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Necrotizing Fasciitis


Necrotizing fasciitis

is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly and destroys skin, fat, and muscle. It is also known as flesh-eating bacteria. Necrotizing fasciitis is a life-threatening infection that must be treated immediately.

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Redness, swelling, and severe pain
  • Sores or blisters that ooze
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, nausea, and muscle pain
  • Fatigue, lightheadedness, and fainting

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a fever and a new wound with redness, swelling, or pain.
  • You have flu-like symptoms within 24 hours of an injury.
  • You have dark blisters near your wound that drain black fluid.
  • The area around your wound is numb.
  • The skin around your wound becomes discolored or flaky.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a sore throat.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for necrotizing fasciitis

may include any of the following:

  • Medicines help treat your infection and reduce your pain.
  • Surgery may be needed to remove dead tissue and help prevent the spread of your infection. You may need surgery to relieve pressure, or a skin graft to reconstruct the infection site. Limb amputation may be needed to save your life.
  • Hyperbaric therapy may be used to decrease swelling and increase wound healing.
  • Wound vacuum therapy may be used to help stop bacteria from spreading and increase wound healing.

Physical therapy (PT):

You may need physical therapy to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. PT also helps to promote blood flow and prevent clots.

Prevent another infection:

  • Clean all wounds immediately. Use soap and water to clean even small breaks in your skin, such as minor cuts or blisters. Cover the wounds with a sterile bandage.
  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, cough, sneeze, or blow your nose. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.
  • Limit your exposure to bacteria. Avoid people who are sick and have a sore throat. The bacteria that cause strep throat can also cause necrotizing fasciitis.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Necrotizing Fasciitis (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex