Red wind – erysipelas

Red wind or erysipelas is an acute infectious skin disease which is caused by bacteria in the streptococcus family (streptococcus beta hemolytic group A), which enters the skin through small epithelium injuries. It usually occurs at the feet or on the head. The disease is manifested by sharply bordered red swelling of the skin and general infection signs. Factors that can contribute to the development of the disease are excessive alcohol consumption, malnutrition and systemic diseases of the organism.

How is the disease transmitted?

Erysipelas is transmitted only by direct contact with the infected person. The incubation last from three to four days.

What is the course of the disease?

In most patients, there is a rapid increase in body temperature, which can go up to 40°C, with intense fewer. Also, at the same time general malaise, headache, sickness and an urge to vomit are present. After 12 to 24 hours there is an itch and straining of the skin in the affected area, and after 24 hours there is an intense redness, which spreads and rises from the skin. The area of the skin that is caught in the red wind is warm, tense, tight, shiny, with clearly strained edges, extremely red and painful.
If you talk to the doctor in time, you will be given adequate treatment, the temperature goes away after seven days and the stain on the skin becomes less red and pronounced. With the use of therapy other symptoms of the disease disappear.

Are there other types of disease?

Besides the typical red wind – erysipelas, there are also the attenuated, migrating and relapsing types of the disease.

Attenuated erysipelas

Attenuated erysipelas has a limited expansion of lesions and less general nuisances such as headache or sickness.

Migrating erysipelas

Migrating erysipelas, as its name suggests, is characterized by expanding skin lesions, followed by temperature.

Relapsing erysipelas

Relapsing erysipelas is characterized by creation of new red spots in certain time spans, after curing the ones before.

How is the diagnosis established?

The diagnosis is established by the dermatologist by examining the characteristics of the skin lesion, frequency of the phenomenon and the symptoms that follow it. Also, the diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory blood analysis. If the blood analysis results in a severe leukocytosis, speeded up sedimentation and fibrinogen, it is a sign that a disease is present in the patient.

How is the disease cured?

Treating erysipelas is done by antibiotics, and penicillin is the most effective antibiotic in the therapy which needs to be administered as soon as possible, in order to avoid heavier infection and spreading to other organs. If the patient is allergic to penicillin, therapy can be administered by using other antibiotics or sulfonamides.

Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade – Serbia