Lymphangitis / Cellulitis – Infection with Red Inflammatory Line up to Armpit

Q. I am an 18 years old male about to start college. Two days ago, my brother bought me Coca Cola in a plastic bottle with a twist-off. I attempted to open it with no luck, and in the end I injured myself. I received three blisters on my left hand from trying to open the bottle. The next day I decided to cut the blister off from my index finger with a nail clipper; part of the skin was peeling off and I felt no pain. After I cut off the skin I felt some pain, but I thought it was normal since I was cutting off a piece of skin. The wound was red and had watery fluids leaking from it, I managed to wash the wound off and I dried it off. I also added a band-aid so no infection could occur.

Later in the day I realized there was a large red line stemming from the side of my index finger, going to my hand and through my arm. I am unable to locate where the red line ends. I thought it was just the amount of pressure I applied to the band-aid on my finger, but I was unsure. I kept cleaning the open wound and swapped band-aids, but the line was still there. It didn’t seem to expand on my hand or arm; the size looks the same as the day before. My finger from the tip to the knuckle is extremely itchy if I scratch it. It doesn’t feel swollen, as I can still curl my index finger, the only thing stopping me is the wound. Is there an infection? My mom believes it’s only an allergic reaction, but it’s only on my left hand while the right one is fine. What’s wrong? Thank you.

Reply:

You should immediately go to ER (Emergency Room) to get yourself examined and treated – this could lead to life threatening blood stream infection.

This could be Lymphangitis which is an infection of the lymph vessels. It  commonly occurs after certain bacterial infections like streptococcus or staphylococcus. Its complications include abscess, cellulitis and sometimes life threatening septicemia or bloodstream infection and sepsis.
The doctor will examine your lymph nodes and may like to get blood cultures to assess for the spread of infection to the blood stream. Then you may be prescribed antibiotics, analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications.

Please don’t delay and rush now without waiting even for a moment.
It’s that serious.
Let us know how everything goes after you visit ER. You may use the comments section below to update us on your condition.
Best Wishes,
Buddy M.D.

 

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Lymphangitis / Cellulitis – Infection With Red Inflammatory Line up to Armpit

  1. Chris

    My son (18yrs.old) had a cyst under his arm and one on the cheek of his face, he went to the ER where they lanced both and drained them, 24hrs. Later he was sent home from work because more pus was coming out of the one on his face and he seems very lethargic, and looked very pale and clammy. He went home, I went over to see him. The area of the cyst on his arm is very red on his arm and more redness around the entire area from armpit to elbow, he has a low grade fever and feels very nauseous, he also is complaining of chills, he is now sleeping. MY QUESTION: Could this turn into something more serious? Or should he just continue the antibiotics and rest?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      If he is still having nausea and fever, probably the antibiotics being given are not enough to control the infection.

      It would be better to shift him to a good hospital. The infection could be spreading inside.

      Reply
  2. Wendy

    My daughter has a bug bite on her wrist their is now a red line going up the center of her arm almost to her elbow. Should we go to the ER or could it wait for the Dr office to open in the morning?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You may wait till morning. However, don’t delay beyond that. This is likely to be an infection climbing up.

      Reply
  3. Cody

    My foot swelled up a day after a trip to the beach. 3 days later Mr hand started to swell up and I noticed a red line running up the same arm. After being put on antibiotics the red line went away but I continue to have swelling off and on in both hands and feet, and I woke up the other morning with 1/2 my tongue swollen. In addition I have been breaking out in big red circular gives. I discontinued all antibiotics but continue to have swelling with hives. Should I be concerned

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      If the reaction continues this way, it can be risky.

      You need to suppress this reaction. Did your doctor comment upon the cause of these signs? Any injury or bite mark over your body, you got from the beach?

      Reply
  4. Mom

    My 11-yr-old son was playing on metal monkey bars at school today and rubbed the center of his palm raw. Within a few hours (and after him taking a bath) there was a small bruise in between his thumb and forefinger, his palm had red splotches and there was a red streak traveling up his wrist into his arm. I took him to that night to after-hours care, where he was prescribed augmentin for 10 days. I’m wondering, did I overreact? Should I have just used Neosporin or something and checked it in the morning? Just wondering…… – Thanks

    Reply
  5. Liz

    I cut my thumb underside while cutting onions about 1 1/2 weeks ago. That Sunday morning I suddenly couldn’t move my fingers, palm, and moving my wrist was extremely painful. The swelling and redness went halfway up my fore arm but it was a general swelling and uniform redness. The swelling and redness uniformly stopped at a horizontal line line on my forearm. My fingers blanch when I try to straighten them, my veins are very prominent, and the skin is shinny. No red streak could be seen at any time. On Tuesday I went to an acute care clinic because my rheumatology doctor, whom I had an appointment the next day said for me to get seen immediately. That Tuesday evening, they gave me a shot of clindamycin to be followed up with 10 days of clindamycin 300 mg. Today, Wednesday, I was prescribed prednisone 5mg with 6 for 3 days,4 for 3 days 3 for days, 2 for 3 days, 1 for 3 days. The heat has dissipated today. My question is ” the pain but no swelling, heat or redness has traveled to my elbow and to the lower 2/3 of my upper arm. Moving my arm hurts. They told me to return immediately if symptoms progress at which time I would be seen asap by a hand surgeon. Woluld this be reason enough to call attention to it, since only pain has increased and traveled further.

    I have Ankylosing spondylitis and on a regimen of Remicade infusions. Today’s dose has been postponed until the infection can be cleared.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      This was a severe infection that had spread up your forearm. Infective material tends to get trapped at various spaces in these regions and is difficult to clear up.

      Sometime, surgical cuts are needed at various locations to drain out collected pus.

      Just keep looking at your symptoms. Any increase in pain or immobility of your hands call off a doctor’s visit.

      Reply
      1. Liz

        It did increase in pain last night and almost to my shoulder. This morning its marginally better pain wise but I had no sleep last night. It’s usually better after resting several hours. It’s now been 33 hours since starting the clindamycin, and 24 hours on the steroids. I didn’t mention before that I’ve been in pain management for 17 years and prescribed Duragesic 200mcg since 2001. That said, this type of infection concerns me because pain, the major indicator is not necessarily felt at normal levels. Additionally my normal break through coupled with NSAID’s, which I’m not supposed to take due to pervious toxicity and gastric burn out, are not working. It’s especially worse at night. Should I ask for a hand surgeon referral?

        Reply
  6. Monica

    I previously had Mrsa and was treated with antibiotics and was lanced 2xs in a week,it’s healed up fairly well but my right index finger is so swollen and hot to the touch.Also I went lay down n have a painful bump/bone/bruise thing on my upper neck?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      These look like fresh infective foci. Need to be seen by a doctor and biopsied for diagnosis at the earliest.

      Further antibiotic course may be needed.

      Reply
  7. Scared

    Ive been shooting up my medication for a long period of time now with no real negative side effects. Bout 4 days ago a red line appeared from injections site ( mid lower arm) up to my arm pit. It feels tight and is sore. No swelling noticed. It Hurts to straighten My arm out. – I’ve been taking antibiotics with no real successful? change to symptons. I haven’t gone to the Dr or ER because I’m afraid of being put in jail for my misuse of the medication. Plz help is there anything else I could be doing besides the antibiotics.

    Reply
  8. Jamie holt

    I think I was bit by a spider however I have a black dot with a red circle around it where I think I was bit n now have a red line n blisters going horizontally up my leg should I go to the er?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You need to take an anti histaminic pill at the earliest. Also, start applying an antibiotic ointment over the bite area. Watch for any swelling or increase in redness. If noticed, better see an ER.

      Let us know if it improves.

      Reply