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What Is Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection?

Updated on April 15, 2016
donotfear profile image

Annette Sharp holds a BAAS in Behavioral Science from Texas A&M. She is a counselor and motivator with an empathetic heart.

Pseudomonas Bacteria in Infected Cut.

About 3 weeks after cut.
About 3 weeks after cut. | Source

A Super Bacteria That's Difficult To Treat

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a prevalent bacteria with serious consequences. Some refer to it as a "flesh eating bacteria", but in reality, it's often the cause of Necrotising fascilitis, the actual bacteria known as "flesh-eating". The Pseudomonas microbe is present everywhere, mainly in soil, plants, animals, and water. It likes warm, moist environments and tends to infect people with compromised immune systems, though any healthy individual can become infected with the proper elements in place. Pseudomonas frequently infects tissue like burns, open cuts, or abrasions and can affect the internal organs, as well. It can be fatal if not treated properly because the organism is extremely resistant to most antibiotics. I call it the Super Bug. That's why I'm sharing my first-hand experience with this formidable microorganism.

It Started With An Open Cut

Here's how it started: I tripped on a piece of old, rusty iron and grazed my ankle. I slightly bruised a couple of ribs in the process, but not serious enough for a hospital visit. Upon closer inspection, and a lot of burning pain, I could see that the cut across the tender, thin area over my ankle was gaping open. It looked as if it may or may not need stitches, so I opted to tape it together, take a couple of Advil for the pain and deal with it later.

I got a Tetanus shot the next day. After a week, I could see it wasn't getting much better and thought maybe I needed some antibiotics, though I was already taking loads of garlic and treating it with a regular antibiotic ointment (in combination with some natural remedies). I tried to take a round of Keflex, but it gave me such a headache, I stopped after 5 days and began using Vetericyn on it. It seemed to dry up and get rid of the redness.

I made my mistake when I went on a trail ride, got over-heated, then jumped into the river with my bandaged ankle. There I was, wide open for all the bacteria in the river! It was like I opened the door and invited it in! A week or so later, I started a 10 day round of Amoxicyllin and continued using the Vetericyn. When the wound wasn't any better after the last round of antibiotics, I figured I better do something different.

Starting Wound Care

I visited my primary physician's office to get the verdict. The LVN on duty took one look at it and immediately called the wound care nurse, who just happened to be there that day, thank goodness. Of course, after inspecting the wound, she immediately ordered a thorough cleaning of the infected tissue, including several shots directly in the mass (in order to deaden it). Did I say ouch? Ha! Does a chicken have a beak?

She scraped away the dead tissue (while I held my breath), then cultured the inside of the cut to find out what kind of infection we were dealing with. She sent the sample to the lab. It would take a few days to find out, for sure, what type bacteria was invading the tissue. The doctor prescribed a 10 day course of Ciprofloxacin, a mega-super antibiotic prescribed for exceptionally resistant bacteria.

Pseudomonas After Wound Care.

  8/25/12.After wound care & starting Cipro.
8/25/12.After wound care & starting Cipro. | Source

Culture Results Revealed Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

When I returned to wound care, three days later, my nurse told me the culture showed a heavy growth of the bacteria known as Pseudomonas. She explained that in order for the wound to improve, I would need to soak the infected area with a special mixture of bleach and water called Dakins Solution. She advised me to soak in the solution for 10 to 20 minutes every other day.

I began the soaks immediately. I had to adjust the bleach mixture several times until I got it just right, as it began to sting and burn. After each soak, I dabbed the area dry and packed the inside of the wound with a specially treated silver-coated activated carbon fiber, wrapped the wound with nonstick cotton gauze, and covered the area with a waterproof bandage protector.

The photos below show the progress of healing after starting the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin, Dakin's Solution soaks, and application of the silver carbon fiber.

Pseudomonas Two Days After Wound Care.

Aug. 27th. Slight improvement. Redness going away.
Aug. 27th. Slight improvement. Redness going away. | Source

September 1st, 2012.

September 1st. New, healthy white tissue beginning to appear around the edges.
September 1st. New, healthy white tissue beginning to appear around the edges. | Source

Pseudomonas Infection Improving

9/5. More healthy tissue.  Nerve endings becoming activated.
9/5. More healthy tissue. Nerve endings becoming activated. | Source

Infected Wound Closing

9/7.  Stinging & pain occurring from nerve repair. Circulation returning to the area.
9/7. Stinging & pain occurring from nerve repair. Circulation returning to the area. | Source

Pseudomonas Infection Healing Rapidly.

9/15. Very little pain, yet sensitivity.
9/15. Very little pain, yet sensitivity. | Source

Infected Wound Nearly Healed.

10/17. New tissue and outer layer skin restored.
10/17. New tissue and outer layer skin restored. | Source

Scar Left By Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

3/17. Six Months Later.
3/17. Six Months Later. | Source

You Can Beat Pseudomonas

The healing process was definitely a learning experience for me. After fighting a battle with Lyme Disease two years before, I thought I had this "bacteria stuff" figured out. I was wrong. If I get any type of deep laceration or cut, I'm going to give it the attention it deserves without trying to diagnose myself. When an injury seems a bit more severe than average, I'll visit the doctor's office immediately!

*Pseudomonas aeruginosa can definitely have serious consequences. Though my infection didn't reach the "flesh eating" stage, it could have had a devastating effect, if left untreated. The Pseudomonas microbe is not something to be taken lightly. Because of it's presence in soil, plants, animals, and water, it's relevantly easy to get and hard to treat. Bear in mind, people with compromised immune systems may be at higher risk of contracting the bacteria, though any healthy individual can become infected.

Always remember that if it's not treated properly, it can become serious; even fatal. I believe the name Super Bug suits this complex, antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I truly hope that sharing my first-hand experience with this formidable microorganism will alert you to the dangers of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

How To Prevent Infection Of Pseudomonas bacteria.

  1. If you have an open cut, stay out of untreated bodies of water like rivers, creeks, lakes and the ocean.
  2. Cover all open wounds when working outside in or near soil or plants.
  3. Pay close attention to any cut or laceration, even if it looks minor.
  4. Make sure to see a doctor or visit your local emergency room if the cut is gaped open.
  5. Let your health care provider decide if you need stitches or an antibiotic.


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    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from The Boondocks

      Rachel: I'm sorry your father is having so much trouble. I hope hope you will be firm with the hospital staff and demand answers. If they are not taking the advice of his GP, something is very very wrong with this hospital! Good luck....and God bless your father!

    • profile image

      rachel mcelhinney 

      4 years ago

      Very useful article, thanks.

      my father has this infection in his chest after triple heart bypass last March.

      do to this infection his sternum shattered and had to have 3 additional surgeries to cut out infected tissue.

      he currently still has 3 oozing holes in his chest, infection is still there. being left untreated by kings college hospital who have ignored 2 letters from the GP stating he needs to be hospitalized for IV anti biotics. after complaining about lack of treatment and his deteriorating health due to this infection i have a meeting with the hospital trust today.

      lets hope they will start treating it rather than ignoring it as its hard to treat.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from The Boondocks

      Flourish, it could happen to anyone!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      Oh my gosh. This has me weak kneed but better educated.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from The Boondocks

      Thanks Susan....

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I can now see how this is very similar to what I had. My arm swelled up to twice its size though. Scary stuff we can come in contact with. I always keep a huge bottle of hydrogen peroxide in my kitchen in case I get the slightest cut.

      Voted up +++ and sharing. More people need to be aware of this.


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