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Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Month – May 2023

Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Month is held throughout May to raise awareness of this rare condition that affects the skin’s soft tissues. If left untreated, it can progress rapidly and cause death. The patient must have an accurate diagnosis, timely antibiotic treatment, and prompt surgical intervention. After an injury or surgical procedure, if your skin is red, heated, puffy, or extremely painful, you should see a doctor immediately. Raise awareness of necrotizing fasciitis on this day as knowledge of the disease increases prevention.

History of Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Month

Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial disease that attacks the skin’s tissue and spreads quickly. It was previously known by many names such as ‘phagedenic ulcer,’ ‘putrid ulcer,’ ‘gangrenous ulcer,’ ‘phagedena gangrenous,’ ‘malignant ulcer,’ and hospital gangrene until the 19th century.

The bacteria group A Streptococcus is thought to be the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis. It is quite rare, especially in healthy individuals. However, just because we have a minor cut does not imply that we should be careless about it. Identifying the symptoms of an infection can make all the difference between life or death. This is what happened to Tim Hayden when he got scratched on his knuckle in 2006. He awoke one day with flu-like symptoms and red streaks down his arms and chest. He was rushed to a hospital right away where emergency surgery and physical therapy were suggested by an infectious disease specialist who recognized necrotizing fasciitis as a possible cause of the patient’s symptoms.

When Hayden was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, he started an online support group for other survivors in 2016. A year later, he started a foundation, and May 31 has been designated as Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Day ever since that momentous day. When Michigan Governor Rick Snyder made Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Day a national event in 2013, numerous states followed suit. For the past couple of years, the U.S. has commemorated Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Day.

Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Month timeline

1871
The First Clear Description

Surgeon Joseph Jones — who was part of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War — provides the first detailed description of necrotizing fasciitis

1883
The New Description

Perineal necrotizing infection, known as "Fournier gangrene," is described by Dr. Jean-Alfred Fournier.

1940s
The Reduction in Numbers

There appears to be a decrease in the number of reported cases during this time.

1952
The Name Necrotizing Fasciitis is Used

Dr. B. Wilson invents the phrase "necrotizing fasciitis."

Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Month FAQs

How deadly is necrotizing fasciitis?

Spreading rapidly through the surrounding tissue (flesh), death can occur in as little as 12 to 24 hours in some circumstances. About one in four patients infected with necrotizing fasciitis die as a result of the disease.

How long does it take for necrotizing fasciitis to develop?

Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis appear within a few days or hours following infection. For the first several days, they may appear to be flu-like symptoms, gastroenteritis, or cellulitis. A minor but painful scrape or scratch on the skin might be one of the first signs of the disease.

How common are necrotizing fasciitis cases?

About 0.4% of persons per 100,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis each year. Each gender is equally impacted. It is more prevalent in the elderly and extremely rare in children.

How to Observe Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Month

  1. Tell others about this disease

    Educating people about necrotizing fasciitis is a step toward ensuring that people prevent the disease. Encourage them to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

  2. Volunteer your time

    Necrotizing fasciitis patients need all the support they can get, both mentally and physically, to fight this illness. Volunteering will help to ease the burden on our medics.

  3. Give monetary donations

    This is an expensive disease to treat and some people simply cannot afford the treatment. Consider giving financially to any of the necrotizing fasciitis charities.

5 Interesting Facts About Necrotizing Fasciitis

  1. The cause

    It is predominantly caused by bacteria such as Group A ‘hemolytic,’ ‘Streptococcus pyogenes,’ and ‘Staphylococcus aureus.’

  2. Blunt trauma can also cause it

    Necrotizing fasciitis can also be caused by an injury that does not penetrate the skin (blunt trauma).

  3. The name means death

    When a human being’s tissues die, they are said to be necrotic.

  4. The meaning of fasciitis

    Fasciitis is a condition in which the fascia — the tissue beneath the skin surrounding muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels — is inflamed.

  5. The treatment options

    If necrotizing fasciitis is suspected in a patient, antibiotics and surgery are usually the initial lines of defense.

Why Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Month is Important

  1. It encourages support

    If anyone has necrotizing fasciitis, they can seek help and get support from people. The more people know about it, the more support people can get when affected.

  2. It creates awareness that can save lives

    The knowledge of necrotizing fasciitis is the beginning of prevention. Although it is extremely rare, it can be prevented if any cut, no matter how small, is instantly treated to prevent bacteria from entering.

  3. It allows resources to be shared

    During the month, share resources and educate people so that they can take preventive measures and educate others. This is also applicable to survivors — they can join support groups. Some may even share toward charities for those with the infection, as treatment can be financially draining.

Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
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2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday
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2027May 1Saturday
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