Patient's Complete Guide to Erysipelas
Overview of Erysipelas
Erysipelas (Turkhbada Jildi Marz / ترخبادہ جلدی مرض) is a rare skin disorder. It is an infection of the upper layer of skin (superficial layer). It is also defined as superficial cellulitis with dermal lymphatic involvement.
It is also known as St.Anthony’s Fire because of the intense rash associated with it.
The most common cause is group A streptococcal bacteria, especially Streptococcus pyogenes. A fiery red rash with raised edges is the indication of erysipelas with the skin being warm to the touch.
Erysipelas was found to affect only the face, but recent studies have concluded that almost 80% of cases involve rash on the leg, (and sometimes arms and trunk.)
The most common cause of erysipelas is found in infants and adults but it can affect any age group. 2 out of 10,000 people are affected every year by this condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Erysipelas
The most common symptoms of erysipelas are:
- Bright red, firm and swollen skin surface
- Rash with sharp, red and raised edges
- Swollen glands
Causes of Erysipelas
It is a bacterial infection that can be caused by:
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Escherichia coli
- Haemophilus influenzae
- S. warneri, Streptococcus pneumoniae
- S. pyogenes, and Moraxella species
- Methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA]
Risk Factors of Erysipelas
Possible risk factors for this disorder are:
- Immune deficiency
- Current or prior injury including trauma and surgery and infection
- Nasopharyngeal infection
- Nephrotic syndrome
- History of erysipelas
- Immunity compromised due to diabetes, alcoholism, obesity etc
- Skin ulcers
Health Complications of Erysipelas
If left untreated erysipelas can cause the following complications:
Bacterial invasion can cause serious disruption in the lymphatic system. The person may suffer from lymph buildup in the body. It also increases the chances of erysipelas.
Formations of pus-filled cavities on various skin regions all over the body.
From the invasion, the bacteria may travel in the blood. This can also cause serious joint, bone and cardiac issues.
Facial erysipelas can lead to this serious medical condition.
At the same affected site, recurrent infections can occur.
Bacterial infection can change blood composition.
The blood flow is interrupted to the major organs. This is a fatal medical condition because it can result in organ damage.
Severe cases can result in kidney damage.
Steps that can be taken to lower the risk of erysipelas are:
- Moisturize the skin daily
- Keep wounds clean
- Treat skin infections or disorders promptly
- Don't scratch the skin
Treatment of Erysipelas | When to Consult a Doctor
Following treatments can be done to effectively lessen and treat erysipelas:
- Cold packs and analgesics to relieve local discomfort
- Elevation of an infected limb to reduce local swelling
- Compression stockings
- Wound care with saline dressings that are frequently changed
- Oral or IV penicillin
- In case of penicillin allergy, erythromycin, roxithromycin, or pristinamycin is given
- For MRSA, Vancomycin is given
Erysipelas resembles other rashes closely. Therefore, you need to visit a dermatologist to get yourself treated.