Erysipelas, also referred to as St. Anthony’s Fire, is a bacterial skin infection that is common among young children and the elderly. People who have immune deficiencies, alcohol dependency, skin ulcerations, diabetes, mellitus or those with chronic swelling of the limbs are at increased risk. Erysipelas is usually found on the face or the legs. It initially occurs as a sudden fever, fatigue, headaches and vomiting within 48 hours of infection. Soon after, the skin is affected, resulting in reddening and heating of the cheeks, and a swollen and hardened rash. Blisters and lesions with raised borders can occur in more severe cases. The infection is most often caused by streptococcus bacteria. Erysipelas is typically treated with antibiotics. Recurrence happens to about 1 in 3 people who have this condition.
Common symptoms of erysipelas include: Sudden fever Reddening and heating of the cheeks Affected skin has a well defined, raised border Skin red, swollen and may have many fine dimples, like the skin of an orange
Erysipelas is primarily caused by a specific type of streptococcus bacteria known as Group A beta haemolytic streptococci (Streptococcus pyogenes). In a few cases, other streptococcal groups are responsible for the infection.
It is important for people with erysipelas to treat their skin gently to avoid further irritation.A twice daily cleansing of your skin is recommended to remove oils, makeup and impurities. Cleansing will also provide a cooling effect that can calm your skin and temporarily relieve sensations of burning and itching.Selecting a gentle, mild skin cleanser that does not contain irritating ingredients, such as fragrances and preservatives, is essential.Using a daily moisturizer will keep your skin healthy and prevent it from drying out. Look for a moisturizer with water-based ingredients. This will help keep the skin hydrated without irritating it.Immediately stop using any product if you notice sensitive reactions such as increased burning, itching, stinging and redness.
Keeping the skin clean is helpful in preventing erysipelas. Use antibacterial soaps and sanitizing hand lotions to cleanse the skin of excess bacteria. Avoid cuts and scrapes, which provide an entry point for the bacteria. If you have an open wound, make sure to properly dress and clean it periodically to prevent infection. Use adequate sun protection to limit cold sores, which may be an entry point for the bacteria.
Over-the-counter antibacterial cleansers and moisturizers will keep the skin clean and hydrated, which can help prevent erysipelas infections. When undergoing treatment for bacteria, regular hand washing is extremely important, and will reduce the chance of spreading the infection.Antibacterial products such as Hibitane®, Tersaseptic®, and Trisan® can kill bacteria as well as products like Safe4Hours®. They can last for up to four hours, and form a part of your treatment. If you suspect a bacterial infection, it’s important to see your doctor before it becomes severe.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, it is very important that the medicines be completed even after the infection appears to have healed, as bacterial resistance is a serious problem if they are not eliminated entirely from the body.Erysipelas infections are treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, dicloxacillin, cephalosporins, clindamycin, and erythromycin. In most cases, erysipelas is treated with oral antibiotics. However, cases of sepsis, or infections that do not improve with oral antibiotics, may require intravenous antibiotics administered in the hospital.
- Antibacterial Cleansers