BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re on your side with a warning from dermatologists: think before you swim this summer.
This goes for swimming in the lake and in the ocean.
Dr. Corey Hartman, Medical Director at Skin Wellness Center in Homewood, said he was shocked to hear about the 12-year-old girl who contracted a flesh eating bacteria after a day on the beach in Florida.
He said saltwater usually protects you from those sort of organisms, but not this time.
While it’s rare, he said people with surgical wounds and compromised immune systems, should stay out of freshwater and saltwater.
“Even if you are unaware of a compromise in a skin barrier, if you start to experience that pain or redness that is otherwise unexplained, go to the urgent care center or go to the emergency room,” Dr. Hartman. “It only takes hours. I was just eating lunch with an emergency room friend who just had a case of this and the man died, he had diabetes, so he decompensated pretty quickly.”
Look out for redness, pain that spreads, and it being warm and tender to the touch.
Those are all signs bacteria is spreading.
“In Alabama, people like to go to the lake. Lake water is going to be more likely to produce this kind of problem,” said Dr. Hartman. “So I don’t want people to think that if they have a small cut or an insect bite, or something that they have scratched, that they can’t get into the water at all. This is again, something that is very rare to occur. But we all know now that it can.”