ERYSIPELAS

Alternative name: streptococcal lymphangitis

What s it?

It s a skin infection usually caused by group A Streoptococcus pyogenes bacteria, but it can also be caused by other streptococci or even staphylococci.

How does it develop?

From a lesion caused by fungi (athlete s foot) between the toes, skin scratches, blisters in the feet resulting from shoes, cutting calluses or cuticle of nails, and itching an insect sting with the fingernails; patients with chronic venous insufficiency or decrease in the number of lymphatics show greater predisposition to acquiring the disease, as is the case of patients subjected to mastectomy who have lymphedema.

What does one experience?

In the incubation period, which lasts from 1 to 8 days, appear discomfort, lack of energy, headache, nausea and vomiting followed by high fever and appearance of red spots that resemble orange peel, small or large blisters, almost always located on the legs and, at times, on the face, trunk or arms.

The skin spots initially present elevation of temperature only, but soon become quite painful.

Fever usually remains for 1 to 4 days and may resolve spontaneously, causing huge prostration.

How is it diagnosed?

Laboratory tests, as a rule, are unnecessary for the diagnosis, but are important for following patient evolution.

The diagnosis is basically made by means of clinical examination.

How is it treated?

The erysipelas crisis must be treated on antibiotics, whenever possible.

One single dose is used, and then treatment is maintained for a long period in order to prevent relapses.

How to prevent it?

After bath, dry the region between the toes carefully;

wear clean socks every day, and prefer those made of cotton;

use fungicide methodically in the form of powder, spray or cream;

avoid skin lesions or improper shoes.

 

 

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