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Old 17-12-2015, 19:20   #1
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Anyone cruising without a spleen?

Having recently been separated from mine, I'm keen to hear how others in the same boat (so to speak) cope and precautions taken. My particular concerns as a "newbie" in this dept are protection against septicaemia and also perhaps malaria down the track and also anything else that might not be ordinarily thought of when living aboard.

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Old 18-12-2015, 09:18   #2
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

I love Mackay! Reefmagnet. Home of the prettest girls in Queensland. But back to the topic. We took out a ton of spleens for trauma in my residency. Always told them they would have to take antibiotics for dental and other procedures. I am not aware of any other precautions.
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Old 18-12-2015, 09:59   #3
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

Spleen? Not really.
But I have done a lot of cruising without a brain.
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Old 18-12-2015, 13:55   #4
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I love Mackay! Reefmagnet. Home of the prettest girls in Queensland. But back to the topic. We took out a ton of spleens for trauma in my residency. Always told them they would have to take antibiotics for dental and other procedures. I am not aware of any other precautions.
Cheers, as an ex Sydney sider and part time Melbourneite, I can only agree. In fact, my wife has to wipe the drool from my chin every time we drive through Airlie Beach on the way to the boat :-P

I'm on a three year course of antibiotics plus various vaccinations as recommended by my gp. My wife's ex-husband lost his in his 20's and doesn't do anything special. Techniques to avoid and treat shellfish cuts etc and real experience risk of malaria that I'm keen to hear real world experiences of.

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Old 18-12-2015, 15:05   #5
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

Yes, I'm a spleenless one, though I doubt I can contribute much as I've been so for over fifty years and don't/have never, taken anything special as a result.

I learnt only a few years ago that I ought to be a bit more careful about malaria - no more likely to contract the disease, but apparently much harder to deal with if I do?

A couple of friends who lost their spleens much more recently are prescribed a bunch of pills every day for the rest of their lives . When being treated for an unrelated problem about eight years ago, the UK medical profession remembered/rediscovered that that they'd removed my spleen and suggested that I too should perhaps be taking a daily cocktail of drugs; I replied that as I'd survived from five to fifty without taking any, I wasn't going to start doing so now.
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Old 18-12-2015, 15:14   #6
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

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Yes, I'm a spleenless one, though I doubt I can contribute much as I've been so for over fifty years and don't/have never, taken anything special as a result.

I learnt only a few years ago that I ought to be a bit more careful about malaria - no more likely to contract the disease, but apparently much harder to deal with if I do?

A couple of friends who lost their spleens much more recently are prescribed a bunch of pills every day for the rest of their lives . When being treated for an unrelated problem about eight years ago, the UK medical profession remembered/rediscovered that that they'd removed my spleen and suggested that I too should perhaps be taking a daily cocktail of drugs; I replied that as I'd survived from five to fifty without taking any, I wasn't going to start doing so now.
Yeah, I hate taking pills. Apparently it takes around 3 years before other organs start to compensate for lost spleen functions which reduces the risk of infection. I'm taking antibiotics for three years while my natural resistance (hopefully) increases although I half suspect my spleen had already been kaput for a while anyway.

Have you had problems with infected cuts?

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Old 18-12-2015, 18:07   #7
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

"Have you had problems with infected cuts?"

I suppose I have over the years, though I don't know if I'm significantly worse than anyone else in that respect? Until I read your post I'd never known/considered that the lack of a spleen might make me more susceptible.
Having been caught out a few times over the years, I tend to treat cuts, scrapes and insect bites which show any sign or even likelihood of infection very aggressively - clean & sluice with hydrogen peroxide or 98% alcohol and then lather up with an antiseptic cream called Savlon (it may be just a UK product?). Since we began offshore/ocean sailing, we do also carry - and have used on three occasions now - a few courses of broad spectrum antibiotics. Beyond that I just take a 'she'll be right' attitude to life and get on with it.
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Old 18-12-2015, 18:46   #8
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobnlesley View Post
"Have you had problems with infected cuts?"

I suppose I have over the years, though I don't know if I'm significantly worse than anyone else in that respect? Until I read your post I'd never known/considered that the lack of a spleen might make me more susceptible.
Having been caught out a few times over the years, I tend to treat cuts, scrapes and insect bites which show any sign or even likelihood of infection very aggressively - clean & sluice with hydrogen peroxide or 98% alcohol and then lather up with an antiseptic cream called Savlon (it may be just a UK product?). Since we began offshore/ocean sailing, we do also carry - and have used on three occasions now - a few courses of broad spectrum antibiotics. Beyond that I just take a 'she'll be right' attitude to life and get on with it.
Good info, thanks! We even have Savlon around these parts, too.

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Old 18-12-2015, 21:00   #9
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

Reefmagnet,

When Jim and I went to the Solomon Is., we were paranoid about malaria. What we found out is that physical prophylaxis works very well. We did not take any anti-malarial drugs, but here's what we did do:

1) Created a "going ashore after 4:00 p.m." outfit. Jeans, long sleeved shirt for Jim, for Me a floor length skirt and long sleeved blouse. These we treated with a Pyrethrins soak and air dry. Flies land on you and die, it was wonderful!.

2) Used Deet on face, ears, neck, hands, and ankles. This we washed off when we got to the boat.

3) The boat: full screens, sprayed with 3 month surface spray. Bed mosquito net to enclose cockpit, also pyrethrins. (You could by them, already treated, at the infirmary.)
Mozzie zapper and pellets. Deadly to mosquitoes coils. Screen for entry hatch.... spray it, too. Also the dorade screens. Anchor at least 200 m. offshore. Anopheles can't fly further than that to get to you, plus there's likely to be other boats for them to stop at before they get to you.

We were never bitten while we were being really careful about it.

FWIW, it might be just as bad for you to get Ross River Fever. You should verify this, but I believe that the mosquito that carries it is quite large, and flashy, beige & white, and out in the daytime. You may have seen them in the showers in the Marina in Gladstone. The after-effects of RRF are quite nasty, by the way. Maybe your gp knows about the mosquito-borne diseases and can tell you more. Sorry you have to be on antibiotics for so long, hope it doesn't mess up your gut.

By the way, my elder son had his spleen out due to a football injury (he fell on the ball), and at that time, they did not put him on a regime of antibiotics for a long time. They told him to avoid pneumonia.

Good luck with it.

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Old 18-12-2015, 21:43   #10
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

Thanks Ann, that's excellent advice. I requested the antibiotics mainly because I'm in the middle of a refit of the boat and, besides the midgee's, I'm a renowned self-harmer around tools! The doc said I could make the call because I'm on the age related border of whether they're needed or not.

I'm also getting a whole heap of vaccines organised on my gp's advice because once the boat is done we're off. Not intending to venture into malaria areas for a couple of years at least because we want to do the lap of Oz first all going to plan.

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Old 18-12-2015, 22:34   #11
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

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Thanks Ann, that's excellent advice. I requested the antibiotics mainly because I'm in the middle of a refit of the boat and, besides the midgee's, I'm a renowned self-harmer around tools! The doc said I could make the call because I'm on the age related border of whether they're needed or not.

I'm also getting a whole heap of vaccines organised on my gp's advice because once the boat is done we're off. Not intending to venture into malaria areas for a couple of years at least because we want to do the lap of Oz first all going to plan.

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That sounds like a great trip. http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ilies/boat.gif

You may encounter Anopheles in the far north, I am not sure. But they are the prime carriers of malaria, and can carry dengue. Just be very careful with your physical prophylaxis.

Ann
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Old 18-12-2015, 23:38   #12
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

Well, I have always thought humans were a weak species. As a vet I have removed hundreds of spleens over my career - dogs and cats mostly.

Never used post surgical prophylaxis ( except for immediate post op infection).

Only rarely any subsequent issues.

The spleen is just one small part of the immune system.


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Old 19-12-2015, 12:29   #13
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

I lost mine in '79 - every five years I have a pneumococcus vaccine (pneumovax) - and try to be careful about bacterial infections. There are 2 forms of Meningococcal vaccine, Menactra and Menomune; generally age dependent. Menactra is often injected to those <55 years old with a second treatment after 8 weeks. Look this up on the web for further info.
In my case, I take no drugs - just the usual precautions that are sensible for everyone.
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Old 19-12-2015, 12:31   #14
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

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Spleen? Not really.
But I have done a lot of cruising without a brain.
I'm glad you said that! I found that having a brain overcomplicates things unnecessarily...
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Old 19-12-2015, 13:29   #15
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Re: Anyone cruising without a spleen?

I've had my spleen removed for 30 years. Heaven't taken any antibiotics either. When I get cuts and scrapes of any depth and/or size i wash it and rub garlic oil on it. If it's deep and bleeding a lot I put cayenne pepper on it and it stops the bleeding and disinfects it. it only slightly stings for about 30 seconds, less than alcohol. had strep throughout a couple times over the years, salt water gargle and echinacea three times a day for three or four days, gone. the second time I got it I was working on a black water system. Must have put my hand in my mouth or something. Been all through central america and mexico, went to the Malay in India some years back and hiked through Thailand, about ten years ago. Haven't had to take chemicals. Taking a regimen of antibiotics won't allow the immune system to build.
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