Dr. M.J. Bazos, Patient Handout

About Your Diagnosis

Lymphangitis is an inflammation of the lymphatic vessels. It is generally a complication of a wound that becomes infected by the staph or strep bacteria. The infection may progress rapidly and lead to septicemia (“blood poisoning”). It is curable with treatment.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms include red streaks appearing near the wound and running toward the nearest area of lymph nodes. For example, if the infection is in the arm, the nodes in the armpit will be affected; if in the leg, the nodes in the groin will be affected. Fatigue, throbbing pain at the wound site, loss of appetite, chills, and fever also occur.

Antibiotics and pain medications will be needed. Hot moist compresses or a heating pad applied to the site several times a day will help ease the inflammation. The affected area should be elevated and immobilized if possible. Wound care, including drainage of the wound if needed, should be done only after antibiotics are started.

The DOs
• Take antibiotics until finished.
• Use nonprescription medications such as Tylenol or Advil to relieve pain.
• Notify your doctor if the nonprescription medications don’t relieve the pain.
• Increase fluid intake and maintain good nutrition to promote healing.
• Immobilize and elevate the affected area.
• Apply hot moist compresses to the area to relieve inflammation and increase blood flow to the area.
• Have any wound treated promptly if it shows signs of infection.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t skip doses or stop antibiotics until finished.
• Don’t use the affected limb. Keep it elevated.
• Don’t neglect a wound if it appears infected.
When to Call Your Doctor
• If you continue to have a high fever after antibiotics are started.
• If red streaks continue to appear near the wound and “travel” toward the nearest area of lymph nodes after treatment is started.
• If pain increases or is not controlled by nonprescription medications.