Injury while kayaking - resolution
Treatment in the field included increased hand washing, draining pus from the injury site, warm compresses, and application of topical antibiotic cream. Oral antibiotics were not available to the group and thus were not administered. As the trip continued the infection in this patient’s finger worsened. Within two days it had progressed to showing signs of a systemic infection. Due to the high wind and waves, and the overall distance from medical care, the patient was evacuated by boat. He was treated at a local hospital for Paronychia (infection of the tissue near a fingernail). The patient received oral antibiotics and the infection resolved within one week. Several factors may have contributed to this infection: the patient’s previous hand infection; the wet/dry cycle associated with sea kayaking, which can cause cracks on the fingers and hands; hygiene practices in the backcountry; and the physical stress associated with expedition.