What is necrotizing fasciitis?
Necrotizing fasciitis (a.k.a. flesh eating infection) is a very rare bacterial skin infection that kills the body’s soft tissue. It spreads quickly, and it is very serious. It is caused by a number of different bacterium including group A strep and staph.
How is necrotizing fasciitis spread?
Nectorizing fasciitis spreads when the bacteria infects fascia, which is the tissue that surrounds muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels. The toxins made by this bacteria infect the tissue and causes the skin to die. It can result in loss of limbs or death.
Can necrotizing fasciitis be spread from person-to-person?
Most cases of necrotizing fasciitis begins randomly from bacteria entering some type of wound. It is very rare for necrotizing fasciitis to spread from person-to-person.
Who is at risk for necrotizing fasciitis?
Most people who get necrotizing fasciitis have other health problems that are associated with the disease. Healthy people who practice good hygiene and wound care will very rarely get the infection. At risk people include those with:
- Kidney disease
- Weakened immune systems
What are the symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis?
Symptoms can often be confusing, because they can be similar to other diseases and infections. Symptoms usually begin within hours after getting a wound. If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Symptoms include:
- Pain or soreness, similar to a pulled muscle
- Warm skin, with purple-red areas of swelling
- Ulcers, blisters, or black spots on the skin
- Severe pain at site of injury
How is necrotizing fasciitis treated?
Prompt treatment is absolutely necessary to prevent the infection from becoming very serious. Hospitalization will be necessary. A patient will first be given a round of antibiotics through an IV. However, the medication normally will not reach all of the infected areas. Surgery will be required to remove dead skin and stop the infection.
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