Jonathan M., of Lancaster, Kentucky, took a Memorial Day weekend trip with his family to the Green River, where he went swimming and camping.
While swimming, Jonathan contracted a flesh-eating bacteria and is still recovering from the severe infection months later.
One day after swimming, Jonathan began noticing symptoms, including dizziness and fever. According to Jonathan, “It felt like someone has kicked me in the groin.”
Shortly after getting sick, Jonathan spotted something beginning to form on his left thigh.
After going to the doctor, Jonathan was diagnosed with a case of necrotizing fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection that kills tissue and separates the lining from the muscle.
The typical symptoms of the disease include a red or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly, causing severe pain, along with a fever.
According to the CDC, about 700 to 1,200 cases of the disease have occurred each year in the US since 2010.
Jonathan spent two weeks in the hospital, where he underwent surgery, including the removal of a 6-inch portion of his upper thigh.
The fact is, Jonathan said, “I’ve been in mud holes, creeks, on four-wheelers my whole life, probably every body of water there is. Most of them I was fine in.
This never would have crossed my mind something like this could have hit me. It’s something you see on Facebook that you never think could be in you.”
The fact is, we’ve heard many stories like this where someone went swimming in a body of water and contracted a flesh-eating bacteria.
Some of the ways these folks get infected is by swimming with an open wound on their body or even by failing to shower after they go swimming.
My point is, something as simple as showering can reduce the chances of contracting a bacterial infection. Of course, showering when camping, or when bugging out is easier said than done.
With that in mind, I want to share with you a way to build a very simple outdoor shower.
Creating a shower bag is one of the easiest ways to build a survival shower when you are limited on supplies.
If you’re going out in the wilderness for a few days of hiking, you can easily carry construction or trash bags.
Most construction or trash bags are capable of holding a minimum of 13 gallons, and you probably want to buy a quality brand so the bags don’t tear.
In addition, if you bring multiple bags, you can also cut them up to use them for privacy around the shower.
Once you have your bags, here are the steps to build an easy to use shower when you have limited supplies and are bugging out.
- Place two or three trash bags inside one another and fill the most inner bag with the appropriate amount of water. I would say 5 gallons is all you need.
- Tie off the innermost trash bag then tie the others into a knot to reinforce the whole shower bag.
- Using a tree branch or another object above, tie off or hang the shower bag ensuring that the bag is secure from the weight of the water.
- Allow time for the water to warm up in direct sunlight. If you put water in the trash bags first thing in the morning, the water should be somewhat warm by midday, depending on the outside temperatures.
- Using a knife, poke holes in the bottom of the shower bag to begin showering.
- The smaller the holes the better, since they will allow for slow drainage, giving you time to soak, wash, and rinse. Don’t forget to use soap as this will help to kill any bacteria.
There is no question that maintaining basic hygiene while outdoors is critical.
If you are bugging out and get a small skin abrasion, cut, or rash, it can become worse if it’s not properly washed and cleaned with soap.