I feel it is important to have an understanding of the various types of infections that we face with lymphedema. These infections include cellulitis, lymphangitis, and erysipelas. An extensive list follows below.
One must remember that every infection we have further damages our lymphatics, thus leading to more severe lymphedema. Untreated infection will lead to sepsis (commonly refered to as blood poisoning), gangrene which involves loss of limb and/or eventual death.
In treating any type of infection, the doctor not only must identify the type of bacteria involved, but must understand the staging of lymphedema and the differences in the tissue types of the stages.
Heavily fibrotic lymphedema limbs are exceedingly difficult to treat because the denseness of the tissue impeeds or even can prevent the chosen antibiotic from reaching the bacteria. In this situation long term IV antibiotic thereapy should be considered.
See also: Preventing Hospital Infections
I will be doing posts on all the related infections. We need to remember (as does the doctor), that a limb with lymphedema is a localized immunosuppressed area, which means in practical terms that any infection has the potential of agressive spread and can quickly become life threatening.
The most common bacterial infections that lymphedema patients have difficulties with includes:
Necrotizing Fascilitis (Flesh eating bacteria)
Other important related pages relating to infections include:
Lymphadenopathy - Information on swollen lymph nodes
Blisters - Improper care of a simple boil can lead to severe consequences.
These pages give helpful information relating to treatment, prevention, and doctr care:
Antibiotics - Everyone should also have an updated list of medicines, doses and doctors prescribing the medicine.
Probiotics - Helpful in replacing the "good" bacteria that antibiotics kill.
Infectious Disease Doctor - The type of doctor who is best trained to treat and understand infections. I recommend that we all have one.
Feb 14 ,2012