Marine medicine: Understanding and treating infection types – National Fisherman

Many fishermen come to believe that they have a natural immunity to infections, but the reality is quite the contrary. Infections have shut down fishing operations across the world, which is why its essential to both understand infection types that cause symptoms as well as what sort of preventative measures can be taken to avoid them entirely. preventions in todays world.

As a baseline for this topic, the definition of an infection is the invasion of an organisms body tissue (man or beast) by disease-causing agents. An agent can be bacteria, viruses, fungus and parasites. Infections can be transmitted in a variety of ways.

Exactly how an infection can spread as well as its effect on the human body depends on the type of infective agent. Some infectious diseases can be passed from one person to another easily while others are harder to transmit. The flu, a cold, measles or a sore throat may be transmitted by a kiss or a simple touch or cough from one person to another. Infectious diseases such as AIDS, herpes and hepatitis are only passed by a closer contact called bloodborne transmission as blood to blood or sexual intercourse.

Some examples of how infections are transmissible, communicable of contagious are:

There are many different root causes of these infections, all of which need to be fully understood in order to determine the best approach for prevention and treatment.

Bacteria Infection

Most of the Earths biomass is made of bacteria, which are single-celled micro-organisms. Bacteria can live in almost any kind of environment which ranges from extreme heat to intense cold. Some can even survive in radioactive waste. Bacteria are also highly adaptable. That can cause problems for people because it often results in resistance to antibiotics.

There are trillions of strains of bacteria and a few of these may cause diseases in humans. Some bacteria are beneficial to human digestion and airways. However, there are also plenty of good bacteria like the digestive bacteria contained in our stomachs.

Some examples of bacteria diseases are:

Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics but some strains become resistant and can survive treatment. Antibiotics resistant bacterial infections and or diseases have been an ever-increasing which has become a major a concern to infectious diseases specialists and the CDC (Center for Disease Control).

Viral infections

Viral infections are as numerous and as deadly as bacterial diseases. Viral infections can range from the common cold to Ebola. Unlike bacteria, viruses are made up of only a genetic code that is encapsulated in a shell made up of protein and fat.

Viruses invade a host and attach to the hosts cell. By this process of attachment and release of genetics (commanding seed matter), the virus rapidly replicates and kills the host cells only to go on to infect new cells and repeats the cycle. Since the virus is only genetic material, it may remain dormant and reactivate when conditions demand so.

Some examples of viral infections are:

Antiviral medications can help in some cases as they can either prevent the virus from reproducing or boost the bodys immune system response. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses but most treatments are directed to relieve symptoms while the immune system combats the virus without assistance from drugs and treatments.

Fungal infections

A fungus is a many-celled parasite that can reproduce by spreading spores. Many fungal infections will appear on the topical skin as a persistent rash. Inhaled fungal spores can cause thrush and candidiasis.

Examples of fungal infections are:

Since commercial fishermen work in such harsh environments, the demands of the bodys protective immune system are much greater. A healthy active lifestyle can help keep the immune system strong and able to defend the body against different kinds of infections. Fishermen can stop the spread of communicable diseases with some simple common sense procedures that can be followed on their vessels and onshore.

There is no single way to prevent all infectious diseases. However, the following tips can reduce the risk of transmission:

Given how much they are handling gear and fish, the majority of commercial fishermens on-the-job infections are infections of the fingers and hands. Thats why its especially important to understand what it means to understand these types of infections.

Treating and preventing infections of the fingers and hands

Fish and fish products are often contaminated with infectious bacteria, which explains why fishermen are so prone to infections via the involuntary penetration into soft tissue by fish spines and bones. Bacteria can be easily carried into these open wounds by fish slime, fish intestinal parts and contaminated vessel components. Additionally, the handling of ropes, cables and moving metal parts in the unpredictable environment of the sea adds to the likelihood of bloody injuries that are centered on the hands.

Prevention is always better than treatment. All finger and hand infections are very painful and disabling. Some infections can cause permanent disability, possibly ending a fishermans career. Infections in the hands should always be treated aggressively within the following guidelines:

Knives and fishhooks

Injuries caused by a fishermans working tools such as knives and fishhooks should be treated aggressively and immediately. These instruments can directly inject harmful bacteria deep in the soft tissue.

In order to remove a fishhook with the minimum tissue damage, follow this simple procedure:

The ability to give and receive proper medical attention while at sea is extremely limited. Thats why your medical skills and the supplies you have on hand can make all the difference. Preventing injuries is always the most cost-effective action plan, but that underscores why its essential to get proper training, be prepared, but most importantly, always think safety first.

For additional information concerning the best medical kit for your vessel visit or email your request to can also reach us by calling 800-272-3008.

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Marine medicine: Understanding and treating infection types - National Fisherman

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