Lymphangitis is an infection of lymph vessels. Lymph vessels are part of the immune system. They help carry infected fluids away from the site of an infection.
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Lymphangitis is caused by bacteria.
It 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.
Symptoms may include:
Your doctor will ask 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:
Lymphangitis indicates a spread of the infection. Treatment is important to keep the infection from spreading into the blood.
Your doctor may recommend:
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:
American Academy of Dermatology
American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Dermatology Association
Information about skin infection. Akron Children’s Hospital website. Available at: https://www.akronchildrens.org/cms/conditions/f99b25a263661a51. Accessed January 21, 2014.
Lymphangitis. University of Minnesota Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.uofmmedicalcenter.org/healthlibrary/Article/116272EN. Accessed January 21, 2014.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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