Lymphangitis in simple terms is lymph node infection. When the lymphatic node develops inflammation due to infection it is called lymphadenopathy or lymphangitis. Lymph system constitutes a network of glands, vessels and organs found throughout the body which are involved in transporting body fluids, proteins and other food particles in the body. Lymph nodes are used for effective filtering of lymphatic fluid and involved in protecting the body against any infection from bacteria and virus. It is the lymph nodes that trigger immune response when the body is invaded with foreign particles like bacteria or virus for protecting the body.
Lymphangitis occur when the lymph nodes becomes inflamed due to infection. The lymph glands get enlarged or thickened because of infection. Actually this is the body’s normal defense response to the infectious bacteria. The swollen glands can be seen at the site of infection or tumor at which the bacteria has entered into the skin.
Streptococcus is one of the major causes for lymphangitis. In addition, pseudomonas, gram negative bacilli, pasteurella multocida (through dog bites) and Wuchereria bancrofti can also cause lymphangitis. Sometimes, people with chronic diabetics and autoimmune disorders like cancer and AIDS may also develop lymph nodes inflammation rapidly.
The area of the skin at which infection has occurred will be thick and dark compared to other layers of skin. Children may get fever, chills and headache. For some there can be loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, muscle pain and malaise.
People who have got a minor cut or wound on their skin are more prone to develop lymph node infection than others. The chance of spreading the infection is high if the person does not cover the cuts or take treatment for healing.
The primary site of infection may contain an abscess or wound and there may be blisters or lesions on the skin. The lymph nodes look swollen and tender on the site of infection.
Your doctor will physically examine the lymph nodes and look for signs of tenderness and infection. He will also identify any inflammation of the lymph nodes. Further biopsy of the skin (removal of thin layer) is done for culture. Blood culture is also done for identifying the bacteria.
Pictures of Lymphangitis :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Lymphangitis
Antimicrobial medications are prescribed for treating lymphangitis. Children with this problem should be kept well hydrated and should be given oral antibiotics. In case if the infection is due to Group A streptococcus then it can become severe and hence close follow up is necessary. Analgesic medications are given for controlling pain and for reducing inflammation. In case of abscess, your doctor will drain off the fluid inside for facilitating healing.
In case of severe infection, the patient will be admitted for starting intravenous medications. Once the tenderness and swelling is reduced, the patient will be put on oral antibiotics like cefazolin, cephalexin, cefuroxime, clindamycin and dicloxacilin. All these antibiotics are effective in arresting the bacterial cell well synthesis thus inhibiting its growth.
If left untreated, lymphangitis can lead to cellulitis infection or sepsis that may cause serious complications.