Are Infections Really That Bad? Should I Be Worried?
I say, deal with infection when you get it.
And deal with it smartly, and correctly.
Infection prevention is better than cure, yet do not be excessively preventive, especially during TSW.
I've seen so many TSW sufferers justify their use of antibacterial / anti-infection products and apply them liberally for "fear of infection", even when they do not have any infection. They use plenty of nice stuff like virgin coconut oil, tree tree oil, apple-cider-vinegar, anti-fungals, anti-microbials just because they are afraid they get infected.
These might be good preventive actions, IF AND ONLY IF, your skin is perfect – they function normally, they have the right diffusivity and permeability, they allow the right things to pass through and stop the bad things from going through.
When you have TSW skin – your skin is porous, leaky and highly sensitive, your blood tissues are dilated, you lose water easily, your blood plasma is exposed externally – do you think that by excessively being preventable, you are actually exposing your skin, Blood and internal biochemistry to potentially more variables, some of them could be more harmful than helpful?
So much for prevention, when we only think one-dimensionally on the benefits or properties of the product, instead of thinking how the product actually interfaces and interfaces with us. When companies sell us stuff, they tell us how good their stuff is. They never tell you exactly how the stuff works with your bodies.
So my opinion is to stay off the prevention track, and start observing keenly.
In my personal experience, despite the abundance of open, wet, raw, soft wounds, there were rare instances when my skin was badly infected. I do not see huge areas of pus and infection, or areas to suggest that I was thoroughly infected.
So if I do not see it or feel it, I do not worry about it. When I do not worry about it, there is one less thing on my plate. I rely on less products. I reduce the potential number of variables that might make my skin turn bad (Although there may also be variables that make my skin turn better, I'd rather choose the opposite of not turning bad, as those variables that make my skin better are only Transient and will require my dependence on the product that produces those variables, ie moisturizers / SKII for the ladies). When I eliminate variables, I can better pin-point what actually makes my skin turn bad. And when I can better identify these factors, I can avoid them. And the more I avoid them, the less bad skin gets, and more time is given for the skin to heal.
So what happens when I do get infected?
About 3 weeks back, I got a small 3 x 3 cm spot on my calf filled with small pus at the root of my leg hairs. It's probably folliculitis and I probably got infected somewhere somehow.
If I had been overtly reactive and afraid, I would have quickly searched around for answers, and would probably receive all kinds of nice advice of using what type of medicine, creams, natural cures, and even possibly some oral antibiotics to treat the small spot Of infection.
But I did not, because it was just a small infected spot. It was not life-threatening. It was slighty irritating and abit scary to look at (spots of pus on your leg? WEIRD). But the key factor was that – it was not life-threatening.
I decided to let the infection sit for a few days and just observed.
Nothing happened actually. The infection did not spread, and started to go away by itself over the week.
My body did most of the work in getting rid of the localized infection. By the time you see pus, you should know that your body has already done plenty of work in the creation of the pus, which is infact a process of isolation of foreign toxins / bacteria, which causes them from doing more harm systemically.
So this heuristic – letting the body do its work if its not life-threatening – worked in my favor.
Things that worry me are body-wide systemic infection / inflammation. Cases that could be life-threatening – increased body-wide temperature, uncontrollable fever, even hives, chicken pox or any sudden body wide rashes.
Body-wide = real bad. Localised = wait and see if it gets worse. Do seek a second opinion if you face systemic infection or infection. Intuitively, your body should tell you whether an issue is manageable or not. If you do not trust your guts, always seek a doctor's opinion.
In our daily life, we often do things without thinking why we do them. We do them out of traditions, fear, habits, routine, peer pressure etc. Many of them do not have a strong logical and empirical basis and many people live with philosophies that are detrimental for their lives. And many of them do not recognize this, as their very basic permissions limit their way of thinking.
Start by having doubts, and then by using your senses to empirically confirm or deny your doubts.
Stop being overly medicated. If there is not a need to (non-life threatening) use medication, do not.
Deal with infection only when you get them. Deal with them correctly, and you will be improving your natural immune system. Deal with them incorrectly, and you do the reverse.
That is very similar to how we manage eczema with topical steroids too.