Necrotizing fasciitis, or “flesh-eating bacteria”, can cause a serious infection that can lead to loss of limb and loss of life. It can affect persons of any age and without warning. Although the bacteria usually enters the body through a cut or open wound, it can also happen for unknown reasons. This was the case with Cindy, the young United States Marine (see link below).
What is necrotizing fasciitis?
Necrotizing fasciitis is a serious bacterial infection of your skin, tendons, muscles, and fascia layers. Necrotizing fasciitis is a rapidly spreading infection and requires immediate treatment. It is most commonly spread through open cuts or wounds. It can also occur following severe trauma. Systemic symptoms include nausea, vomitting, fever, chills, and diarrhea. The initial site of infection will be red, swollen, warm to touch, and frequently begins with blisters. These signs will rapidly begin to spread.
Risk factors for necrotizing fasciitis:
How is necrotizing fasciitis treated?
If you experience any of the above mentioned symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. Initial treatment includes intravenous antibiotics. Following this, a surgical incision and drainage is necessary to drain the infection from the deeper lays of the body. Once the surgery is complete, a dressing will be applied, but the surgical wound will be left open to allow the infection to continue to drain. After several days, if the infection is cleared, the surgical wound will be closed. In cases where closure is not possible, additional procedures, such as skin grafts, may be necessary.
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