I've developed an infection of a cut or scrape that I received while in or around the water. What should I do?
Most naturally-occurring bacteria found in seawater are generally harmless, do not infect minor wounds, and for most of us cuts or scrapes heal naturally within a few days.
However, if the wound
- remains red, inflamed, or oozing,
- does not heal,
- displays swelling around or near the site, or
- feels warm,
you should see a physician without delay. Symptoms such as these in the elderly or persons with underlying chronic conditions such as high serum iron, liver disease, diabetes, or conditions that weaken the immune system can require immediate attention as these individuals may be more vulnerable to infection. It is also a good idea to be able to tell the physician when and how you received the wound, for example, from a fish hook, a crab shell, or a fish spine.