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Tubing down Amite River leaves man with bacterial infection

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 5:54 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2021 at 7:42 AM CDT
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DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - Most don’t think about the different flesh eating bacterial infections when going into the water. Unfortunately, it can happen if one has a cut, scab or a wound; that’s what happened to Arturo Fernandez after he went tubing on the Amite River during Memorial Weekend.

“He came back to work, it was almost two weeks, ten days, until he started to notice a rash develop on his leg. He took off to go home to Texas, to see his doctor, to get treated but couldn’t make it because he was in so much pain,” says Alanna Thompson who is a friend of Fernandez.

Fernandez got a cut while he was tubing. He stayed at a Baton Rouge hospital for five days and his leg tripled in size after just three days.

“I mean you know, nobody ever goes into the water thinking they are going to come out with a bacterial infection that could cause him to lose a limb or lose their life,” adds Thompson.

Even though the odds of getting a flesh eating bacterial infection are not that high, Dr. Jacob Wood says it can still happen whether in fresh or salt water.

“Fresh water, you know, it is possible to pick up a certain type of skin infections in fresh water too, but it is completely different issue and far far less common to have a severe infection,” says Dr. Wood who practices at Baton Rouge General’s Family Medical Center.

Dr. Wood says the best thing to do if there is a scab or cut on the body is to cover it with a waterproof bandage when getting into the water. If an infection does occur, don’t use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, that doesn’t really help. Instead, the best thing to do is use soap and water, and clean it out multiple times.

Woods also suggest that if there is any type of redness or itching around the area, it’s best to contact your primary physician as soon as possible.

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