Articles Posted in Skin And Infection

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A week ago, we wrote about a 70-year-old woman who fought through physical and psychological trauma she suffered from receiving third degree burns–and fought so well that she was able to walk again, and do many things on her own, even tough doctors never thought it would be possible.

Well, we have an even more unbelievable burn survivor story to share with you. Last month in the Morning Sun newspaper serving central Michigan, a writer chronicled the experience of Evelyn Clark, a 79-year-old who was burned in a gasoline fire in July 2011 and nearly died a few times since then. But Evelyn has recovered, and she spent what she calls “an extra special” Thanksgiving with her husband Jim, plus her children and her grandchildren at her home in Weidman, Michigan.

After being burned outside her home while pouring just a bit of gasoline in a barrel to start a controlled fire, Evelyn was rushed to at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus in Grand Rapids. She suffered third degree burns on nearly 30 percent of her body, and then she developed pneumonia and another life-threatening condition while she was undergoing more than one skin graft.

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A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle offered up the amazing story of Derek Thomas, a 19-year-old athlete who for the past year has endured indescribable pain during the process of healing from third-degree burns so severe that he was given a 1 percent chance of survival by doctors.

But he has made it through the ordeal, and is working not only on getting stronger but also on becoming just another person with a normal daily routine, which is a blessing too many of us take for granted.

One day in August 2010, Derek sat in an SUV that was returning him home to San Diego from athletic training in the mountains. As he dozed off, the driver swerved the SUV, and it skidded across lanes of traffic, rolled over, and grinded along on its side. It then burst into flames.

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One of the important functions of the skin is to protect the body against infection. The skin is the first line of defense against infection. Infection happens when harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi enter the body and replicate. The skin protects against infections through the following mechanisms:

  1. It acts like a covering and a barrier that prevent the entrance of harmful organisms.
  2. The continuous shedding of the outermost cells of the skin leading to the shedding of these organisms with them. Some bacteria live on our skin but can’t enter the skin as long as it is healthy. An adult sheds more than 40,000 skin cells a minute.