Erysipelas is an infection that affects the top layer of skin, known as the dermis. The infection is caused by bacteria that can create painful lesions and sores. When these sores are left untreated, they can expose the body to more dangerous infections or permanent scarring. Erysipelas is curable, so if you suspect you have it, you should seek treatment as quickly as possible.
Skin is the first line of defense for our immune systems, which is why it is important to be aware of its condition and state of health. If you suspect you have symptoms of erysipelas, schedule a visit with our Mt. Vernon, IL office. Dermatologists are uniquely equipped to assess skin rashes and infections, and they can provide essential prescriptions when necessary.
What Causes Erysipelas?
The bacteria that causes this infection, streptococcus, can enter the body through an injury, such as an animal or insect bite, bed sores, or wounds. It is also possible for this infection to affect an area of skin with a preexisting condition, such as eczema or other infections that leave the skin cracked, broken, and vulnerable.
What Does Erysipelas Look Like?
Erysipelas is caused by the streptococcus bacteria, a common bacterium found in many environments. Because it is so prevalent, it can affect both children and adults. This infection sets in quickly and causes noticeable changes in the appearance and texture of skin. The infection presents in such a unique way that your doctor can likely provide a diagnose by appearance alone. Symptoms are most commonly found on the delicate skin of the face and on the legs. If you suspect you have this infection, check yourself for:
- Skin that has become warm, red, swollen, or painful to the touch
- Hives-like wounds with raised borders
- Sores on the cheeks and bridge of the nose
- Red lines emanating from the affected area
Remember that this infection is easily curable with a visit to the doctor. Visiting the Skin Care Center of Southern Illinois can both relieve symptoms and prevent the condition from returning.
If you suspect you have this infection, there’s good news: It’s easily curable. That said, the sooner treatment begins, the better. Erysipelas treatment generally includes a prescription of oral antibiotics, like penicillin. In addition to using the full course of antibiotics, there are some strategies for pain relief that might be helpful during the recovery period. These include:
- Using cool compresses on the affected area
- Elevating the affected area, especially the legs and head
- Caring for the areas of your body prone to drying out or cracking
- Treating and preventing preexisting conditions so that they do not leave your body vulnerable to disease
- Taking anti-inflammatory pain medication
Visiting the Doctor for Erysipelas Treatment
This infection may present in a range of ways that are unique to your body. In most cases, your doctor or dermatologist will be able to quickly diagnose the condition, often with no tissue samples required. However, if left untreated, the condition can worsen or spread deeper into your skin, requiring more aggressive treatment. If you suspect that you or your child has erysipelas, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our medical dermatologists.