NORFOLK, Va. - Amanda Edwards can laugh today thinking back on her potentially fatal health scare.
“I was just like, 'Oh my goodness... my leg is gonna fall off,'" Edwards chuckled. “That’s the only thing I could keep thinking.”
She told News 3 she contracted a flesh-eating staph infection during a day of fun at Norfolk’s Ocean View Beach. She said the infection spread quickly.
“The way that it was spreading, it was going up my leg," Edwards explained.
It happened last week.
“I was like, ‘It’s really hot. Let’s go to the beach.’ So, we went outside to the beach. I was only in the water for maybe like 10 minutes,” she explained.
The next day, the fun was over.
“I did not feel good. I noticed this thing that came on my leg. I ignored it for a couple days, and it just started getting bigger and bigger and bigger to the point where I couldn’t walk anymore,” she explained.
She told News 3 reporter Brian Hill doctors treated the infection and said the bacteria possibly got into her skin through an open cut.
“They had to cut me open, drain it out and stuff it with some gauze. I had to keep it covered for days. I had to take three antibodies every six hours," Edwards, who was at the beach with friends, said.
This was around the time there was a swimming advisory.
“Please check the news and make sure there is not an advisory out because there was not signs out there,” Edwards mentioned.
The Norfolk Health Department told us germs can get into the water in different ways, like washing off of swimmers' bodies or when people relieve themselves in the water.
Health officials say avoid swallowing water and taking a dip after a heavy rainfall, don’t swim if you are ill or have a weakened immune system and swim away from fishing piers, pipes, drains and water flowing from storm drains onto a beach.
As for Edwards, she said she’s taking a break from splashing around for the rest of the summer.
“Every time I go into the water, I’m gonna think about that bad experience.”
Edwards has to continue taking antibiotics for the next two weeks.
Once you get out of the water, health officials say you should shower with soap.