The flooding rains in the last two months not only left a massive mess to clean up, it also affected some folks' health. We met a Sioux Falls woman who was head to toe in raw sewage last month during the clean up in George, Iowa and now it's itching all over, most likely, because of it.
Jamie Stubbe grew increasingly concerned and frustrated over an itchy rash that was spreading all over her body so she came to the Avera McGreevy Clinic on 69th to get some answers and hopefully some relief.
Jamie says, "They scraped it to see if it was a fungus. It's not. Then they did a biopsy and will send it in to see what it is."
She noticed the rash after helping clean-up her grandparents home in George. You may remember the small Northwest Iowa community was socked with 11" of rain on July 21st. The town's sewer system couldn't handle that amount of water in such a short amount of time so it started backing up. Eva and Herman Stubbe had a foot and a half of raw sewage in their basement.
Jamie says, "It was in my hair. There was no way around it. Everything was covered in it and we had to carry it all out. It was about a week later when I was working on RAGBRAI that I started having an itch on my chest. I thought it was from the heat, but day after day it kept spreading. Now it's all over my arms chest everywhere, my legs and it itches."
Dr. Dawn Flickema at the Avera McGreevy Clinic on 69th and Western in Sioux Falls says, "The rash, a contact dermatitis, could be from other things in the water other than just sewage like the nitrates from fertilizer and that could cause skin irritations for some people."
Dr. Flickema says people who come in contact with sewage back-up and flood water need to be careful not to be in it with any open wounds. She says, "The concern is with infection and that happens if you have a break in the skin and then you are at risk for infection."
Even though Jamie could do without the rash, she says she would do it all over again in a heartbeat because she would do anything to help her family. Only next time maybe she'll do clean-up duties in protective coveralls and a hood!
Jamie was prescribed a medication that cleared-up and dried out her rash in about 5 days. She goes back to the doctor on August 20th to get her stitches out from the biopsy and get the results.