Necrotizing fasciitis is not only difficult to spell and pronounce, it is also a life threatening condition. It might as well have been taken out of a horror movie: Super aggressive invaders (bacteria) which multiply unbelievably fast and destroy healthy tissue at an alarming pace.

This disease presents with severe pain, a whitish appearance to the skin and marked swelling. The bacteria gain entrance through the skin-literally almost anywhere on the body. From there they wreak havoc in the local environment. A short time later these bacteria are found throughout the body. Blood pressure falls, lungs fill up with fluid, heart muscle is weakened and on an on until untreated death occurs.

However, if the condition is caught early then this process can often be stopped or at least slowed down enough such that the patient will make it through the infection. Lots of fluids are given. High dose very powerful antibiotics are administered. The most important treatment involves an operation: Since the swelling is so severe and the bacteria spreads easily through deep tissue, deep incisions must be made in the operating room. This reduces the pressure and the likelihood of spread.

Patients with diabetes, cancer, weakened immune systems and who abuse IV drugs are at especially high risk for this condition. This disease is relatively unusual but if you happen to have a skin infection which suddenly becomes worse, be sure to go to the ER right away.