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General Practice 2023

Treatment for erysipelas: antibiotics and ointments

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Treatment for erysipelas: antibiotics and ointments
Treatment for erysipelas: antibiotics and ointments

The treatment of erysipelas can be carried out through the use of antibiotics in the form of pills, syrups or injections prescribed by the doctor, for about 10 to 14 days, in addition to care such as rest and elevation of the affected limb to help deflate the region.

When the erysipelas is not severe, the treatment can be done at home, but there are situations in which it is necessary to be admitted to the hospital with the application of antibiotics directly into the vein, as in cases of very large lesions or that affect sensitive areas, like the face, for example.

Erysipelas is a skin infection that causes red, inflamed, painful lesions that can develop blisters and purplish areas, most commonly caused by a bacteria called Streptcoccus pyogenes.Despite being more common in people over 50 years of age and obese, erysipelas can affect anyone, especially when there is chronic swelling or the presence of sores on the skin. Learn more about what causes and how to identify erysipelas.

Antibiotics for Erysipelas

Treatment for erysipelas lasts for about 10 to 14 days, and antibiotics that your doctor may prescribe include:

  • Penicillins;
  • Amoxicillin;
  • Cefazolin;
  • Cefalexin;
  • Ceftriaxone;
  • Oxacillin.

For those who are allergic to Penicillin, the doctor may indicate other options such as Erythromycin, Clarithromycin or Clindamycin.

It is very important to follow the treatment strictly to avoid the appearance of complications, such as chronic lymphedema or recurrent erysipelas.

Ointment for erysipelas

In case of bullous erysipelas, in which a moist lesion is formed, with bubbles and transparent content, topical antimicrobial treatment, such as 2% fusidic acid or 1% argent sulfadiazine, can be associated with the treatment..

When it is necessary to stay in the hospital

There are situations that can become more serious and pose a risk to the person's he alth, and, in these cases, it is recommended that the patient remains hospitalized, with the use of antibiotics in the vein, and more careful monitoring. Situations that indicate hospitalization are:

  • Elderly;
  • Presence of severe lesions, with blisters, areas of necrosis, bleeding or loss of sensation;
  • Presence of signs and symptoms that indicate the severity of the disease, such as a drop in blood pressure, mental confusion, agitation or decreased amount of urine;
  • Presence of other serious illnesses such as heart failure, compromised immunity, decompensated diabetes, liver failure or advanced lung diseases, for example.

In these cases, antibiotics are indicated that can be applied in the vein and, in some cases, with greater potency, such as Cefazolin, Teicoplanin or Vancomycin, for example, which are indicated by the doctor depending on the needs of each patient.

Home care options

During the treatment of erysipelas, some attitudes that can help recovery include keeping the affected limb elevated, which facilitates venous return and reduces swelling.

It is also recommended to rest during recovery, stay well hydrated, and keep the edges of the wound clean and dry. You should avoid putting homemade ointments or other substances not indicated by the doctor in the region, as they can interfere with the treatment and even worsen the injury.

How to prevent Erysipelas

To prevent erysipelas, it is necessary to reduce or treat conditions that increase your risk, such as losing weight in the case of obesity and treating conditions that cause chronic swelling of the limbs, such as heart failure or venous insufficiency. If wounds appear on the skin, keep them clean and dry to avoid contamination with bacteria.

For people who have erysipelas that appears repeatedly, the doctor may indicate the use of antibiotics to prevent new infections, with Penicillin or Erythromycin, for example.

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