at which the disease progressed.
Contamination washed into the water by Hurricane Ian may have fueled more cases. Lee County health officials recorded no cases of necrotizing fasciitis in 2020, following five infections and one death two years ago and 28 infections and eight deaths last year.
In Collier County, health officials have counted no infections in 2021, three cases last year and no reported deaths. However, a Michigan man was in Naples helping a friend recover from Ian, who died a month after the storm from a flesh-eating bacteria contracted near his friend’s home.
The Florida Department of Health recommends the following precautions to ward off flesh-eating bacteria:
- Observe basic hygiene. Always wash your hands with soap and water before eating and after using the toilet.
- If you have open wounds or sores that have been exposed to seawater or brackish water, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and disinfecting them or by boiling and then cooling or commercially available bottled water.
- Use an antibiotic cream to reduce the risk of infection.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after helping with cleaning activities and handling items contaminated with sewage.
- If a cut or sore develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek medical attention right away.
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