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Home / Health / Did you wade high tide in Texas? They could be infected

Did you wade high tide in Texas? They could be infected



First responders, stranded motorists and passers-by wading knee-deep to chest-deep waters – this image is branded in the collective psyche of Southeast Texas.

In most cases, walking in water can not be avoided. But when a viral video from Lamar University in Beaumont showed that some people were diving into deep water for fun, an underpass was shuddering. Laila Woc-Colburn.

That's because Woc-Colburn, a professor of infectious disease medicine in Baylor, is associated with the College of Medicine says when she sees such a video, she thinks about what a person can put on in the water: staphylococci, Fungal and bacterial infections, Vibrio and Leptospira In 2018, she published a study entitled "Infectious Diseases After Hurricanes in the USA". She noted that hurricanes "promote the spread of infectious pathogens through displacement, flooding and trauma".

"If you have chronic infections, liver If you have a disease or are pregnant, your immune system is weak," said Woc-Colburn. "Then you are exposed to water on the Gulf Coast, where vibrations are very frequent due to the (warmer) water temperature, which is a very fast infection."

People with cuts or open wounds are already more likely to contract Vibrio when in the Gulf Water is available. However, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream through microabrasions caused by floating debris. It turns out to be a soft tissue infection that starts when the skin turns red and blisters, Wo-Colburn finds

A mild case of Vibriose can be treated, and the recovery time can last for three days without any lasting effects , However, dehydration is typical for the loss of fluids.

Because it works so quickly, Vibrio vulnificus infection may already be severe if a person goes to an emergency room for diagnosis, Woc-Cobburn said. In severe cases amputation of the infected areas is required. About 1

in 5 people with this type of infection die within a day or two of their condition.

In diabetics or patients with poor circulation, infections can spread faster and more quickly, usually accompanied by redness, blistering, fever, and fatigue.

Typically, however, healthy people can get sick, and much of it has to do with what's floating in the water itself. In South Texas waters, bacteria can be found in agricultural land, pesticides, animal stools and any number of chemicals.

"Another species that we observe in floods is (the bacteria) Leptospira," she said. "Mice and rats carry leptospira in urine and they are found in water."

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals and sometimes has no symptoms, according to the CDC. The bacterium penetrates through the skin or mucous membranes into the body, especially if there is a cut or scratch. Outbreaks of this disease are usually caused by contact with contaminated water.

The symptoms are flu-like and include high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea or rash. Because the symptoms of other illnesses can easily be misdiagnosed, it is important that you go to the hospital for further investigation if you have been exposed to high water.

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Another thing to watch out for is deposits that get stuck in the dermis of the skin and are light May cause abscesses or soft tissue infections, said Woc-Colburn. If you accidentally ingest the water, you are prone to immediate diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration.

Mold is a constant problem in Houston's humid conditions, especially after major flooding. Woc-Colburn recommends everyone to clean their homes to wear respirators.

"When your house absorbs water, you should first try to get the drywall out – this room is the place where the molds are made," she said. "If you help someone whose house was flooded, you want an N95 – mask may be used because the air could possibly be full of mold at this time. "

In the two years since Hurricane Harvey, Woc-Colburn has been monitoring the development of fungal infections six to 12 months after the storm Floods of 1-2 inches, she said, people with pre-existing asthma and lung disease have been experiencing increased respiratory infections or asthma attacks.

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Finally, the West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases are still a public health problem it. According to Harris County Public Health, mosquito problems occur in the late summer months.

Drain stagnant water from around your home and wear DEET insect repellent and long pants if you can.

julie.garcia@chron.com

Twitter.com/reporterjulie

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