Thanks for all the feedback, everybody. Getting better every day. Besides the hygiene issues the life lesson I'm (re)learning is that if you're thinking of doing something sometime, best to make that time sooner rather than later.
My infection, mentioned above, could have been initiated either at Mt.
Woodson or at the local climbing gym. As soon as the symptoms became
unusual, I sought medical care. The Doc or PA who saw me immediately
suspected SA and thought that a community-acquired MRSA was likely, so he
put me on the appropriate antibiotic Clandomycin, I think, while my goo
was being cultured. I saw pictures of the agar-diffusion assay which
confirmed his diagnosis. That was pretty cool. I was fortunate to be put on the
course of antibiotics before waiting for the confirmation.
I also used Hibiclens for a while, and a topical antibiotic called
BactroBan in my nostrils. No complications, no recurrence. I think getting
the early treatment was critical.
The explosion of my carbuncle was after the course of antibiotics was
completed. Apparently I was not infective by that time.
I had a staph infection near my elbow a couple months ago. Red, swollen, painful. Possibly entered through a small elbow abrasion that was a souvenir from Devils Tower. Intravenous anti-biotics for 3 days, luckily out-patient, before the oral meds kicked in.
I asked the doctor what I could do to prevent this, and she said, "Moisturize your elbows."
Apparently knees and elbows are the common places that the bacteria enters due to dry skin, scrapes, etc.
I added some neosporin to my climbing pack. Can't hurt.
Here in CO, a 7 year old boy just passed from strep of all things. So sad..my boy played on a lacrosse team with the kid this past fall and I dont know what to tell my son. Concurrently, a girl in my daughters class just returned to school with drug resistant MRSA. Kind makes you a bit nervous. This stuff is everywhere these days.
My climbing wounds have always healed up nicely but I am way more careful now when cleaning and treating and cuts and scrapes.
When I stopped climbing in 2003, I started taking wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Mixed martial arts training.
Skin issues are fairly common in those sports, as you are rolling around on mats that get covered in whatever sweat / dirt / etc that is on anyone's body. You must be absolutely vigilant about cleaning and disinfecting them every single day, and not allowing shoes or any "street" clothing on them.
We kept our gym clean, so issues were at a minimum, but at other places with more lax standards, it was a common occurrence. I have seen ringworm, staph and full blown case of MRSA which ended up requiring lengthy hospital stays where large chunks of flesh would be removed, and massive long term antibiotics required to keep people from dying.