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  • Tropical ulcers

    I don't know if any of you have ever made the acquaintance of a tropical ulcer. I hope you never will.
    A few years ago, during a major flood in our region, I managed to cut my foot on a piece of glass. I didn't pay it much attention, until I noticed a disturbing development of this initially harmless cut. It turned into an infection and kept getting worse over the next few days, as I couldn't get out of the house and seek medical attention. A doctor told me over the phone that this little skin wound of mine allowed penetration of bacteria that release toxins which cause a necrotic reaction in dermal tissue and lead to skin break down. And that tropical ulcers can become so deep that they penetrate deep fascia and damage tendons and bones. Sometimes even cancer develops in chronic wounds.
    I was lucky to have tea tree oil in my home, and treated the ulcer topically with it every two hours. I managed to stop the ulcer in its tracks, but I still have the scar to remind me of it.
    Have you ever suffered from a tropical ulcer, and how did you deal with it?
    Last edited by amethyst; 08-11-2014, 03:34 PM.

  • #2
    I've never suffered from a tropical ulcer or any similar infection. You have to be careful even with the shallowest of cuts! Specially in emergency situations like yours. Clean the wound with alcohol and seal it with a bandage or something like that. Keep checking on it to make sure it is healing properly and visit a doctor as soon as possible if it's infected.
    amethyst likes this.

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    • #3
      Glad you had something on hand that was able to treat it. I should probably get myself some tea tree oil, I have hear it has many uses. I am assuming a tropical ulcer is a kind of infection that happens in tropical areas? Or is it just more common to get infections in tropical areas?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by DancingLady View Post
        Glad you had something on hand that was able to treat it. I should probably get myself some tea tree oil, I have hear it has many uses. I am assuming a tropical ulcer is a kind of infection that happens in tropical areas? Or is it just more common to get infections in tropical areas?
        Hi DancingLady, tropical ulcers tend to occur throughout tropical and subtropical regions. Generally they are caused by a variety of microorganisms that occur in such climate zones. Due to the high humidity there is always an increased risk of infections of all kinds, and often they only heal very slowly. Tea tree oil is a fantastic remedy for all kinds of minor infections, but once a tropical ulcer gets out of control, it becomes serious and requires antibiotics. In severe cases skin grafts and even amputations might be necessary.

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        • #5
          Sounds very scary. I am lucky to never have experienced that type of infection. Although, I did get a tick bite when I was a teenager that swelled up my feet 3-4 times it size. I couldn't walk, felt like my bones were breaking. Eventually I couldn't take it no more and I used a bunch of Chinese cigars on them. I took a piece of cloth, covered it over my foot and lit a cigar up. I put the heat on my foot, moving it every few seconds before it became unbearable. Afterwards, I squeezed out what ever I could and put soy sauce on the wounds. To clarify, I was not burning my foot, I was merely using the heat from the cigar on the cloth to treat the wound. We didn't have any alcohol or peroxide so I experimented with soy sauce. It's something my mother told me. It burned like no tomorrow, but my foot did heal very quickly afterwards.

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          • #6
            That sounds so terrifying! I haven't had this before. However, I do see a lot of people in flooded areas with wounds like the one you had. Those people live in poor communities, so they have no choice but to walk on dirty water. The homeless are also very prone to those wounds. I never knew the name until I read your post. Many of those people get amputated.

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            • #7
              My uncle developed one of these after he went swimming at a local pool. All it took was one small cut on his foot that he didn't think it was worth paying attention to because it was so small. He ended up having to go on a course of very strong antibiotics and almost needed to have his foot amputated. Thankfully it healed before that became necessary but it was still a fairly unsettling prospect.From what I understand, tropical ulcers are definitely not something you want to experience in general but having that happen in a disaster situation, where you might need the ability to move quickly or, likeAmethyst, you're not able to access medical assistance, would be an absolute nightmare.

              I think it's worth stressing that preventing tropical ulcers from occurring in the first place is far better than having to figure out how to treat them after you've acquired one in a disaster situation. Always treat cuts, particularly ones that are on your legs/feet, with utmost care - even if they're not particularly large or painful they're still a break in the body's first line of defence and, at the end of the day, your body is the most important tool in a disaster situation. Disinfect the cut with whatever disinfectant you have on hand and cover with a bandage. Try to avoid walking in flood waters, particularly if it looks stagnant or dirty.

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