Traced back to the Middle Ages, erysipelas is a superficial bacterial skin infection that usually extends into the lymphatic system. Also called St. Anthony's Fire for the Egyptian healer who most successfully treated the infection, erysipelas appears as a painful, raised red rash. At one time, erysipelas appeared most often on the face, but now it often develops on the lower extremities.

Usually, erysipelas responds well to oral or intravenous antibiotics. Your doctor will probably recommend a 10 to 14 day course. Although you will notice some improvement immediately, your skin may take several weeks to return to normal.

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