Could paddle in the sea have led to foot agony?

A woman contracted a bacterial infection after paddling in the sea at St Leonards. SUS-150207-111545001
A woman contracted a bacterial infection after paddling in the sea at St Leonards. SUS-150207-111545001

A simple paddle in the sea could have led to a ‘sticky end’ for one woman, who claims she picked up a serious bacterial infection from the water.

The Hastings resident, who did not want to be named, says the episode left her in pain and has called for the council to take a closer look at the quality of the seawater.

She told the Observer: “About 10 days ago I went for a paddle in St Leonards, at the level of Warrior Square.

“A few days later, I woke up in the night with severe shivers and fever.

“Consequently, I slept for over 30 hours and my first step out of the bed made me squeak, as it was extremely painful.

“When I looked at my right foot, it was swollen, with most of the foot covered with red, blistery areas.

“During the day, the heat in my foot became almost unbearable, and the patches had turned into a firey red with a one inch line going up the centre of the leg toward the knee.

“My husband was shocked to see me like this and we made an emergency appointment with my surgery. I was seen almost immediately.”

Her doctor diagnosed cellulitis, a dangerous streptococcus bacterial infection.

In some cases of cellulitis the bacteria triggers a secondary infection somewhere else in the body, such as in the blood. Blood poisoning can be life-threatening and often requires hospital admission for treatment.

The woman continued: “The bacteria had entered through a little cut in my foot and started spreading all over the body.

“I was prescribed strong antibiotics and rest, rest, rest, putting my leg up drinking lots of water.

“The infection continued to get worse until the next two days and then luckily subsided. However, after seven days of tiredness and discomfort, I am still only 70 percent better.

“Had I not gone to the doctor, it could have had a very sticky ending for me.

“I am confident, that the infection was picked up from the Hastings seawater, as I’ve done nothing else to get me into this state.

“Perhaps it is time to honestly look at the quality of our water, to avoid major problems for our children and everyone else.

“I’m very concerned the issue of water quality is brushed under the carpet and that everyone in charge is hoping that nothing unduly will happen.”

A spokesperson for Hastings Borough Council said: “We were very sorry to hear that your reader has had a painful infection.

“It is not possible to say for sure whether or not the infection was picked up from seawater.

“We do test the quality of water at our bathing beaches regularly.

“Warrior Square is not a designated bathing beach, the nearest bathing beach is at Marina; overall the water quality there has been good this year.

“We do encourage people to swim away from outfall pipes like the one at Warrior Square, and recommend that, if possible, they cover any cuts, etc before swimming in the sea or in a pool, to help prevent any possible infections.”

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