Carol Martin did what so many thousands of people do while on vacation in Florida.
She got wet.
Whether it’s at a beach, pool, lake or water theme park, chances are you’ll partake in some kind of water activity.
Martin, 50, apparently opted for a hot tub while vacationing in the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area in February where she had gone every year to see the horse races.
The activity may have ultimately killed the Indianapolis wife, mother and grandmother, her husband Richard believes.
He told Indianapolis television station WRTV that his wife returned home from the vacation with a nickel-sized infection on her buttocks that grew and became painful, leading her to seek medical treatment. When antibiotics and heating pads failed to halt the infection’s spread, after two medical visits, she was sent to a local hospital.
There, after she was rushed into surgery, doctors told Richard Martin his wife had somehow contracted necrotizing fasciitis — or, as it is most commonly called: flesh-eating bacteria.
He told Tampa’s WFLA News Channel 8 he thinks Carol could have contracted the bacteria from a hot tub at a Days Inn the couple had stayed at in the Tampa Bay area. Carol, he said, loved racing so they often visited the region and stayed at the same hotel. She had gone into the hot tub to relax for the evening, he said.
Nobody else on their vacation had gotten sick, he said. “She was the only one that got in the hot tub,” he told the station.
Carol Martin spent 16 days in the intensive care unit. She died a little over two months later, at home, on Saturday.
“She made me lunch. I kissed her goodbye to go to work. I come home early in the morning and found her passed away,” her husband told WRTV.
Her death has not officially been ruled the result of flesh-eating bacteria. The Marion County coroner’s office in Indianapolis collected tissue samples to study and test results could take up to three months.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis is a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue and can be deadly in a very short amount of time. “Accurate diagnosis, prompt antibiotic treatment, and surgery are important to stopping this infection,” the CDC says. More than one type of bacterium can cause the flesh-eating disease, which, since 2010, affects between 600 and 1200 people annually in the United States.
Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis
According to the CDC, symptoms can start within a few hours after exposure.
These signs can be pain or soreness, similar to a pulled muscle.
The skin may be warm with red or purplish areas of swelling that spread rapidly.
Some may get ulcers , blisters, or black spots on the skin.
Later symptoms can include: fever, chills, fatigue and vomiting.
If you have these symptoms seek medical attention immediately, the CDC suggests.