Necrotizing fasciitis (NF), commonly known as flesh-eating disease, is a rare but dangerous bacterial infection that causes the death of the body’s soft tissues. It is a chronic disease that spreads rapidly. The bacteria mostly enter through cuts or wounds. People of lower immunity are at a higher risk of contracting this dangerous disease. Sepsis, organ failure, and even death are outcomes if the infection is not treated immediately. An infection can happen when:
- Bacteria enter the body through broken skin caused by pokes (for example, from a thorn or needle), insect bites, scratches, cuts, or other wounds. This is the most usual way of getting necrotizing fasciitis.
- A cut in the skin cannot be found in people with this condition. Bacteria present elsewhere in the body may enter the bloodstream and cause an infection.
- While this condition usually develops via bacteria already present in your body or on your skin, it may also spread from a person who has necrotizing fasciitis in rare cases.
People with this condition usually begin to experience these symptoms within hours of an injury. The symptoms are explained below:
- INTENSE PAIN – When one experiences a severe pain that is disproportionate to the size or extent of a wound or cut, they should immediately seek professional medical help. As the infection aggravates and nerves and tissues get destroyed, the pain will drastically increase.
- SWELLING, DISCOLORATION AND BLISTERS – One may notice that the affected area is warm when touched. There will be purplish or reddish discoloration which spreads rapidly. One may also notice dark spots on the skin.
- FEVER AND FLU LIKE SYMPTOMS – One may experience symptoms such as fever, nausea, stomach ache, diarrhea, chills, body aches and sore throat.
- CONFUSION, DIZZINESS AND FATIGUE – If necrotizing fasciitis is not treated, the infection can rapidly spread and affect important organs.
People with necrotizing fasciitis need to be hospitalized. The treatments for this condition are enlisted below.
- ANTIBIOTICS – Strong antibiotics are normally monitored intravenously to tackle the infection.
- SURGERY – The bacteria involved in necrotizing fasciitis is often anaerobic, which is, surviving when there is no oxygen. Therefore, exposure to air via surgery may aid in killing them. In addition to that, antibiotics might not be able to treat all infected parts if soft tissue has been destroyed and blood flow reduced by toxins. Hence, surgery is frequently required to remove dead tissue.
- REHABILITATION AND PHYSICAL THERAPY – In a few cases, affected limbs may need to be amputated. People may need rehabilitation support in order to get used to the disability.
- SUPPORTIVE TREATMENT – This may comprise of measures to control your fluid levels, organ functions, and blood pressure