TEXARKANA, Texas - As many people make plans this summer to swim in the lakes, or travel to the ocean, experts are warning of a seasonal health concern that could be a matter of life or death.
Flesh-eating diseases have been in the headlines recently, especially around the Gulf Coast.
However, the types of bacteria that cause the illness are not just at the beach.
Health officials say there are four types of infections, including the bacteria found in saltwater.
Unfortunately, necrotizing fasciitis or flesh-eating diseases can happen anywhere.
Texarkana Emergency Center Dr. Matt Young says it usually starts as an simple skin infection.
People with medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer are more at risk.
He says it's important to be aware of the symptoms because the infection spreads quickly.
The disease can be limb threatening, or life-threatening.
"As soon as you have a laceration, an abrasion or cut and you notice it's not quite healing. If you start getting red around the border, and pain at the site, and drainage, that's when it's time to get seen," said Dr. Young.
Dr. Young says even good wound care and antibiotics don't always prevent the disease from happening.
He says patients who don't see improvements, should get re-evaluated, and be proactive about treatment.
The CDC recommends cleaning all minor cuts and injuries with soap and water.
Clean and cover open wounds with bandages until they've healed.
Also, seek medical attention, if wounds are not healing properly.