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Ecthyma
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Ecthyma is a skin infection, which is characterized by the formation of a crusted sore and beneath which the ulcers form. It is similar to impetigo but is more deeply invasive. Ecthyma causes deeper erosions of the skin as it goes from the outer layer epidermis up to the deeper layer, that is the dermis of the skin, thus causing the formation of scars. It is known to be most serious form of the impetigo.

Causes of Ecthyma

Ecthyma is usually caused by a Streptococcus infection. Staphylococcus bacteria. The infection usually starts at the site of the injury such as a scratch or insect bite and it is often found on the legs.

This disease generally begins in the form of a pus-filled blister and then the infection goes through the outer layer of skin into the deeper layer. Finally an ulcer with raised borders develop. Such ulcers are covered by a hard crust and they results in scarring also sometimes.

Symptoms of Ecthyma

Ecthyma is usually seen in people of all ages, sex and race. But it has been noted that children, elderly people, immuno compromised patients for example, diabetics, HIV infected, malignancy, etc are more prone to get affected.

Ecthyma, symptoms are also seen in people who live in poor hygiene and crowed living conditions, people who live in tropical places that is where there is high temperature and humidity. Ecthyma, lesion usually begin as a vesicle that is small blisters form. It may also appear, as a pustule and is generally seen on an inflamed area of skin.

Then a hard crust, which is harder and thicker than the crust of impetigo, usually covers the formed blister or pustule. Then the crust is removed to expose on indurate ulcer, which may be red swollen, and oozing with pus.

The crust is removed with difficulty. Usually the lesions remain fix in size but sometimes it resolves suddenly without treatment. But sometimes it is observed that the lesion gradually enlarge to a sore of 0.5 to 3.0 cm in diameter. The most commonly affected areas by Ecthyma are like buttocks, thighs, legs ankle and feet. In rare cases, the lymph modes also become swollen and painful.

Treatment of Ecthyma

Treatment for Ecthyma depends upon the extent and severity of infection. Some of the common treatments for ecthyma are as follow: -

(a) Warm soaks that are using a cloth soaked in warm tap water are helpful for removing crusts. It is done by soaking a clean cloth in a mixture of half a cup of white vinegar in a litre of tepid water.

Then compress is applied to the moist areas for ten minutes, several times a day. It gently wipes off the crusts. A topical antibiotic ointment such as fucidic acid is often used. Topical antiseptic such as Providone iodine, antibacterial Manuka honey, etc. may also be used.

It is applied for at least three times a day to the affected areas antibiotics are recommended if the infection is extensive or there is very less response to topical antibiotics. Anti septic soap or peroxide washes of the lesion may also be helpful in speeding up the recovery. Hygienic conditions should be improved by changing and laundering clothes frequently and using separate towels to prevent spread of infection.



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