Anyone have an explanation for river water that burned my skin?

So I was at a boat landing on the Mississippi River 2 years ago and something I cant explain happened. The landing was a bit muddy and I wasn't wearing shoes with a lot of grip and began sliding into the water. One foot got wet before ibwas able to get a grip on the side of the ramp and pull myself back up.

Here's the part that was strange. Water ftom the river soaked up into my sock and began to burn. And I mean really burn. I had to pull my sock off and blow on it until a guy saw me and brought some bottled water to me to rinse my foot and ankle with. He was as dumbfounded as I was over it all. My skin was bright red and itchy for a couple of days afterward.

Ive tried to research what it could have been and even called the Mississippi watershed authority but no one seems to know what this might have been. I thought it could possibly have been flesh eating bacteria but from what I read the bacteria doesn't affect a person in this way.

Have you ever heard of anything like this or have a theory of what could have been in the water to make my skin burn like this?

Is It Normal?
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Comments ( 9 ) Sort: best | oldest
  • probably some kind of chemical in the water, maybe some industry or people threw corrosive chemical into it.

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  • Don't go swimming in the Mississippi got it. Its a damn shane what we are doing to our water. I mean it is litterly the essence of life on our planet yet this is how we treat it.

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  • Maybe the Mississippi is so polluted now that it did that.

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  • Was it blue green algae? I don't know if it would cause the symptoms you describe but I gather it's not a good thing given we get official warnings about it in various waterways from time to time.

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  • Lots of rivers, especially ones down steam of industrial plants are polluted. Try enjoying the river a couple hours upstream away from industirical centers.

    They pulled a two headed fish out of our local river 4 years ago. Still haven't swam in it since.

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  • Stop swimming at the raw sewage plant thinking it’s a river maybe

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  • The mighty Mississippi is polluted. 😕

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  • If your skin almost immediately turned red, I'd suspect the irritation was due to something chemical rather than biological.

    The Mississippi River is the second most polluted river in the USA (the Ohio takes first place), and literally hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic chemicals are carried by it in any given year.

    The only way you could have had a hope of finding out what attacked you was by immediately taking a sample of the water to be analysed. But not many people have the foresight to think of that when they're in pain, trying to figure out what the fuck is going on and mainly worried about how to make it stop hurting.

    People obviously aren't supposed to dump toxic or caustic chemicals in rivers, but proper disposal of such waste is expensive, so there will always be some who do this and hope that the dilution of the river will make it impossible for them to be caught. Maybe someone had done this upstream of you shortly before your foot went into the water, but it's also known that stuff dumped on the ground near rivers will gradually percolate through the ground water and eventually end up in the river, so who knows? Maybe you were burned by some chemical that was dumped in a shallow well near the boat landing decades ago.

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    • I wish i had thought to get a sample but as you said I was just thinking about getting the burning to stop.

      I wondered if this was all caused by a reaction to the algae that was above and below the landing but I cant find any instances of this happening to other people so I think you must be right, that it was caused by some caustic chemical pool. The water above the landing makes a calm twist and if someone dumped something just upstream I could see it collecting there.

      The mississippi is indeed very polluted. I can remember visiting several times growing up and in those days I would catch several species of fish, often catching the legal limit. The last two times I went i caught nothing. This cant be blamed on overfishing, since there are far fewer fishermen on the mississippi than when i was a kid and commercial fishing has been made illegal in most parts of the river.

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