since diseases fascinate me, and I have nothing better to do, this is excerpted in part from Springhouse's 7th Ed. of PROFESSIONAL GUIDE TO DISEASES, an excellent reference book.
p. 187, 188, 189: GAS GANGRENE
"...results from ...gram-positive rod Clostridium perfingens (or another clostridial species)....with prompt treatment, 80% of patients with gas gangrene of the extremities survive. The prognosis is poorer for gas gangrene in other sites, such as the abdominal wall or the bowel. The usual incubation period is 1-4 days...."
"The hallmark of gas gangrene is crepitation (a crackling sensation when the skin is touched), a result of CO2 and H accumulation as a metabolic byproduct...severe localized pain, swelling, and discoloration (often dusky brown or reddish), with formation of bullae and necrosis within 36 hours from onset...."
[ gosh, this is not a pretty picture.... Anyhow...to continue]
"Treatment includes careful observation for signs of myositis and cellulitis and immediate treatment if these signs appear, immediate wide surgical excision of all affected tissues and necrotic muscle in myositis delayed or inadequate surgical excision is a fatal mistake, and, after adequate debridement, hyperbaric oxygenation, if available."
"Careful observation may result in early diagnosis. Look for s/s of ischemia (cool skin; pallor or cyanosis; sudden, severe pain; sudden edema; and loss of pulses in involved limb)."
Among other interventions, the book recommends:
"...provide adequate fluid replacement, and assess pulmonary and cardiac functions often. Maintain airway and ventillation.
"...provide meticulous wound care..."
"Psychological support is critical..."
"Deodorize room to control foul odor from wound..."
"Institute wound precautions. Dispose of drainage material properly (double-bag dressings in plastic bags for incineration), and wear sterile gloves when changing dressings. Spore-forming bacteria are not destroyed by ordinary disinfecting methods. Therefore, all contaminated equipment and linens must be autoclaved."