Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare infection that kills skin, fat, and muscles. It is also called "flesh-eating" bacteria. It usually affects the legs and arms. It can cause scarring and can lead to amputation and death.
This condition is treated in a hospital. Treatment includes antibiotics and supportive care. Surgery is usually needed to remove dead or infected tissue, stop the spread of infection, and repair damage. Sometimes people are placed in a chamber with high levels of oxygen. This is called a hyperbaric chamber. It helps the tissue heal.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Take your medicine exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
- If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
- Most people who get this condition are in good health before they get infected. You can lower your risk of infection by giving proper care to skin wounds.
- Keep all wounds clean. This includes cuts, burns, sores, and bites.
- If you strain a muscle or sprain a joint and get a fever, chills, and severe pain, seek medical care right away. These may be signs of deep soft tissue infection.
- If you have severe pain and swelling and a fever, do not treat these with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. These medicines may keep you from seeing a doctor quickly when you really need to.
When should you call for help?
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have worse symptoms of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the area.
- Pus draining from the area.
- A fever.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You do not get better as expected.
Where can you learn more?
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