Hi, I am the best friend and caregiver of a survivor of Necrotizing Fasciitis. I've posted a harrowing tale of my quest to ensure she got decent care (meaning I did most of it myself) on Associated Content, here is a link: "Adventures in the American Healthcare System"
By Nora Salisbury
You can also read her personal story of the horrors of the flesh here: "My Survivor Story"
By Doreen Mulman
I strongly urge everyone to read these, even if you don't know anyone who's experienced a life-threatening infection, because if not now, someday you will know or be someone at the mercy of our country's doctors & nurses, and I'm sorry to say, they aren't all Hawkeye Pierce & Margaret Houlihan. Very few of them are, in fact. Our healthcare system is mostly populated by the Frank Burns' of the medical profession.
Especially if you're lucky enough to have one or both parents still alive, you should pay special attention to her story. You see, she got this deadly infection from her father who was repeatedly sent home by Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City with numerous high-powered infections; I mean they had this man on Cipro, which is normally reserved for anthrax poisoning. She asked them to keep him longer and really knock the infections out, but they refused, despite him returning time & again with the same problem. So you can get a hospital-acquired infection without going anywhere near one. Even if you don't have a patient contaminating your home, there are opportunities for picking up germs EVERYWHERE.
I'd like you to play a little game; when in public, anytime you touch something, think about all the other people who touch that same surface every day, and the chances that all those people washed their hands right before
touching that surface (which are slim to none). Go to the supermarket, and look at all the drippy, diapered babies sitting in that place in the shopping cart where you put your purse, or list, or the meats & veggies you eat. Makes me glad that Ralphs provides Clorox wipes for them. Go to your favorite fast-food place, and sit a while watching the employees. When one goes into the bathroom, follow them. See if they wash their hands before going back to wrap your burger. You may be surprised ... and disgusted. I was.
You may want to run for a plastic bubble to live in when you think about all these things, but it's a matter of being aware, maintaining good hygiene and watching out for symptoms of something that starts out feeling like a simple thing you can treat at home and progresses to fatal proportions in a couple of days. Being aware instead of pretending it won't happen to you is half the battle.