The Largest Organ?

What is the largest organ? After incorrectly guessing the liver; your final answer: the lungs. Now, they take up a lot of ‘land!’

Wrong again! The skin is the largest organ. There’s a lot of inches involved in those square feet.  One estimate I read is that the skin is 18 square feet, but people are a different size.

Why is so much attention paid to the skin? In this post, we’ll concentrate on infection prevention. WOMEN, PAY ATTENTION. You’re in the kitchen and as luck would have it, the knife blade meets your hand. Slice! It’s hard to keep the band-aid and Neosporin™ on because you’re constantly washing. That night it is red.

You bribe your husband and swapped KP for bill-paying duties. Unfortunately, ‘slice’ comes the paper cut from the envelope: right on the red spot! In spite of tonight’s peroxide and alcohol, tomorrow’s visual? There is redness, swelling, and warmth with green smelly drainage. Yuck. It’s infected, alright.

So now, with a break in the skin, the cells that are infected do battle with the cells of your immune system. Usually, your immune system emerges victorious from such skirmishes.

But, suppose these foreign invaders manage to overcome the immune cells and get into the blood. That can be a life-threatening medical emergency which requires rapid ER care as the blood feeds all the internal organs. Normally our immune systems attack and make light work out of those bugs. But what would happen if your immune system is compromised or if your healing ability is decreased (you have diabetes for example)?

If the infection goes from the blood down to the bone, antibiotics MAY heal, but MAY NOT. What happens if antibiotics don’t heal? This is too often the case in diabetes. The possibility of the need for amputation becomes very real.

Why borrow trouble? Every story has a moral and this one? Keep your skin and band-aids intact. If there are any signs of redness or warmth or oozing, call your doctor. Your doctor knows the importance of the skin’s integrity and will help you.  Something seemingly minor can become infected in no time, even if you keep them clean and dry. Bacteria thrive in the dark environment created by the band-aid.


About Annie

My 20 year nursing career ended when i was diagnosed with lupus. So, I began another career as a freelance writer and advocate for people with chronic illnesses.

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