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:

  1. Avoid bites by using mosquito repellent and suitable clothing.
  2. Maintain good hygiene – I favor natural antiseptic / antifungal soaps containing tea-tree oil for prevention / unblocking of pores susceptible to infection.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
AddressPhone Number
Puskesmas SenaruMagling (Bayan)0878 6501 9196
Ambulance (General Lombok No)0370 623 489
Emergency call: 118
Tanjung HospitalTanjung0819 3316 2436
*Harapan KeluargaJl. Ahmad Yani, Selagalas, Mataram0370 617 7000
0370 617 7009
Risa Centre MedicaJl. Pejanggik No.115, Cakranegara0370 625 560
New Mataram Public HospitalJl. Bungkarno No.1 Mataram0370 645 045
Mataram Public HospitalJl. Pejanggik No.6, Mataram0370 623 159
Siti Hajar Mouslem HospitalJl. Panca Warga, Mataram0370 623 498
Anthonius Catholic HospitalJl. Koprasi, Ampenan0370 621 397
East Lombok Public HospitalJl. Prof M Yamin No 55, Selong0370 216 80
Biomedika ClinicJl. Bung Karno No.143, Mataram0370 645 137
Medika Husada ClinicJl. Raya Sengiggi0370 645 137
Klinic ProdiaJl. Pejanggik No.107, Mataram0370 635 010
Jolie Sourire Dental CareEpicentrum Mall, Mataram0370 668 1797
Warna Clinic (Gili T)Gili Trawangan0370 612 3859
Gili Air ClinicGili Air0878 6206 0248
Meno Medica ClinicGili Meno0878 6435 9111
A non-exhaustive list of medical facilities on Lombok. This list was compiled by Rinjani Dawn Adventures as part of their emergency / rescue plan, and therefore includes facilities close to Mt Rinjani / Bayan. It's fair to say that the most comprehansive medical care can be found in the capital of Lombok, Mataram. For more specialist treatment it is worth considering travelling to Bali, Jakarta, or Singapore.

Useful Links:

 http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/abscess

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/post-travel-evaluation/skin-soft-tissue-infections-in-returned-travelers

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/health

http://smartraveller.gov.au/

nhs.uk/nhsengland/Healthcareabroad

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

cdc.gov/travel

who.int/ith

http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/

One comment on “Health Tips Episode 1: Skin Infections

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