ZocdocAnswersI have an old open sore and now it's spreading. What can I do about it?

Question

I have an old open sore and now it's spreading. What can I do about it?

It is a open sore that has been there for months. It's white and red and purple. and now it's spreading all the way up her leg to her knee and if so bad it hurts to even touch

Answer

You mention that you have an open sore that is spreading and is painful. This is a very concerning symptom, so it is important to speak with your primary care doctor right away. The skin usually protects the body from bacteria and other organisms. When the skin barrier is compromised such as from an open wound, you are prone to infections. The infections can be local or spread through the skin structures. Cellulitis is a very possible condition based on the data you have provided. Cellulitis looks like an expanding red and warm rash that occurs from skin lesions such as the one you mentioned. If it is cellulitis, you will need antibiotics. The type of antibiotics is determined by your physician depending on the severity of the illness. The other more rare but life threatening skin condition is necrotizing fasciitis which is infection of the soft tissues. This condition destroys skin, fat and tissue in the area and can cause a systemic infection that could lead to death is not treated immediately. Surgery is often needed to remove the dead tissue. Again this is rare, but it is impossible to determine without evaluating you in person. You should make an appointment with your primary care doctor right away or just go to your local emergency room is there is a long waiting period for your physician.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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