Treating Erysipela: Everything You Need to Know

03 January, 2019
Erysipela is a bacterial infection that mainly effects the epidermis. It's similar to another skin disorder known as cellulitis. However, the latter develops in the skin's deeper layers.

Erysipela is caused by the group A Streptococcus bacteria, which is the same bacteria that causes strep throat. The infection produces large, red bumps on the skin. In most cases, it mainly affects the face and leg areas.


  • Fever.
  • Cold.
  • Chills.
  • General discomfort.
  • Skin problems, which tends be red, swollen with raised edges.
    • Blisters may also occur in the affects area. When erysipela affects the face zone, the inflamed area normally includes the nose and both cheeks.

In addition, erysipela also causes glandular inflammation, which can be extremely uncomfortable  as it can be painful for the patient.

Also read: 7 Sins of Skin Care


When the group A streptococcus bacteria penetrate the exterior barrier of the skin, erysipela occurs. These bacteria normally live on the skin and other surfaces without resulting in any harm. However, the bacteria can enter the skin through cuts or sores, resulting in an infection.

Conditions that imply breaks in the skin, like athlete’s foot and eczema, can sometimes lead to erysipela. Erysipela can also occur when bacteria spreads through the nasal channels after a nose or throat infection.

How is erysipela treated?

Pharmaceutical treatment

The streptococcus bacteria are responsible for the majority of the cases of erysipela. Therefore, penicillin has been the main treatment for the infection. Oral or intramuscular penicillin is sufficient for treating most of the classic cases of erysipela. Treatment should last for 5 days, but if the infection doesn’t improve, the attending medical specialist can extend it.

First generationcephalosporin can also be an option if the patient has penicillin allergies. Cephalosporins can have a cross-reaction with penicillin and should be carefully administered to patients with histories of serious penicillin allergies.

Clindamycin is a therapeutic option. However, group B streptococcus bacteria are clindamycin-resistant. Treating staphylococcus aureus normally isn’t necessary for most infections. However, it should be considered for the patients that don’t improve on penicillin or for those that have abnormal forms of erysipela, including erisipela bullosa.

Some researchers believe that facial erysipela requires empirical treatment with a penicillinase-resistant antibiotic– such as dicloxacillin or nafcillin– in order to treat possible s. aureus infections. However, there is no evidence that supports this recommendation.

Roxithromycin and pristinamycin are extremely effective for treating eyrispela. Several studies show a greater efficiency and fewer side-effects in treatments that use these medications in comparison to those using penicillin. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved these drugs in the United States, they are used in Europe.

The FDA approved 3 antibiotics– oritavancin (Orbactiv), dalbavancin (Dalvance) and tedizolid (Sivextro)– for acute bacterial infections and for skin treatments. These agents are active against Staphylococcus aureus (including strands resistant to methicillin), Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus anginosus, among others.

Most people suffering from erysipela treat can recover at home, but some cases might require hospital visits. Depending on the severity of the condition, a treatment plan could include home remedies, medication or surgery.


Doctors will only turn to surgery only when the infection has progressed rapidly and killed healthy tissue (necrosis). A surgical operation could then be necessary in order to remove dead tissue. While patients can avoid relapses after a proper antibiotic therapy, time is of the essence.

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In addition to antibiotics, other forms of treatment include:

Symptom treatment for pains and fever

  • Cold packs
  • Hydration (via consumption if possible).
  • Elevation of the affected limb. Raising the area is recommended to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Saline dressings. Saline dressings should cover the areas showing ulceration and necrosis. In addition, they should be changed every 2 to 12 hours, depending on the severity of the infection.

Natural remedies for eryispela

  • Almond oil treatment. Cold-pressed almond oil is one of the most efficient ways of eliminating the red spots that result from anesthetic erysipela. After several applications of almond oil, skin can make a full recovery as if there were never spots or marks in the first place.
  • Wormwood treatment. Clean the affected area with wormwood tea twice a day. After, take the medication prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor will have most likely prescribed antibiotics, which are very effective in the early stages of the infection.
  • Green lettuce treatment. Applying lettuce is another surprising natural treatment for erysipela. Make sure you blanch them lightly before applying.
  • Mallow treatment. Another great pack that you can try is one with the boiled mallow leaves and roots (decoction).

Recommended diet for erysipela

Diets should include a good amount of fruits (around 20% of your daily dietary intake). In addition, your diet should completely exclude fried foods and meats. Instead, opt for fish and eggs. Follow this diet for 6 months, allowing for only small breaks in between.


Erysipelas Treatment & Management, MedScape,

Which treatment for erysipelas? Antibiotic treatment: drugs and methods of administering,

Erysipelas: Causes, symptoms, and treatment, Medical News Today,

Erisipela: causas, factores de riesgo, signos, síntomas, tratamiento, prevención, pronóstico, ePainAssist,

Erysipelas, National Organization for Rare Disorders NORD,

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