Necrotizing fasciitis can result in anyone. This bacterial infection is known as a flesh-eating disease that commonly spreads quickly through the tissue that surrounds the muscles. If left untreated without medical evaluation, necrotizing fasciitis can become potentially deadly within twelve to twenty-four hours.
The risk of getting necrotizing fasciitis is rare, but it is something that should not be taken lightly. People with weakened immune systems, chronic health conditions, chickenpox, or those that have an injury to the skin, such as cuts, scrapes, or a surgical wound are more prone to acquiring necrotizing fasciitis. HealthLinkBC shares that even though there may not be a break in the skin, necrotizing fasciitis can develop from a muscle strain or bruise.
There are different types of necrotizing fasciitis. DermNet NZ goes into depth about each type: type one necrotizing fasciitis is caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Hemophilus, Vibrio, and several other aerobic and anaerobic strains (Escherichia coli, Bacteroides fragilis). This type of necrotizing fasciitis will occur more often in elderly patients or in patients that have diabetes or other conditions. Type two necrotizing fasciitis is most often referred to as the flesh-eating disease. Every age group, and even healthy individuals are at risk of developing this type of necrotizing fasciitis. Type three necrotizing fasciitis is caused by Clostridia perfringens or less commonly Clostridia septicum. This may follow a significant injury or surgery, and it results in gas under the skin.
Necrotizing fasciitis may also develop from marine organisms from the contamination of cuts that come into contact with sea water, or cuts that result from fish fins/stingers. Eating raw seafood could also cause necrotizing fasciitis.
Infection will initially begin in the superficial fascia, and the most common site for infection to occur is the lower leg. Initially, pain will be severe, and it will worsen as time goes on. It is common for individuals with necrotizing fasciitis to feel nauseated, dizzy, and have a fever. After a few days, the affected area may start to swell and develop a purple colored rash. The site of the wound may also turn a black color, which is a result of necrosis. If an individual with necrotizing fasciitis does not seek medical attention from the beginning, they will become seriously ill, as the infection may spread into their bloodstream.
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