CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

Lymphangitis

Lim-fan-gi-tis

Definition

Lymphangitis is an infection of the lymph vessels. Lymph vessels are part of the immune system. They help carry infected fluids away from the site of an infection.

Lymphatic Vessels

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes    TOP

Lymphangitis is caused by bacteria.

It usually starts with a bacterial skin infection. When the lymph vessels start to carry fluids away from the infection, the bacteria can move into the lymph vessels and begin to grow. The growth causes the infection.

Risk Factors    TOP

Risk factors include:

  • Injury to the skin
  • Having a bacterial skin infection

Symptoms    TOP

Symptoms may include:

  • Redness or red streaks on the skin
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Warmth at the site of the infection
  • Fever or chills
  • Fluids or pus leaking from the affected area
  • Swollen glands

Diagnosis    TOP

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Diagnosis is often made on appearance alone.

Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested to determine the exact type of bacteria causing the infection. This can be done with:

  • Blood or fluid culture
  • Skin biopsy and cultures

Treatment    TOP

Lymphangitis indicates a spread of the infection. Treatment is important to keep the infection from spreading into the blood.

Your doctor may advise medications, such as:

  • Antibiotics to treat infection
  • Over-the-counter medications to treat swelling and reduce pain

Warm compresses may also be advised to reduce swelling and pain.

Prevention    TOP

Lymphangitis is usually caused by spread from a skin infection. If you have a skin infection, follow your doctor’s treatment plan.

To reduce your risk of getting a skin infection:

  • Keep your skin clean.
  • Apply lotion to dry skin.
  • Take steps to avoid injury to the skin:
    • Wear protective gear in sports.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts when hiking.
    • Wear sandals when at the beach, rather than going barefoot.
    • Be careful around animals. Treat pets with respect to avoid bites.
  • Do not swim in natural waters if you have cuts or sores.
  • If a small cut, bite, or other injury occurs:
    • Clean cuts or scrapes with soap and water.
    • Apply antibiotic ointment.
    • Cover with a bandage or dressing.
    • Do not scratch wounds.
    • Call your doctor right away if the area becomes red or swollen.
  • Seek prompt medical care for larger wounds or bites.
  • If your legs tend to swell, elevate them several times a day.

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology
http://www.aad.org
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Dermatology Association
http://www.dermatology.ca

References:

Lymphangitis. University of Maryland Medical Center website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Update May 19, 2013. Accessed February 18, 2016.
Lymphangitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2013. Accessed February 10, 2017.
Last reviewed March 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardMichael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 2/12/2014

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000