“After cleaning her house for two hours straight, a Chinese woman notices her fingers turning black.
With all the potential dangers out there in the world, with all the health issues, injuries, and violence around the planet, the earth can be a scary place sometimes. And just when you think the world isn’t so frightening after all, life throws you another fastball, and there’s something new to worry about.
Thanks to the advent of modern medicine and the ease of accessing information on diseases and illnesses, humanity is currently enjoying its longest life expectancies, safer daily lives, and most comfortable lifestyles in the history of mankind. This does not, however, make us invulnerable, as this viral story proves.
In the Hubei Province of China, a new story about a 53-year-old woman identified only as Mrs. Jiang shows us that even in our modern, health-conscious era, horrors still lurk around every corner, and the vulnerability of our bodies can be exposed at any second.
At the time of her injury, Mrs. Jiang wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. In fact, she was simply doing a bit of light housework. At first glance, for an otherwise healthy woman in her 50s, this wouldn’t really be cause for concern, and neither would the small cuts Mrs. Jiang found on her hands after finishing her tasks.
After all, we all get plenty of small, insignificant cuts during the course of our everyday life, and we often think nothing of it. We sometimes don’t even realize at the same time that we’ve been hurt, only to see a scratch or scab sometime later.
At most, should we notice the cut or scrape immediately, we typically give it a wash and go on our merry way. To no one’s surprise, that’s precisely what Mrs. Jiang had done, trusting that the small cuts would heal quickly.
She simply ignored them, trusting that her body’s healing capabilities could more than handle the tiny cuts. But this would soon prove to be a mistaken opinion and a terrible mistake for Mrs. Jiang to have made.
In this case, about two days later, after she cleaned her home and cut herself, Mrs. Jiang noticed that there was a bruise forming around the wound. She still wasn’t overly alarmed until the bruising began to spread.
In fact, within just days, the bruises would cover all of her fingers, save her left thumb and her right pinky. Some fingers looked worse than the others and had turned dark and misshapen on both hands. Eventually, her entire left hand was nearly blackened.
Alarmed, Mrs. Jiang made an appointment with a nearby doctor to have her hands examined. It was then that she learned that both of her hands had been affected by gangrene. As she had not noticed any strange smells, the doctors assumed that the damage to her extremities was likely caused by dry gangrene.
Gangrene is an extreme infection, in fact, it’s a form of necrosis, which, for Mrs. Jiang, meant that most, if not all, of the tissue in her fingertips had died. In other words, the reason this woman’s fingers had turned black was that they were basically dead.
Mrs. Jiang immediately was sent to a larger hospital where she received treatment, which, thankfully, she is responding quite well. Unfortunately, it’s uncertain at this point if she will be able to regain full use or recovery of her fingers. It is very likely that they will have to be amputated.
What is more important, however, is that the rest of her hands remain untouched by the infection and that no further damage has been done. Since, in fact, Mrs. Jiang’s symptoms improved after treatment at the hospital. She was lucky to not have waited until the gangrene caused more damage. It might have been irreversible. Doctors do, however, warn folks that have similar symptoms to seek medical help immediately.
According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, underlying conditions that can damage your blood vessels and affect blood flow, like diabetes or hardened arteries, increase your chances of developing gangrene.
Yet, if caught in time, gangrene, which is typically due to a loss of blood supply in the extremities, which causes living tissue to die, is treatable. Usually, the fingers, toes, and limbs are the first to be affected, and they may require antibiotics or such treatments as surgical removal of the dead tissue and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In extreme cases, amputation might be necessary.
It should also be noted that the chance of recovery is higher when gangrene is discovered early and treated promptly. Some of the symptoms of gangrene are skin discoloration, ranging from either blue, purple, black, or even bronze or red, depending on the type of gangrene.
Swelling with the formation of fluid-filled blisters on the skin. A clear demarcation line between healthy and damaged skin. Any sudden and/or severe pains followed by a feeling of numbness, especially in the extremities. A foul-smelling discharge leaking from a sore. Skin that feels either cool or cold to the touch.
If you discover that the affected tissue is either swollen or very painful, and if you have a low-grade fever, you may have a type of gangrene that also affects tissues beneath the surface of your skin. This is called gas gangrene or internal gangrene. Septic shock can also happen if a bacterial infection that caused or spread the gangrenous tissue spreads throughout your body.
You should always consult a doctor if you believe you have gangrene, as it is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment.
If you have consistent and unexplained pain in any area of your body, along with any symptoms such as persistent fever, skin changes, foul-smelling discharge, or skin that is pale, hard, cold, and numb, seeing a doctor may be in your best interest.