How to deal with the infection

If you have never had this infection before and you suddenly get the symptoms of it, it is crucial that you contact a doctor as soon as possible to find out whether it is the infection. If you have had the infection before, you will normally know if it has broken out again.

When the infection breaks out, you will need to be treated with penicillin as soon as possible. If the infection gets to spread, without you getting the proper medication (penicillin), you will risk the infection going into the bloodstream. It will thereby evolve to blood poisoning. Out of the almost 30 times I have had the infection, I have only experienced it going in to my bloodstreams twice; and this was only because it was my first times getting the infection and that I therefore did not know that I should have called a doctor or the hospital to get treatment right away.

The skin where the erysipelas rash can be seen will be very sensitive for a while. It can therefore feel extremely unpleasant to wear compression stockings, but it is recommended that you wear them as much as possible to ensure that the swelling will not get any worse than it has to.

One time my legs swell so much that it felt like they were dying when I had the stockings on. If the stockings are that tight, it might be a good idea to take them off of two reasons: 1) If they get too tight compared to your measurements on the lymphedema limb, you risk that the stockings cause what you could call a “back-flow”; that the stockings are actually so tight, that they are preventing the lymph fluid from getting away from the limb and 2) that one time I experienced extreme swelling (my legs practically doubled in size), the doctors told me to take off the stockings because they might cause blood clots, when they were THAT tight.

Mostly when I first get an outbreak of the infection, I am not capable of doing anything else but lie in bed. So because I just lie still in bed for several days, I normally do not wear the stockings much. In my case that is no longer problematic because I know my lymphedema and how to keep it under control.

It is normally advised not to do lymph drainage the first 5-7 days after an outbreak of the infection has started. This – apparently – because of the risk of worsening the infection. I myself am usually so uncomfortable that I am not even able to do any kind of self drainage, but I try getting into the compression pump around 5 days after getting the infection in the hopes of getting the swelling down to its regular level faster.