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Necrotizing Fasciitis­ - Symptoms of Necrotizing Fasciitis

Necrotizing Fasciitis is a rare and frightening skin infection.  This is caused when bacteria enters into a break in the skin.  There are two types of bacteria that cause gangrene—the bacteria, which use oxygen (aerobic), and the anaerobic bacteria which avoids oxygen.  In severe cases of necrotizing fasciitiis, the culprit is the deadly strain of streptococcus pyrogenes. This skin infection is always fatal and hard to cure despite use of antibiotics, advances in medical and surgical techniques, and intensive care. 

When the skin is infected, the soft tissues of the skin die rapidly.  Once the bacteria have entered the body, the bacteria grow and release poisons that directly kill tissues, interfere with the blood flow to the tissue, and eats into the soft flesh and surrounding tissues.  The bacteria spreads its toxins rapidly and the skin tissue turns  Hence, the term “necro” for death and fascia for skin tissue or necrotizing fasciitis.  

Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include severe pain and swelling on the affected area, skin discoloration (reddened, or purple) which becomes dark when the disease progresses.  Dead or decaying is visible, as the skin breaks along the infected area.  The swollen area will release pus like fluid.  The patient will experience fever and a general ill feeling.    

Patients afflicted with necrotizing fasciitis are usually adults, but children can be affected too.  In children, the infection is induced by chicken pox.  Fasciitis or inflammation of the skin tissue occurs when chicken pox pustules become infected with the bacteria.  It has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, that some 2,000-3,000 deaths have been traced to this skin infection, from some 10,000-15,000 yearly infections.  

Necrotizing Fasciitis Treatment: Treat Necrotizing Fasciitis

The best approach to managing fasciitis is early detection and treatment.  The dead tissues will be removed if necessary and strong antibiotics will be administered.  If the infection has covered an expanse of the limb or arms, amputation is the last recourse to save the patient’s life.  It is unfortunate that some physicians cannot immediately detect necrotizing fasciitis and the degree of its severity.  Because of its flu-like symptoms, it is always often too late when the infection is detected.

One should take notice and see a doctor immediately if the pain is too severe for a normal cut or wound.  The infected area is hot to the touch.  The presence of severe pain in the groin should also alert people who are experiencing similar symptoms.  Be wary of small but painful cuts or bumps that may later progress to gangrene.  It is better to be overly cautious, because once necrotizing fasciitis has set, the damage is irreversible.  The infection can cause multiple organ failure and death.

To prevent the spread of infection, one must know the symptoms of the disease.  This can save one’s life or painful dismemberment.  Other tips to prevent necrotizing fasciitis are   non-sharing of personal stuff, syringes, and rinsing water.  It is best to keep the skin intact.