A RUGBY player suffered a horrific infection after a tiny cut which was infected with dog poo 12 years ago dramatically flared up.
Dan Colbridge, from Maesteg, South Wales, spent nine days over Christmas in hospital after huge angry blisters broke out on his leg.
The 33-year-old, who plays for Kenfig Hill RFC, had first experienced problems after slipping in dog mess during a training session in 2007.
At the time, he had a small cut on his leg and a few days later he was in severe pain.
He went to see a doctor who said he had developed cellulitis – a potentially-deadly bacterial skin infection which affects the deeper layers of tissue.
The medic prescribed him a course of antibiotics but warned that he would be at risk of it possibly flaring up again.
And that terrifying possibility became a reality last month when just a few days before Christmas, Dan started feeling unwell.
His leg had become red and inflamed and he was in pain in the same place where he first had the infection.
It eventually got so bad he was admitted to Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend where he spent nine days waiting for it to go down.
In the process he missed Christmas Day at home in Maesteg with wife Amy and the couple’s two children who insisted on waiting for him to come home before opening their presents.
Amy said: “Dan said he was feeling unwell and, even though it has been so many years since he was first infected, it does tend to flare up when he’s feeling run down.
“It started looking really red and inflamed and he was in a lot of a pain. He has cellulitis bacterial skin infection, which lays dormant but can flare up.
“The first time it flared up it was treated with antibiotics but this time it started blistering and he was struggling to walk.
“He went into hospital a couple of days before hospital and was there for nine days. We’ve got two children and it was a really difficult Christmas, really stressful.”
'Lazy dog owners'
She added: “This is all because some dog owners are irresponsible and lazy. They decide to take their dogs to playing fields to launch tennis balls and let them run free.
“The problem is the ones that don’t clean up after them. This is the painful consequence for Dan – without him having to take time off work, Christmas being delayed with a nine-day hospital stay, and his reduced mobility. But it could have been worse.
“There should be bigger fines and consequences for those that are so bone idle.”
Dog faeces can cause numerous infections – the most serious of which is toxocariasis, which can lead to blindness in young children.
Dan still plays for Kenfig Hill, near Bridgend, and the club has over the years complained about dog owners allowing their pets to foul on their pitch.
He said: “Every time I am really ill it flares up again but this has been the worst time.
“It’s been painful and a really strange feeling. I have to keep my leg elevated and when I try and get my leg down I have to do it in stages.
Every time I am really ill it flares up again but this has been the worst time
“It’s fair to say this Christmas wasn’t the best. My two children – Ella-May, who is eight, and Xavier who is 18 months – had to come and visit me in hospital on Christmas Day.
“It wasn’t fun being in there for the holiday. But they waited until I came out of hospital three days later before opening their presents because they said they wanted to wait.”
The water treatment technician, who has had to take time off work until his leg fully recovers, also had a message for dog owners.
He said: “We’ve got a dog as well but we make sure we always take out plenty of bags with us when we take him out.
A POTENTIALLY DEADLY SKIN INFECTION
Cellulitis is an infection of the deeper layers of skin and the underlying tissue.
It can be serious if not treated promptly.
The infection develops suddenly and can spread through the body quickly.
Severe infections can spread deep into the body, and can be life threatening.
Cellulitis causes an area of skin to suddenly become:
It mainly affects the lower legs but can happen anywhere on the body.
If you see any of these symptoms you should see your GP immediately.
In more severe cases it can cause:
- a high temperature
- vigorous shaking
- nausea and vomiting
These are signs the infection has spread deeper into the body and you should seek medical help immediately.
If the infection spreads throughout the body it can cause life-threatening illness including blood poisoning and kidney damage.
Most cases are successfully treated with antibiotics at home, although sometimes it needs to be treated in hospital.
You'll usually be given a seven-day course of tablets, and your symptoms should start to improve after a few days.
If you are treated in hospital you will be given antibiotics as an injection directly intot he vein.
How can you prevent cellulitis?
If you've had cellulitis before, you're more likely to get it again.
It's not always possible to prevent it, but these steps can help:
- moisturise if your skin is prone to drying out and cracking
- lose weight if you are overweight – obesity increases your risk
- manage any skin conditions that could lead to it, such as eczema and leg ulcers
- make sure any cuts and grazes are kept clean
- wash your hands regularly
Source: NHS Choices
“Dog mess has the potential to be so dangerous. If people let their dogs foul on playing fields it can be a risk to adults and children.
“If it got into the eye of a child and they went blind how would they feel then?
“You wouldn’t let a dog foul a playground so why would you let them foul on a playing field?”
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