(Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

I am not a big fan of scratch tickets or playing the lottery. And it always hits hardest when a local wins, securing the fact that I cannot win unless I play. I wanna be a Mega Millions Winner!

When jackpots get big, say over $100 million, that is when I like to play. Big jackpots!

For one lucky winner, playing the lottery has paid off big time!

Game officials at the Florida Lottery said Friday’s jackpot was the eleventh largest in the game’s history.

2 winners picked all 6 numbers to split the $494 million jackpot. One Mega Millions winner in California and the other right here in Ft Myers. The winning ticket was bought at a 7-11 on Colonial Blvd.

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Flesh-Eating Bacteria On The Rise In Southwest Florida

We live on the Gulf coast. Going to the beach is a regular part of a lot of our weekends. But the downside to paradise is that flesh-eating bacteria is on the rise in Southwest Florida.

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacteria that normally lives in warm brackish water and saltwater like the Gulf of Mexico. Due to rising temperatures around the world, Vibrio vulnificus expanded into other bodies of water.  Climate change experts at NASA believe that this bacteria will be sticking around for a while.

Florida has already beat a record this year of infections of Vibrio vulnificus with 65. Unfortunately Lee County had the most in the state with 29 cases and 4 deaths. Collier County has had 3 cases and Charlotte had 1 case. Before this year, 2017 had the next highest when Hurricane Irma caused a lot of flooding with 50 cases and 11 deaths.

The Florida Department of Health says that the reason for the spike this year is Hurricane Ian.

In a press release, Tammy Soliz, a Lee County department spokeswoman said: “Sewage spills in coastal waters, like those caused by Hurricane Ian, may increase bacteria levels. People with open wounds, cuts, or scratches can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with sea water or brackish water.” She also points out that those who eat raw or undercooked oysters and shellfish are at risk.

An infection by Vibrio vulnificus can destroy soft tissue, which is why it’s considered a flesh-eating bacteria. Symptoms of infection include chills, fever, swelling, blistering, skin lesions, severe pain and low blood pressure. If not treated, it can lead to death within just a few days.

 

While infections are rare and for most of us swimming in water that has this bacteria is generally safe, for those that are immunocompromised, it can pose a more serious threat.

Here are a few ways to protect yourself from this flesh-eating bacteria in Southwest Florida:

  • If you have open wounds, cuts, or scratches, stay out of flood water, standing water, sea water and brackish water, if possible.

  • Immediately clean wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and clean running water or bottled water after contact with flood water, standing water, sea water, brackish water or raw or undercooked seafood and its juices.

  • Cover wounds with a waterproof bandage if you need to come in contact with flood water, standing water, sea water or brackish water.

  • Seek immediate medical care if redness, swelling or oozing develops a wound or if there are any other signs of infection like fever, increasing pain, shortness of breath, fast or high heart rate, or confusion or disorientation.

  • Eat shellfish soon after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.

  • Protect your feet and if walking in standing water, wear good boots that are waterproof and sturdy.