Author Topic: Reef Rash leads to Illness  (Read 1679 times)

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Reef Rash leads to Illness
« on: July 13, 2021, 09:50:36 AM »
Just got back from Maui last Thursday. Had 5 days of solid south swell, I pushed myself well past my comfort limits and had a blast.

On one of the smaller days early in the week we were at Launiopoko. Anyone who has been there knows there is a really shallow section in front of the rock pool. I had been surfing (prone) out at the main peak and was cruising back in to the beach. I caught a rail and did the starfish flop, but unfortunately landed directly on a coral head, it must have only been about 10" underwater. Anyone who has surfed there knows what these look like.

Anyway, had a standard reef rash in the area (about 2" by 3"). I never could really keep a bandage on it because I was surfing every day. Never bothered me the rest of the trip. On Saturday we went wake surfing on a lake (fairly clean lake as far as lakes go). About mid way through the day I started getting feverish, but persevered through the after party. Sunday I had to manage my fever with Ibuprofen, but thought it was just a standard cold. Yesterday (Monday) I was walking scorer in my daughters golf tournament and my back was itching all day. After I had my daughter look at it and basically I have a seething rash that is spreading from the wound in whorls.

Went to urgent care and they told me it looked like bacterial blood poisoning and now I am on antibiotics. Fingers crossed that they work.

Anyone else had this? What medicine did you use?

I don't think I could have done much different (except not surfing after it happened to let it heal up), I surfed a week after the injury and treated it at night before bed. The wound had hardened over before the wake surfing, so I'm not sure what caused the bacteria infection.

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Hdip

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2021, 09:54:56 AM »

tarquin

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2021, 11:14:07 AM »
Lived on a boat as a kid on the east coast of Oz and out into New Caledonia, Vanuatu. Dad would hold us down and scrub any reef cuts with Detol and nail brush. Any little piece of coral can cause infection. Depends a lot on the type of coral. Weather its still alive. I know a few people that have had blood poisoning from minor coral cuts.
 

Tom

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2021, 04:21:20 PM »
Reef rash can be very dangerous. Coral lives in salty warm water and your bloodstream is very similar environment. You need to kill anything coral like that enters your skin. Coral is very easy to kill with ammonia, peroxide, or lime juice. When I got coral cuts in the Maldives, they doused me with vinegar.

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2021, 08:27:51 AM »
Every night we sat around the lanai, drank cocktails and put peroxide on everyone's wounds. I heard from my pharmacist buddy who told me that he got blood poisoning from the same lake when he had a baseball slide wound.

Anyway the antibiotic I am on is not doing anything so far. I will be going back to Dr. today.

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TallDude

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2021, 09:56:15 AM »
You will probably be admitted to the hospital... When oral antibiotics arn't cutting it, you need to get the big guns. It may be an overnight stay. What's happening under the surface is usually worse than what you see. It may require a wound-vac too. They are portable, but a pain in the ass and require regular re-dressing. When you get a reef or worse (corral ) cut, it's game over for any water. Sucks when you are on vacation (I totally get it), but you are now experiencing the 'standard' outcome. My wife does wound care at the hospital. We have a friend 'Jack' who did the same thing. Cut on his hand in Hawaii on the first day. Went in the water again for the next 3 days. Few home. The cut started looking strange. Took oral AB. Then an overnight at the hospital with the big guns and came home with a wound-vac. He stopped by our house every day so my wife could re-dress it. Now my wife says" I had another Jack as a patient today.. surfers!"
Sorry Dude :(
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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2021, 10:39:53 AM »
Well shit!

I guess I better bring a book.
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Vancouver_foiler

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2021, 09:11:27 PM »
Buddy of mine, EMT and firefighter guy who has been going to Maui for 40 years told me that people get really f'ed up and die from cuts in the water in Maui. You just don't hear about it.

Caribsurf

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2021, 06:06:46 AM »
An old Caribbean remedy has been squeezing fresh lime juice onto the cut or rash.  I have done this many times over the years and works. Something about the acid neutralizing the infected area.  I had a couple of nasty reef cuts on the too of my foot and my foot swelled up to where i couldnt even slip on a flip flop. It wasn't healing and I was getting nervous but a local friend told me to squeeze fresh key lime on the cut and i did this a few times and saw a considerable difference overnight. Been using this remedy ever since
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TallDude

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2021, 06:51:10 AM »
I'm sure that's good if you stay out of the water till it at least scabs over a little. It's staying in the water day after day with an open wound that gets you in trouble....
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PonoBill

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2021, 08:06:05 AM »
I've got geezer skin these days, so every bump is a flesh wound. When I stuff my arms into an engine compartment I come out with black and blue marks everywhere and a few skin tears. Sucks getting old, but it beats the alternative. But I'm in the water every day pretty much. I just keep a close eye on every cut and scrub them with soap and water when I get them. Peroxide is not a great idea for a wound after the initial cleaning. It's hard on the new skin cells. If I see anything going south it's off to the doc immediately--especially in Maui. I think by now my immune system is at Defcon 4 constantly.
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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2021, 08:53:46 AM »
The rash finally started cooling off last night.

My wife was pretty vigilant about the injury administering to the wound each night in Maui. There was no way I was going to not be in the water, so I accept my responsibility in my infection. As stated I didn't get sick until over 10 days after the cut, when I was wake surfing.

I stated the lake was clean, but I actually have two projects on that lake right now and a few minutes ago my designer asked me "How many failed septic leach fields do you think there are on that lake?" Of course every single one of them is sited upslope from the lake. Realistically with the age of the development the answer is probably about 50% failure based on current standards.

Definitely could be coral, but bacteria is everywhere.
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PonoBill

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2021, 11:11:56 AM »
Unless a lake has a substantial river feeding it and a weir (manmade or natural) draining it, it's a polio pond--with few exceptions. It's a bit freaky how rarely the water gets tested in many lakes. Your mileage will vary, but strep is as common as shit--literally.
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sflinux

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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2021, 01:47:14 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9LOww3u738
Zane describes his injury and infection and lessons learned.
A local rider here poked a hole through his foot.  He was treated with antibiotics, but ended up having a bad reaction to the antibiotics leaving him disabled.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2021, 01:48:48 PM by sflinux »
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Re: Reef Rash leads to Illness
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2021, 11:09:31 AM »
Hoping for my final report on this.

Went to Dr again, feeling much better but the rash was still there. He stated that the infection looked like it was gone and I can correlate the headaches and fevers had stopped. The rash that showed the infection remains. He thought it likely that the heavy antibiotics could have been contributing to the rash, so I stopped them and now am on a steroid to combat the rash. Otherwise I am back to normal.
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