How Should I Treat a Leg Infection?

by Anthony Carter on June 27, 2011


If your leg appears to be infected you will want to do something about it. Ignoring the problem can be a huge mistake because even a minor infection can become serious if left untreated. The type of treatment required will always depend on the exact nature of the infection.  It will also depend on whether it is the skin, lymph nodes, or bone that is infected.

Cellulites

Cellulites is the most common type of leg infection. This most often appears in the lower leg, but it can be found elsewhere as well. In a lot of instances this infection will have been caused by bacteria of the streptococcus variety. The cells just below the skin are the ones that tend to get infected and this will be noticeable as pain, inflammation, and hotness. Cellulites will most often occur as a result of a simple cut. This break in the skin does not need to be large for bacteria to get below the surface. Once these germs are there the body launches the inflammatory response to combat them and it is this that causes the symptoms. As well as cellulites infecting the skin it may also infect the lymph nodes as well.

The usual way to treat cellulites is to take antibiotics. This will of course mean a trip to the doctor’s surgery in order to get the medication prescribed. In most instances the inflammation should subside after about a week. Oral antibiotics will usually be enough to deal with the problem but if this doesn’t work it may be necessary to have intravenous antibiotics – this will probably involve a stay in hospital. Doctors will be able to prescribe some other medications to help deal with any discomfort caused by the cellulites.

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is another condition that is caused by a bacterial infection. This can be far more serious than cellulites because in this instance the bone is infected. The treatment for this condition will almost always involve a stay in hospital. Before any treatment can commence it may be necessary to take a sample of the bone tissue to find out what type of bacteria is responsible for the symptoms. Once the type of bacteria is established it will then be a case of providing the most suitable intravenous antibiotics. If a lot of pus builds up inside the leg it may be necessary for this to be drained.

MRSA

MRSA infections are on the rise and this is bad news for all of us. This type of infection is notoriously hard to treat because it is resistant to a lot of antibiotics. A simple MRSA infection can develop into something a lot more serious if it is not dealt with. An infection in the skin can develop to infect the bone and blood stream. The usual way to treat this infection is to provide intravenous antibiotics such as Vancomycin – worryingly there is now some bacteria that has grown resistant to this antibiotic as well.

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