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Acute Lymphangitis - Symptoms & Treatment


Acute lymphangitis is a bacterial infection in the lymphatic vessels. Although anyone can develop acute lymphangitis, some people are more at risk. The growth of the bacteria occurs so rapidly that the immune system does not respond fast enough to stop the infection. External factors, such as puncture wounds and blisters, may lead to infection. In acute lymphangitis, bacteria enter the body through a cut, scratch, insect bite, surgical wound, or other skin injury. Acute lymphangitis affects a critical member of the immune system--the lymphatic system. Acute lymphangitis is most often caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes. A pus-filled, painful lump called an abscess may be formed in the infected area. Cellulitis, a generalized infection of the lower skin layers, may also occur. Acute lymphangitis can lead to serious problems, including metastatic infection of the organs. It is characterized by painful, red streaks below the skin surface. Acute lymphangitis follows cutaneous injury or infection and presents as a tender red streak ascending the arm or leg from a site of injury.

Causes of Acute Lymphangitis

The common causes and risk factor's of Acute Lymphangitis include the following:

  • Acute lymphangitis is most often caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes.
  • Pasteurella multocida, associated with dog and cat bites, can cause acute lymphangitis.
  • Polychythaemia.
  • Chronic myeloid leukaemia.
  • Children with diabetes, immunodeficiency, varicella, chronic steroid use, or other systemic illnesses have increased risk of developing serious or rapidly spreading acute lymphangitis.
  • Staphylococci bacteria may also cause acute lymphangitis.

Symptoms of Acute Lymphangitis

Some symptoms related to Acute Lymphangitis are as follows:

  • Headache.
  • Red blotchy skin.
  • Chills, and malaise.
  • Itching of the affected area.
  • Fever.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Heavy sensation in the limb (more so than usual).

Treatment of Acute Lymphangitis

Here is list of the methosd for treating Acute Lymphangitis:

  • The only treatment for acute lymphangitis is to give very large doses of an antibiotic, usually penicillin, through the vein.
  • Aspirin or other medications which reduce the pain and the fever may also be given.
  • Analgesics can be used to control pain, and anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce inflammation and swelling. Hot, moist compresses also help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Surgical drainage of an abscess may be necessary.

 

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