Bill made a comment to me today that really got me thinking. We have two different friends here who are fighting staph infections from seemingly innocent injuries. One received a spider bite while walking in the woods in Nuka Hiva, Marquesas and the other got a scratch on the back of a calf. Both wounds quickly compounded into infection. Bills comment was that if this were pre-World War II both of these friends would be dead! Amazing to think how life can take a turn and how being in the right place at the right time has as much impact as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, pre-World War II antibiotics were not used. The closest I think they came was sprinkling sulphury on wounds to combat infection.
Here in the tropics the warm moist air allows all sorts of critters to grow and thrive. Good for the Papaya, breadfruit,coral and jungle growth bad for bacteria. Everyone who sails here has heard the warnings and the stories of minor injuries turning bad in a strikingly short period of time. There are lots of preventions touted. Boat policy here is that as soon as a scrape or cut is realized you either clean it with Clorox bleach and cover with antibiotic ointment or scrub it clean and cover with antibiotic ointment and then you DO NOT Swim until the wound is sealed over and well healed. The number of sailors who end up seeing a doctor her for what at home we would never bother with is surprising. Also strangely I noticed walking down the street in Tahiti you see an unprecedented number of wrapped wounds:legs, ankles, arms, fingers and toes wrapped with gauze. I've seen dozens, enough to think about and comment on. More striking is thinking about the outer islands here and to an even larger extent the islands we will be visiting in the coming year or so. The often have little or no health care available and the available drugs the ones we take for granted are simply not there.
All of this got me thinking. First about our two friends and how in a blink they could be gone from a small cut or a bite. Second how we might be of help as we travel deeper into the Pacific. My thought now is to send out a notice telling other sailors that we are headed to Micronesia and that if they have out dated medicines they are going to throw away and replace perhaps we can take them along and offer them to the islanders. The USA has very strict dates lines for medicines meant to ensure that what we buy will be effective. What doctors everywhere understand is that their effectiveness remains well after the pull date. And, for people without health care and medicines the old medicine is way better than no medicine at all. All still in the thinking stage but will send out some feelers and see what unfolds.
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