Health Tips Episode 1: Skin Infections
Staying Healthy in Lombok
Bacterial Skin Infections
Although I’ve only been coming to Indonesia and Lombok for a few years, I’ve had a few minor “health issues” that I feel worth sharing. Thankfully I’ve never had Malaria or Dengue Fever (I don’t use antimalarials, and rarely use a mosquito net), or any other dangerous disease; but recently I’ve been reminded how prevalent infectious bacteria in the tropics are, and how taking prompt action is advisable…
About a month ago I noticed a small hard bump on my left quad. I thought it could be one of two things – either a mosquito bite or an ingrowing hair. I did what most idiot males do, and had a poke around with some tweezers (which in my defense I’d sterilized). With no success I cleaned it up and got on with my life. Within two days I was struggling to bend my leg, and the small bite had swollen into something resembling half a tennis ball (albeit pink and hairy…). It was hot to touch, and I was conscious of the infection spreading down the back of my leg. After one more day of limping around and self-treatment (poking, prodding, etc.), I decided it best to go see a doctor. Although there are quite a few clinics and hospitals in Lombok (I’ll list a few below), I tend to go to Harapan Keluarga on Jl. Ahmad Yani. It’s a new hospital, clean and well organized. I’ve been there a few times now, and following the brief registration at the front-desk I’ve never had to wait longer than 10 minutes before being seen. Anyway, back to my tale of woe! The Doctor examined me, immediately reaching the conclusion that it was an abscess and I should commence a course of antibiotics without delay. In addition to this I should apply a compress soaked in anti-bacterial solution a couple times a day, and keep the area dressed. The antibiotics did the trick in fighting the infection, but I had to return to hospital a few days later (this time the local one in Magling, Bayan) to lance and drain the abscess. Don’t worry, I have no intention of sharing pictures of this charming procedure -although perversely satisfying to me, I feel it would be slightly nauseating to a spectator. A couple weeks have passed since this minor episode, and I’ve recovered the full function of my leg. The area is still slightly different though – a bit rigid compared to the surrounding muscle and skin – perhaps some cutaneous scarring…
Lessons Learned / Advice:
- Avoid bites by using mosquito repellent and suitable clothing.
- Maintain good hygiene – I favor natural antiseptic / antifungal soaps containing tea-tree oil for prevention / unblocking of pores susceptible to infection.
- Carry a First-Aid kit with sterilizing solution, antibacterial wipes / gel, plasters etc. Failing this, go to a local pharmacy as soon as you have a cut / minor infection, and purchase what you need. Pharmacies are pretty decent on mainland Lombok. Although it’s always better to see a Doctor and get them prescribed, it’s possible to purchase antibiotics directly.
- Check symptoms on the Internet via a trusted / reputable source – follow advice but try to avoid premature self-diagnosis that might lead to worry / stress.
- Seek medical advice sooner rather than later. Some things are easily fixed if tackled early on, but if left untreated could rapidly deteriorate into something serious.
- Professional medical care is not expensive on Lombok. For a Doctors consultation and the prescribed antibiotics I paid around IDR 450,000 – roughly AUD$45 or €30. Hopefully this shouldn’t break the bank, and if it’s anything more serious, travel insurance should cover-it.
The below table is not an exhaustive list – more of a personal one that I use for potential rescue and emergency situations on the mountain (Mt Rinjani). Which option is best will depend on your location and situation. It’s fair to say, however, that the best medical facilities are to be found in the capital, Mataram. If it’s very serious, you may be better getting a flight to Bali or Jakarta (again not expensive / difficult to organize).
Lombok Medical Facilities
|Hospital / Facility Name||Address||Phone Number|
|Puskesmas Senaru||Magling (Bayan)||0878 6501 9196|
|Ambulance (General Lombok No)||0370 623 489
Emergency call: 118
|Tanjung Hospital||Tanjung||0819 3316 2436|
|*Harapan Keluarga||Jl. Ahmad Yani, Selagalas, Mataram||0370 617 7000
0370 617 7009
|Risa Centre Medica||Jl. Pejanggik No.115, Cakranegara||0370 625 560|
|New Mataram Public Hospital||Jl. Bungkarno No.1 Mataram||0370 645 045|
|Mataram Public Hospital||Jl. Pejanggik No.6, Mataram||0370 623 159|
|Siti Hajar Mouslem Hospital||Jl. Panca Warga, Mataram||0370 623 498|
|Anthonius Catholic Hospital||Jl. Koprasi, Ampenan||0370 621 397|
|East Lombok Public Hospital||Jl. Prof M Yamin No 55, Selong||0370 216 80|
|Biomedika Clinic||Jl. Bung Karno No.143, Mataram||0370 645 137|
|Medika Husada Clinic||Jl. Raya Sengiggi||0370 645 137|
|Klinic Prodia||Jl. Pejanggik No.107, Mataram||0370 635 010|
|Jolie Sourire Dental Care||Epicentrum Mall, Mataram||0370 668 1797|
|Warna Clinic (Gili T)||Gili Trawangan||0370 612 3859|
|Gili Air Clinic||Gili Air||0878 6206 0248|
|Meno Medica Clinic||Gili Meno||0878 6435 9111|