Wound worries in pandemic paradise

An infected leg is causing Tedly wound worries in pandemic paradise.

I’m kinda pissed off!

My leg is killing me.

What started as a small scrape on my right calf from a bicycle pedal has now turned into an ugly, oozing, swollen, painful wound. It’s obviously infected.

What’s more, I’m having healing issues with other boo boos that I’ve collected.

Wound worries

Leg, knee, knuckle, back

Tedly's wound worries include a calf cut and scraped knee, pictured on the left, and his banged up knuckle seen on the right.

My left knee was skinned nearly four weeks ago when I slipped on a seawall. Not a big deal. It too was just a little scrape. Yet close to a month later, it’s still ‘wet’ and painful – the scab is mushy. Why?

Another wound; this one a nick on my right middle finger knuckle. At least this one is almost healed after a month.

And an itchy rash that won’t go away on my back. My wife, Ellen, says it’s probably heat rash. Makes sense. It’s hot and I do sweat a lot here in the Philippines where we have paused our world travel to ride out the corona virus.

But I’ve also made a conscious effort to keep the bumps and blisters clean and dry. I go without a shirt if I start overheating. Ellen frequently gently washes the affected area. And this has been there for weeks too. In fact, the crusty zits seem to be spreading, causing more wound worries.

Itchy rash bumps on Tedly's back seen here are part of his wound worries.

Frequent washing, slow healing

In fact, I have washed each of the injuries I’ve mentioned after they happened. And used the iodine based antiseptic in our travel kit. Overall, my hygiene seems the same as usual.

What the hell is going on? Why can’t minor wounds heal? When did this become normal? I doubt there are any definite answers. Really, I’m just venting. But these various issues are becoming really annoying.

We have been told by several westerners, now long-term residents of the Philippines, that minor injuries take “forever” to heal — even “four times as long.” I just don’t get it.

I guess I should be grateful that the items I’m moaning about are not serious health issues. Would those drag on forever, too? Thankfully, what I’m dealing with is more of a nuisance. Still, infection is serious.


As a result, I have now started on antibiotics. As world wanderers, we try to always have a couple courses of basic antibiotics in our ‘travel health kit’. Ellie dug it out and I’m now taking Cefuroxime – indicated for “skin infections”.

Cefuroxime antibiotics package, left, iodine bottle with Tedly's infected calf cut on the right.

Sure, I could go see a doctor – who would undoubtedly prescribe antibiotics. I figure the less visiting of doctors during the COVID crisis the better. If the pain and redness and oozing and swelling don’t improve in a couple days, I can seek a doctor then.

We did do an internet search and discover some information saying that wound healing in the tropics is slower and more difficult due to more humidity, dust, insects, and bacteria.

That sounds reasonable. I gotta believe there is a lot more bacteria thriving where it is always damp and hot. Add animal waste, agriculture, poor (if any) sewer systems, puddles, flooding, bugs; I can imagine germs flourishing everywhere. It’s why we never wear outdoor shoes inside the house in developing countries, and frequently wash our feet and legs.

Tropical ulcers, aka — jungle rot

The internet search also revealed the topic of “tropical ulcers”. These not uncommon wounds usually occur below the knee and can be caused by a variety of microorganisms: staph, strep, parasites, anaerobes, spirochetes.

The photos of tropical ulcers, also known as jungle rot, are pretty disgusting.

A wet, swollen, infected open wound showing jungle rot from the internet.

The pic above is from Wikipedia. My calf wound is nothing like that – yet.

And after looking at that, I’m even more motivated to take my antibiotics and see a doctor if necessary. I will even lay off of the beer until the antibiotics take effect.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer (soon).

Life is NOW!

Thanks for reading, “Wound worries in pandemic paradise.”

Other health care adventures as early retired, budget, slow travelers:

5 thoughts on “Wound worries in pandemic paradise”

  1. I wonder if there is any local remedies that the tribes use? Or it could be that, due to natural selection, they are more immune to such ailments?

  2. Have you had your annual labs drawn lately? One sign of delayed healing could be due to high blood sugar levels (diabetes). Not a bad idea to get labs drawn to ensure your blood work including CBC, creatinine, albumin and cholesterol panel are all within normal limits. Important to keep an eye on these as we age as lab work is often times the first symptom of a disease process. Just my 2 cents from a Nurse.

    1. Great idea, Dina! Mom Diane had a few scratches that got larger and wouldn’t heal. She went to a doctor, who gave her antibiotics and sent her to a lab for a diabetes test. Results came back fine… but Tedly hasn’t been to a doctor yet, and I don’t think he’s had any blood work done in awhile. Thank you!

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