Antibiotics & drug resistant germs

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Antibiotics & drug resistant germs

Postby OzClaire » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:59 pm

Hi all,

Just thought I'd start a discussion on "constant' use of antibiotics to stop cellulitis and as precaution when one has a small cut etc on the skin.

Having seen my son with multi drug resistant staph/strep (MDRS) I'd recommend that we save the antibiotics for a last resort. I have several reasons for this:

  • unless totally eradicated, the germs develop resistance to drugs and without the drugs to kill germs we are up the creek without a paddle ... big time :( We're already there with staph/strep which all of us carry on our skins
  • exposure to constant drugs affects the kidneys, liver & gut leaving us open to fungal infections & thus skin breaks from scratching etc, you get the picture
  • drugs are too expensive for all us &
  • they don't have a long shelf life & thus could not be as effective as they should be when we use them

So what to do :?:

  • Keep hygiene levels high --- wash the affected area with surgical washes etc. frequently
  • stringently avoid any risk of cutting the affected area ... and if it does get cut wash thoroughly and put on antiseptic (not antibiotic) lotions, creams etc -- keep covered
  • treat tinea etc aggressively -- we all carry staph/strep on our skins if it gets into tinea we're off to the hospital with hopefully only cellulitis not something worse
  • always wear shoes -- NOT open toed ones or sling backs though believe me, I really, really understand why we women would like to do this :oops: but for me the cost is just too high
  • keep the antibiotic your doctor recommends in the fridge and take it at the first sign of cellulitis (redness, heat, hardness, where it wasn't an hour before)
  • reduce the swelling as much as possible (elevation, compression stockings/bandages, light exercise, swimming)

That's my regime.

I'd like to think it was my regime & not just luck that meant Ihad only 2 "attacks" in 55 years c :D ... one through my own stupidity & negligence ... I walked, shoeless, on some oyster covered rocks (the oysters had been opened) and then walked around all day at the beach and on dusty roads without shoes .... dahhhh :oops: :roll: but hey I was only 10 and the 2nd time for no reason that I know of a year or so ago. :lol:

The 1st attack was bbbbaaaaaddddd but I pulled through because back in those days plain old penicillin worked wonders on germs ... doesn't work nowadays ... my son has had 2 attacks recently and in both cases he required 2 different kinds of IV antibiotics at $1,200 a dose each!!

Luckily Australia has universal public medicare to cover emergencies like this. But they were talking of taking his leg to stop the infection from killing him.

So I recommend restraint unless absolutely necessary and then following the regime strictly .. no forgetting or we've all got problems. Hard, horrible?? Yes but LE is hard and horrible and we've our children to think of.

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Re: Antibiotics & drug resistant germs

Postby Cassie » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:07 pm

Thanks, Clair,
Just wanted to add some other hints I try to follow for avoiding infection. One is that most of our compression garments are not sun-proof, no matter how opaque they may appear, so we need to be careful to avoid sunburn on lymphedema arms or legs. With summer coming on we need to avoid insect bites as well, and our garments don't protect us from those either. Swimming is great exercise with lymphedema, but it's also a serious infection risk unless we know the water is properly tested for safety.
Ah, summer! :|
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Re: Antibiotics & drug resistant germs

Postby ma1290 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:46 pm

I completely agree with taking all these precautions.

Has anyone else here gotten the impression that some people with lymphedema are more susceptible to infection than others? I've been hospitalized twice for infection and had numerous infections since. I can't afford to use antibiotics only as a last resort. In the rare event that I get a scratch on or near my leg, I know that I'll get an infection if I don't take antibiotics as soon as possible.
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Re: Antibiotics & drug resistant germs

Postby OzClaire » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:20 am

Thanks for the replies folks and I absolutely agree with both of you.

Sunburn and LE so don't mix ... similarly with insect bites etc. Really good suncreams are essential 50+ if you can get it but at least 30+ and it should be one of the waterproof ones. A really good insect repellant is essential too .... amazing how a mosquito can sting when it gets through a compression stocking .... so for me, I stay out of the sun or wear long pants etc and sun screen/repellant ... but then I'd have to LE or not I've the extremely fair skin of the Irish!! :wink:

And yes, those of us with LE are MUCH more susceptible to infections :mrgreen: ... the reason is that the protein rich fluid that is the actual lymph itself is an ideal breeding ground for germs (bah humbug!!! :twisted: ) AND the fluid lies just under the skin (hence the pitting that a lot of early sufferers (Stage 1/2) have ) thus scratch the skin or have an insect bite and the germs can get to the fluid. Hey presto. Where possible we MUST avoid scratches, bites etc even if that means changing our lifestyle considerably. And believe it or not, sore throats :shock: seems to be a connection there must be because tonsils etc are part of lymphatic system.

My son had to give up mountain bike riding and a lot of other sports he enjoyed because of the risk of scratches etc. He really had no choice because he had children and if they hadn't been successful with IV drugs at $1,200 a dose (twice a day) then he would have lost his leg if not his life. Very hard for him. :evil:

Adam, sounds as if you are what we call a Staph/Strep shedder .... about 25% of the population is :cry: .... which is unfortunate to say the least. My son is also a shedder. His greatest problem is tinea (what the "yanks" call Athlete's Foot) and the staph getting into the small cracks etc.

Also as the leg swells the skin has to stretch a lot to accommodate the fluid so often we get tiny breaks in the skin that we don't even know about (they are too small to see) :( and with shedders ... well, enough said :!: .... keeping the swelling to an absolute minimum is essential .... compression, compression (night & day) .... elevation of feet above hip height and gentle exercise (swimming is the best, in a clean pool with showering and antibaterial washes after).

So in these cases surgical washes, such as doctors/nurses use before operations, frequently are essential. And maybe you should talk to your doctor about antibiotic creams etc rather than actually having to take antibiotics straight away .... trouble is we only process about a third of oral antibiotics ...the rest is excreated ..... getting the anti-biotic to the fluid itself is problematic too .... can't stress enough that I think a really good infection specialist is as necessary as a doctor who really understands living with LE. David would have lost his leg without both.

Oh dear, now I'm depressing myself as well as everybody else :oops: .... it's just that I've seen my sons & friends in such horrible places with attacks that I want to stop it wherever possible for others .... I've been successful myself in stopping the attacks I believe because of the regime I've followed ... and in a family with 7 sufferers in my lifetime only myself & one of my aunts have been able to achieve this and I'm sure it's the lifestyle thing (we've lived very similar lives).

Good luck and lots of positive vibes coming your way :arrow:
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