1+ Views

Necrotizing Fasciitis: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

What is Necrotizing Fasciitis?

It’s name alone sounds like something out of a horror story, and in truth, the actual condition is not much prettier. Necrotizing fasciitis is more commonly known as flesh-eating disease because it quite literally ‘eats’ the flesh. This condition, though very rare, can be deadly if untreated. There are fewer than 20,000 cases of the rare skin disease reported per year, but fatality rates are high, between 20 and 80 percent. In some of the most shocking cases, death has occurred within 12 to 24 hours.
Necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria entering through a break in the skin, such as by surgery or trauma. The incubation period is very short and can spread within 3 to 4 days. The condition first affects a deeper layer of the skin known as the fascia, but quickly spreads to the deeper tissue covering the muscles, then fat tissue, later potentially resulting in shock and organ failure.
If you contract necrotizing fasciitis, your body will know it. Depending on how deep the infection is, the skin may not show signs of infection at first, but your body will. Individuals typically experience fever and generally feel generally unwell. Within a few days, the affected area may become red, hot and blistered. If you notice uncharacteristic pain and redness of the skin, do not hesitate to seek medical attention immediately. Necrotizing fasciitis can occur to perfectly healthy people, though there are factors that put individuals more at risk. These factors may include individuals with diabetes or a weakened immune system, consumers of drugs and alcohol and older adults.
Cases of necrotizing fasciitis have been in the news, but this skin condition is very rare. Anything from large cuts, bites, scrapes and even small pricks in the hand can result in necrotizing fasciitis, yet the reported cases are very few, so try not to worry.

Necrotizing Fasciitis Symptoms

Although nausea can be commonly associated with many different conditions and ailments, it is also an early sign of necrotizing fasciitis. Although it is primarily a bacterial infection that affects the skin, before it exposes itself, the body tends to start feeling unwell. Nausea is reported by majority of cases regardless of age or other specifications.
Yet another hidden symptom of necrotizing fasciitis is fatigue. It is no surprise that the body feels uncontrollably exhausted when the immune system is experiencing the same thing. Fatigue is a common symptom of necrotizing fasciitis as the body struggles to fight the infection.
Individuals with necrotizing fasciitis commonly report high fever before any symptoms breakout on their skin. This is because a fever is the body’s primary mechanism for fighting off infection. Unfortunately fighting off this infection alone will not work. Fever accompanied by changing skin conditions is often what brings individuals in to seek help in the first place.
At this point you may think that necrotizing fasciitis is more of a head game than anything, but it is clear that this rare skin condition truly affects the entire body. The onset of dizziness can occur within hours of the infection, while skin symptoms could take 3 to 4 days.
Other Symptoms
Necrotizing fasciitis causes a number of symptoms, including dehydrationdiarrhea and vomiting, and that isn’t even the worst of it. The rare skin condition also causes the skin to swell and change color, ultimately turning a purple violet color, until the skin finally becomes black as tissue dies. Lastly, the most characteristic symptom is unmanageable pain, until the gangrene or necrosis causes the nerve endings to die. By this point, hopefully individuals have sought treatment. Gangrene and necrosis can require more serious treatment such as amputation of the affected area.

Causes of Necrotizing Fasciitis

Since necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial infection, there is no doubt that it is primarily caused by bacteria. The type of bacteria or infecting organism can differ, as the list is found below. It is also important to note that necrotizing fasciitis can be passed from person to person, although this is rare. Direct contact with an open wound already infected with the bacteria can cause another person to contract the bacteria.
Group A streptococcus is the same bacteria that causes the common strep throat, and yet it is the leading bacteria that also causes necrotizing fasciitis. Group A streptococcus is also responsible for a variety of skin conditions and toxic shock syndrome. Some strains of streptococcus are more powerful than others, which determines the severity of the condition. Streptococcus can also be found with staphylococcus in cases of necrotizing fasciitis. This strain can cause severe and permanent damage.
Continental borders do not stop necrotizing fasciitis. In different countries, different strains of bacteria can cause necrotizing fasciitis. One such strain is known as Klebsiella or Klebsiella pneumoniae. Although it has originated in Southeast Asia only, more cases are being found in North America. This bacteria is a virulent strain with invasive effects, such as necrotizing fasciitis. Like streptococcus, Klebsiella is also a common bacteria and can be found primarily in the human gastrointestinal tract. However, the wrong strain has been known to cause liver abscess, meningitis, emphysema, and endophthalmitis; reported only in Southeast Asia until recently.
E. Coli
E. coli known as Escherichia coli is yet another common bacteria, which increases the concern for being careful of what harmful materials we come into contact with, since you never know what the outcome can be. In this case, the outcome of a virulent strain of E. coli can be necrotizing fasciitis. E. coli group C can harbor several virulence factors. It is less common than other bacterias that cause necrotizing fasciitis, which can make it difficult to diagnose and treat.
Aeromonas Hydrophila
Aeromonas hydrophila can come from a dirty water source, hence the name ‘hydro’. The bacteria is commonly found in the United States in sewers, soil, and fresh or brackish water. Most individuals who come into contact with this bacteria may have diarrhea at worst, but individuals with a weak immune system or liver disease can contract a number of threatening conditions, such as necrotizing fasciitis.

Other Causes
It might seem like the risk for necrotizing fasciitis is everywhere, but this is not the case. Although there are a number of bacteria that can cause necrotizing fasciitis, additionally staphylococcus and clostridium, humans are in contact with bacteria daily, it simply depends on the strain. What is most concerning is that necrotizing fasciitis can occur from any type of wound, cut, or scrape, even something as small as a needle puncture.

Necrotizing Fasciitis Remedies and Supplements

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the age-old treatment recommended to young kids to boost their immune system. Amateur as the treatment may be, the incredible vitamin did once commonly prevent scurry and improves heart function, so the credibility exists. Vitamin C can be found in citrus, peppers, dark leafy greens and other orange-hued produce. It’s immunity benefits are incomparable, and while it will not cure necrotizing fasciitis alone, it can provide significant improvements. In one case of septic shock, an individual was expected to die within 24 hours, while intravenous vitamin C fully rehabilitated her. The recommended daily dosage for adults is 90 mg for males and 78 mg for females.
Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver simply means any amount of silver suspended in liquid. For centuries it has been used specifically to treat viral, bacterial and fungal infections, so it is no surprise it is on the list of treatments for necrotizing fasciitis. There is controversy about the use of colloidal silver, however, because it can have serious side effects. In the medical world, colloidal silver has been known to specifically kill certain types of bacteria, so it is not going away as a treatment anytime soon. The recommended dosage for colloidal silver is dependent upon the individual’s ailment, age and overall health. Colloidal silver should only be prescribed by a healthcare professional.
Proper Wound Care
Proper wound care is an important part of tending to any wound, especially when infected by bacteria that causes necrotizing fasciitis. Although you will not immediately know whether a wound is infected, taking care of the wound can prevent the infection from spreading more rapidly. Proper wound care begins by washing and sanitizing the infected area immediately. Then cover with dry bandages and continue to change bandages while the wound is still secreting fluid. If redness or swelling is observed, or if a wound does not heal at a normal pace, these are reasons to seek professional care.
Avoid Public Water
Avoiding public water is important, but we don’t just mean sewers and public faucets. This includes pools, lakes, rivers and oceans, although bacteria that causes necrotizing fasciitis is almost never found in these specific locations. Regardless, there’s a reason you’re advised not to enter or use water with open wounds, and that is because bacteria in public water may enter those wounds. Heed caution when using these public places, or if you work with public water, be sure to wear the proper protective gear.
Other Remedies and Supplements
Only a healthcare professional can diagnose necrotizing fasciitis and once they do, patients will be treated in the intensive care unit. Remedies for necrotizing fasciitis most importantly begin with prevention as mentioned above. In the case that prevention does not occur, and the individual has necrotizing fasciitis, the next step is prompt and early treatment. Necrotizing fasciitis spreads rapidly and can be deadly, which is why prompt medical attention is highly important. The affected individual will likely be treated with antibiotics in addition to any of the remedies listed above, and commonly surgery to remove the infected area.

The Bottom Line

Necrotizing fasciitis is as horrible as it sounds. The infection literally does eat away at the flesh and it is excruciatingly painful. If you are unfortunately infected by necrotizing fasciitis, it could have been caused by something as simple as a needle prick, so don’t blame yourself for not being careful. Necrotizing fasciitis soften begins with other symptoms such as dehydration, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, or fever before the painful skin symptoms become present. The key to a speedy and healthy recovery from necrotizing fasciitis is early medical attention. Necrotizing fasciitis is very rare, but several cases have historically led to death. Never let your health concerns rely on a statistic.
Cards you may also be interested in
Integrative Balance Approach
Over the years of treating patients with various injuries and discomfort, we have clearly observed a persistent issue with our present-day health care practices. Most of the standard treatments for physiotherapy in Singapore and many other countries are focused on solving the immediate symptoms and injuries, but little effort has been spent on identifying and intervening the underlying root causes. This has lead to sub-optimal outcome for chronic injuries or recurring pain management.  Consolidating years of clinical experience and taking reference to the best practices in Chinese Medicine and Western medicine, our founder Mr Yan Yong (Michael) has conceptualized the Integrative Balance Approach of human function. We have been consistently helping thousands of patients recover from chronic injuries and body aches, and live a pain-free life. The Integrative Balance Approach of human function means that in order for our body to exert force effectively to complete various tasks, the body must achieve balance of several factors at the same time, as shown in the following diagram:  When the body position or movement habits are not following the integrative balance principle, certain parts of the body will have to bear excessive force loading, or move excessively beyond the healthy range, thus leading to injury and pain. Different error movement patterns will lead to different injuries. Based on the Integrative Balance Approach principles, we have formulated a streamlined treatment process that systematically helps our patients correct their movement errors, and adopt healthy habits that is optimized to perform their functional tasks. We use various manual therapy techniques and specific exercises training, with optional use of therapy modalities to treat our patients. Treatment plans will be set based on our findings from physiotherapy assessment, and customized to each patient.
Childhood Leukemia
Leukemia — Cancer of blood is called Leukemia. It develops in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a soft inner part of the bone (such as thigh and hip bone) where new RBC, WBC & Platelets are formed. As we know, bone marrow also produces WBC or Leucocytes. As soon as the number of mature WBC is enough, then the body sends a signal to stop new cells’ formation. But in Leukemia, these newly formed cells stay immature for a long time. Consequently, the body cannot send any signal, so new cells form inside the bone marrow. The bone marrow becomes crowded with immature and abnormal WBC. Childhood Leukemia — Children of the age group of a newborn child to a 19-year-old. According to a study conducted in 2018, 29% of cancer in children is of childhood leukemia. The most common Leukemia in children is ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) and AML (Acute myeloid leukemia). Early Symptoms of Childhood Leukemia a. Dull or pale skin b. Weakness or feeling of tiredness c. Headaches and Dizziness d. Trouble in breathing e. Fever and frequent infection f. Bleeding gums or nosebleeds Types of Childhood Leukemia: Leukemia typically in kids can be categorized into two major types. A. Common types of Leukemia a. Acute lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), also called acute lymphocytic Leukemia is fast-growing Leukemia of lymphoid cells. This type is widespread in kids; it’s the proliferation of B and T cells lymphocyte precursor. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) accounts for 75–85% of cases of childhood leukemia. b. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML): AML is also a common type of childhood leukemia. This is the fast-growing Leukemia of myeloid cells. B. Rare types of Leukemia a. Hybrid or mixed-lineage Leukemia: This is chromosome-related Leukemia where part of chromosome 11 translocates to any other chromosome. Children having mixed-lineage Leukemia have a poor prognosis. b. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia: This is slow-growing Leukemia of myeloid cells. c. Chronic lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): CLL is very rare in children. This is the slow-growing Leukemia of lymphoid cells. d. Juvenile myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML): This is a scarce type of childhood leukemia where WBC production in bone marrow is severely dysregulated. Diagnosis of Childhood Leukemia There are various tests to diagnose and confirm childhood leukemia. These tests also help in classifying the type of Leukemia. The initial tests include: a) Blood tests to measure the number of blood cells and see how they appear. b) Biopsy and Bone marrow aspiration test: To confirm Leukemia, a tissue sample is usually taken from the pelvic bone. c) Spinal Tap test or Lumbar puncture: This test is done to know the spread of cancer cells in the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) present in the spinal cord or brain. These tests also determine the method of treatment to be followed. Risk factors of Childhood Leukemia More study is needed to explore the possible reasons, but few of them are environmental factors like exposure to radiation, smoking, genetic factors, inherited problems related to immune systems, etc. Treatment of Childhood Leukemia: Once the oncologist confirms the diagnosis, the child will undergo chemotherapy medicines. In highly developed countries, the cure rate for ALL (Acute lymphoblastic leukemia) is more than 80–90%, and for acute myeloid Leukemia, it is more than 60–70%. In developing countries, poor accessibility or affordability, malnutrition, poor tolerability to treatment, and delayed diagnosis bring down the cure rate to almost 70% in ALL and around 50% in AML. a) Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses powerful chemicals and is done to target and kill cancerous cells. Chemotherapy works throughout the body. b) Blood Transfusion: This is a process of transferring healthy blood components into a patient’s blood circulation system intravenously. This process helps in replacing red blood cells, platelets, and other blood components. c) Radiation Therapy: This is also known as Radiotherapy or RT or XRT. This therapy uses a beam of ionizing radiation to kill the cancer cells. d) Bone Marrow Transplant: BMT is performed to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow. In this process, blood stem cells are transplanted into the circulation. Later on, these blood stem cells reach the bone marrow area to produce and promote new blood cells. Treatment of Relapsing Leukemia Despite chemotherapy, around 20% of ALL and about 40–50% of AML can come back with the disease within two to five years of initial diagnosis. This reoccurrence of infection is called relapse. Again, these children will go through a similar test like complete blood count, bone marrow evaluation to confirm the deterioration. After confirmation, they will have to undergo a higher dose of chemotherapy of a different combination or Bone Marrow Transplant. You can consult a well-experienced oncologist, or you can consult online on consultancy websites like Practo, DoctoriDuniya, etc. At DoctoriDuniya, You can book an appointment online with an oncologist or cancer specialist 24X7, with eOPd and an e-prescription facility. The cancer doctor may ask about the family history of the problem and symptoms associated with the disease. At DoctoriDuniya, you can download DoctoriDuniya — Free Medical App and create your online Personal Medical Account called NAINI. Here you can avail free follow-ups and online doctor consultation with oncologist or cancer specialist at NAINI.
WHO’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP)
People from more than one country and one medical or research institution can participate in a clinical trial. Different countries have different clinical research requirements, so one clinical trial may be enlisted on more than one registry. That clinical trial shall appear on the database of more than one registry. However, data on various clinical trial registries varies. . Take Clinical Research Course from the Best. The International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) is a global initiative by WHO, responsible for linking clinical trial registers worldwide for ensuring a single point of access and the apparent identification of clinical trials. This was done with the view that participants, patients, families, and patient groups have easy access to information. The ICTRP was established with the aim to make information about all clinical trials that involve humans publicly available. It also aims to achieve the following: ● Improving the comprehensiveness, completeness, and accuracy of registered clinical trials data; ● Communicating and raising awareness of the need for registering clinical trials; ● Ensuring the accessibility of registered data; ● Building capacity for clinical trial registration; ● Encouraging the utilization of registered data; and ● Ensuring the sustainability of the ICTRP. . Take the Best Training in Clinical Research. The Secretariat of the ICTRP is housed by the World Health Organization in its headquarters in Geneva and is responsible for the following: ● Publishes the ICTRP search portal: A database and website that makes it possible for every person in the world to search for free data provided by clinical trial registries around the world. The data is updated weekly and meets WHO’s criteria for content and quality. ● Supports the WHO registry network: A forum created to establish and work together for the purpose of clinical trial registries. It aims to establish best practices for clinical trial registration and the collection of high-quality, accurate data. ● Supports different countries and regions: It aims to establish clinical trial registries or policies on trial registration.