Erysipelas is a bacterial infection in the upper layer of the skin. It is similar to another skin disorder known as cellulitis, which is an infection in. Erysipelas is a form of cellulitis that affects only the top layers of the skin. In this article, learn about its causes and how to prevent outbreaks. Its well-defined margin can help differentiate it from other skin infections (eg, cellulitis). See the image below. (See Clinical Presentation.).

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However, the two conditions can overlap, which can make it hard for a doctor to tell the two conditions apart. Previously, doctors thought that erysipelas only affected the face, but the National Organization for Rare Disorders now estimate that around 80 percent of all cases occur on the legs.

It can also appear on the arms and torso. Often, a person will feel unwell before visible signs of erysipelas appear on the skin. Symptoms can include feverschills, shivering, and high temperature. The skin is then usually affected in a particular area and can appear in one of the following ways:. These signs and symptoms are often quite abrupt and can develop in just a few hours or days.

Pre-existing skin conditions that break the surface of the skin also increase the chances of getting erysipelas. Other conditions can xellulite increase the likelihood of a person getting erysipelas.

These do not always affect the skin directly, and include:. Some medications can weaken the immune system and lead to erysipelas. cellylite

Erysipelas: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

These medications include some cancer drugs and medication commonly used after organ transplants. Anyone can get erysipelas, but it most commonly affects infants and adults over the age of In general, a doctor will be able to diagnose erysipelas by the appearance and symptoms of the affected area.


This is because the symptoms of erysipelas tend to cellulitte only with this particular condition. The person’s medical history, highlighting previous injuries or surgery, will often suggest the possible cause as well. Doctors may carry out a blood test if there are any signs of systemic infection, such as bacteria in the blood bacteremia. However, the identification of bacteria is not always possible, even in a laboratory.

In some cases of deep infection, a magnetic resonance imaging MRI or computed tomography CT scan is necessary. It is important to start treatment as early as possible to limit the chance of further complications.

The exact type will depend on what germ is causing the problem, but it will often contain penicillin. It is therefore essential that anyone who is allergic to penicillin tell their doctor before starting treatment so that they can prescribe other medications, such as erythromycin or cephalexin. People with erysipelas will typically take celluljte by mouth for between 7 and 14 days.

In more severe cases, the drugs will be put directly into the skin via a drip.

There are also other ways to help relieve pain and discomfort and speed up the healing process, such as:. Signs of a fever and illness associated with erysipelas will often disappear within a few days of starting treatment, although the skin infection can take weeks to clear up. There is no scarring. About one third of those who receive treatment for erysipelas develop the condition erisipelz. When this happens, a long-term course of medication can be prescribed to treat it.

It is important that the person sees their doctor as early as possible if they have any concerns about repeat attacks. If other conditions have contributed to the attack, such as eczema, athlete’s foot, or diabetes, then treating those conditions properly can help prevent further outbreaks of erysipelas.

Erysipelas and cellulitis: Overview – Informed Health Online – NCBI Bookshelf

Treating breaks to the skin swiftly can also help. Likewise, if being overweight or having bad circulation contributed to the infection developing, a change in lifestyle and diet can often help limit the chances of erysipelas returning. Article last reviewed by Sun 18 June Visit our Dermatology category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Dermatology.

All references are available in the References tab. White blood cell count. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.


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Register take the tour. Erysipelas causes the skin to appear red, swollen, and shiny.

A blood test can reveal raised levels of white blood cells, which can erisipea damage caused by an infection. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can help relieve discomfort. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled. Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.

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