Erysipelas (erysipelas) is a skin disease caused by bacteria (A streptococci or ß-hemolytic streptococci). This leads to typical inflammation of the skin and highly visible reddening of the skin. A erysipelas usually occurs on the leg or face and is often accompanied by a strong fever.
What is erysipelas?
The erysipelas, known in medical terms as erysipelas and popularly as erysipelas, describes a reddening of the skin. This is sharply defined and clearly recognizable, it takes the form of a flame on the skin. For meaning of dcis in English, please visit sportingology.com.
A erysipelas develops when bacteria nest in minimal wounds and the area becomes inflamed – the uppermost layers of skin and the lymphatic vessels are usually affected.
The erysipelas is particularly common on the legs, arms or face, where it can appear anywhere. The redness or erysipelas is also found less frequently in the area of the navel.
The causative agent of erysipelas (erysipelas) are bacteria. These are mostly ß-hemolytic streptococci. These dissolve human red blood cells. Occasionally, other bacteria are also responsible for erysipelas, such as staphylococci or rods.
The bacteria enter through small wounds that develop in the top layer of skin. These can be caused, for example, by athlete’s foot or neurodermatitis, which means that you hardly notice them. When erysipelas breaks out, the responsible wound can often no longer be found because it is so small and heals quickly. Other portals of entry for the erysipelas pathogen are larger wounds, such as fissures ( rhagade ), which give access to the top layer of skin.
As soon as the pathogens have found an entry portal, they can nest around the wound and start multiplying. This is how ultimately the erysipelas develops.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
In most cases, the first signs of erysipelas appear on the legs or lower legs. Less commonly, symptoms appear on the arms or face (facial erythema). Typical features of erysipelas are reddish foci of inflammation on the skin. The deep red areas show a sharp boundary to healthy skin areas in the immediate vicinity.
Shape and course do not follow a clear pattern and appear very irregular. In advanced and deep-seated erysipelas, the inflammation loses its characteristic contour and flows more gently into the surrounding skin. In addition to pronounced swelling, those affected also suffer from increased pressure sensitivity in the diseased area. By laying on the hand, a significant increase in temperature due to infectious processes is noticeable.
Lymph nodes in the immediate vicinity react to erysipelas by becoming painfully enlarged. Typical symptoms such as fever over 39° Celsius, chills, joint problems or great exhaustion accompany the symptoms with varying intensity. Patients complain about impairments, which in many cases are reminiscent of a budding flu.
In the case of recurring erysipelas, general symptoms such as a feeling of weakness and tiredness fade into the background. In return, the relapse leads to the development of lymphedema due to damaged lymphatic vessels. Severe cases provoke a rampant infection with dying tissue. In addition to circulatory shock due to blood poisoning, inflammation of the heart and the development of meningitis are also possible.
Course of the disease
First, the bacterial pathogens of erysipelas (erysipelas) enter the body through the wound. The incubation period is about 2 to 5 days. The wound may have healed within this time – it depends on its size.
The first symptoms of erysipelas appear suddenly. The affected person initially suffers from fever, accompanied by severe chills. The erysipelas itself only becomes visible a few hours after the first symptoms appear. The skin at this stage reddens, the redness spreads quickly. It is characterized by its crimson color and is usually flame-shaped.
The development of erysipelas can be so slight that only a few red dots can be seen on the skin – but it can also be much more pronounced. The inflamed area gradually swells up clearly and visibly. In some severe cases, blisters form that can bleed. These are called bullous erysipelas.
If erysipelas is treated too late or not adequately, various complications can threaten, especially in people with a weakened immune system or other diseases. The inflammation can clog the lymphatic system, which means that the lymphatic fluid cannot drain properly and builds up in the tissue (lymphedema). Because the affected tissue is not optimally supplied with nutrients, there is a risk that individual streptococci survive, multiply and cause erysipelas again.
If the course is severe or treatment is inadequate, severe swelling can occur and encourage elephantiasis with severely swollen legs. Inflammation of the surrounding veins can also occur. In rare cases, there is a risk of life-threatening sepsis if bacteria enter the bloodstream.
In the kidneys, erysipelas can also lead to complications if antibodies are formed in the body because they are mistaken for streptococci due to their similarities. Very dangerous, although rare, is facial erythema, in which bacteria can get into the brain and cause meningitis or cerebral vein thrombosis there. A erysipelas has the disadvantage that it occurs again and again and can also become chronic.
When should you go to the doctor?
Changes in the appearance of the skin are basically a sign that there are discrepancies in the organism. If the abnormalities persist for several days or weeks or if they are increasing in character, a doctor should be consulted. Reddening of the skin, itching or pain are causes for concern. To avoid complications or secondary diseases, a doctor should be consulted at the first indication.
If the affected person suffers from inflammation of the skin, it is advisable to immediately clarify the cause. Medical care is required in the case of fever, tiredness, inner weakness, exhaustion and a decrease in physical strength. If the general performance of the person concerned is reduced, he should seek help.
Swelling of the lymph and flu-like symptoms should also be presented to a doctor. In the event of rapid and progressive changes in general health, there is an acute need for action. If your well-being deteriorates rapidly within a short period of time, you should go to a hospital. If left untreated and if the disease progresses unfavorably, the affected person can become life-threatening.
He can suffer from blood poisoning due to the symptoms, which can be fatal. If edema develops or if the affected person suffers from emotional stress due to the changed complexion, a doctor’s visit is necessary. Joint complaints, restricted mobility and chills should also be examined.
Treatment & Therapy
Depending on the severity of the erysipelas (erysipelas), patients are treated differently. Some are given medication under the supervision of their family doctor, while others have to be hospitalized. Once the erysipelas becomes bullous erysipelas, the patient is hospitalized. There he receives strong antibiotics in particularly high doses to kill the erysipelas pathogens.
Penicillin or cephalosporins are often administered intravenously. When a blistering erysipelas heals, scars can remain on the skin; patients who have had an operated heart valve are at risk. For milder forms of erysipelas without impairment, it is sufficient to prescribe the antibiotics in tablet form. In any case, the cause of the erysipelas must be treated in order to avoid a recurring infection.
The erysipelas is a serious infection that should definitely be treated by a doctor. The patient must follow the doctor’s orders and take the prescribed medication – mostly antibiotics – regularly. Adequate rest periods and rest are important for the healing process.
Stress should be avoided as far as possible and those affected should avoid stimulants such as cigarettes and alcohol as far as possible. A healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables provides the necessary vitamins and minerals to bring the patient back to strength. If the person concerned feels better, moderate exercise can be started.
Long walks outdoors are helpful, as they have a positive effect on physical condition and stimulate the immune system. The immune system should definitely be strengthened in order to be able to successfully fight off the infection. The erysipelas can be associated with blistering as it progresses.
To prevent unsightly scars from forming, especially in the case of facial erythema, the affected areas of the skin should be carefully cared for as the healing process progresses. The doctor treating you can recommend appropriate care products. The patient can then carefully apply and massage in the creams or ointments themselves to keep the tissue supple and thus prevent scarring.
Home remedies & herbs for reddening of the skin
- Make an infusion with 100 grams of fennel herbs. Adding this to the bath reduces redness and has a relaxing effect.
You can do that yourself
In most cases, the patient is already receiving medical treatment when it becomes known that the skin disease is erysipelas. It is then important that the patient understands that this is a serious infection and that the doctor’s instructions must be followed as a matter of urgency.
During the time in which the patient is taking the appropriate medication – mostly antibiotics – he should take it easy and make sure he has sufficient rest and sleep times. In addition, the patient should avoid stress and refrain from stimulants such as alcohol and cigarettes. A healthy diet supports recovery. Fresh fruit and vegetables bring many vitamins and minerals. In addition, light, lean meat and whole grain products are recommended. On the one hand, the food should bring the patient back to strength, but on the other hand it should not burden him. Fast food is not suitable for this. As soon as the patient feels reasonably fit, exercise is advisable, preferably outdoors. Long walks bring the condition back and stimulate the immune system, which should support the healing process.
If the erysipelas was accompanied by blistering, it can be carefully cared for during the healing process so that no scars form. The dermatologist will recommend appropriate scar creams or ointments. They should be massaged in regularly, but with extreme caution, so that on the one hand the wound is not excessively pulled and rubbed, but on the other hand the tissue is kept supple.