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Symptoms of NF  

Unfortunately necrotizing fasciitis often has flu-like symptoms, so initially, the natural assumption is for the individual to believe they have the flu. Often, NF occurs in otherwise healthy, active individuals. No major trauma is necessary. In fact, the condition often occurs following minor trauma, or even a bruise or abrasion. As mentioned above, it can occur after surgery.

Perhaps the most troubling and frightening aspect of NF is its remarkable ability mimic minor afflictions -- which fools both the patient and the doctor. Misdiagnosis is very common, which, in light of the speed and deadliness of the infection, often has severe consequences, such as multiple limb amputation and too often, death. In post-surgical patients, NF often mimics common post-operative symptoms such as severe pain, inflammation, fever and nausea, which also thwarts a timely diagnosis.

Education and awareness by the general public as well as the medical community in recognizing symptoms is critical to saving lives. The following depicts general symptoms of NF as the disease advances:
  • Trauma of some type (however slight) will probably have occurred (cut, bruise, scratch, surgery).


  • Victim begins to feel an annoying discomfort in the general region of the trauma (in the case of NNFF co-founder Donna, she felt the type of pain one feels after working out a little too hard in her upper arm, the day after getting a small cut on her finger).


  • The pain described gets worse, the area more tender. This is one of the major things to keep in mind. The pain one feels is out of proportion to the injury.


  • Flu-like symptoms occur, such as vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, general malaise, weakness, muscle pain, and fever.


  • Tissue is swollen and there may or may not be redness noted. The area will feel hot to the touch, and very painful.


  • Conditions continue to worsen.


  • Urination becomes less frequent (as the system dehydrates)


  • Blood pressure drops severely, and heartbeat is rapid.


  • A sunburn type rash may appear over the entire body, due to toxins released from the bacteria. This may or may not be present.


  • Large, dark boil-like blister(s) may or may not form in the affected area


  • Toxic shock can ensue as the body's organs shut down.

It is important that the patient report all symptoms to his or her physician to ensure a swift and accurate diagnosis!
 

 
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March 21, 2003