Passion fruit heel: what it is, causes and treatment

The passion fruit heel, scientifically called myiasis, is a disease caused by the proliferation of blowfly larvae on the skin or other tissues and cavities of the body, such as the eye, mouth or nose, which can also affect domestic animals.

The blowfly larva can enter the body through the skin when walking barefoot or through the bite of the blowfly on the skin that lays its eggs, which then turn into larvae. Usually the affected people are elderly, bedridden or have some metal deficiency and, therefore, are unable to keep the flies or larvae away from the skin. In addition, it is more frequent in places where there is little hygiene.

This disease has a cure, but to achieve it, it is necessary to correctly follow the treatment proposed by the doctor and keep the blowflies away. A good method to scare off flies is to use aromatherapy with citronella or lemon essential oil, for example.

What causes the passion fruit heel

The passion fruit heel is caused by the entrance of the blowfly larva in the body, which can happen when the fly lands on a wound and lays its eggs, which after about 24 hours hatch and release the larvae, or when the larva enters the skin through a wound or cut, proliferating in that place, being common when the person walks barefoot and has sores on the heel.

After the larva enters, the spot becomes red and slightly swollen, with a small hole in the middle, where the larva breathes, and sometimes it is possible to feel a stinging or itchy pain in the spot, for example. In addition, due to the migration of the larva and destruction of the tissue, there is the appearance of a white trail in the place, leaving the heel similar to passion fruit, hence the name passion fruit heel.

The most common is the appearance of myiasis in people with skin lesions in places with lack of sensitivity, as in the case of cholesteatomas in the middle ear, tumors or nasal ulcer-granulomatous diseases, such as leishmaniasis or leprosy, for example.

How the treatment is done

The first treatment option for the passion fruit heel is the use of antibiotics and ivermectin, to kill the larvae and facilitate their exit, in addition to preventing the occurrence of secondary infections. However, it is also possible to remove the larvae from the region by the doctor or nurse, cleaning the wound to prevent the appearance of an infection.

However, when there are many larvae or there is already a lot of dead tissue, it may be necessary to have a small surgery to remove all the larvae and eliminate the dead skin. Understand how to treat myiasis.

How to avoid catching the disease

The best way to avoid catching a disease like the passion fruit heel is not to walk barefoot in unhygienic places, which may have flies frequently, since there may be larvae eggs on the ground. However, other precautions include:

  • Avoid having exposed wounds, especially in tropical locations or with flies present;
  • Use insect repellent on the body;
  • Use fly repellent at home;
  • Clean the home floor once a week.

In addition, it is also advisable to iron clothes before using, especially when living in tropical regions and there is a risk that the fabric will come into contact with a wound. In the case of mentally ill or bedridden people who do not have autonomy in their health care, their daily care must be guaranteed, avoiding their abandonment.