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Flesh-Eating Bacteria and Lupus

Necrotizing Fasciitis: Infection Risk From Lupus Itself, Lupus Treatment

I have lupus. What can I do to cut my risk of infection with flesh-eating bacteria?

Over time, a person with lupus may have fewer or more symptoms. This means that a person with lupus doesn't always need the same dose of immune-suppressing drugs.

It's extremely important for lupus patients to regularly see a doctor with experience treating the disease. With regular checkups, lupus patients can be sure they are getting the right dose of medication.

Too much medication puts a lupus patient at risk of infection from unnecessary immune suppression. Too little medication puts a lupus patient at risk of infection from unnecessarily severe disease.

"If you get regular follow-up with a doctor who treats lupus, they would make sure you are getting the specific amount of treatment you need for your disease and no more," Putterman says. "We constantly battle to find the most effective dose of medication without over-suppressing the immune system."

I have lupus. What should I do if I think I might have necrotizing fasciitis?

There's no reason for people with lupus to run to the emergency room after every paper cut, Putterman says. But everyone, lupus patients included, should know that necrotizing fasciitis moves very, very fast.

"If you are treated for an infection and things are getting worse -- especially if you are taking immune suppressants or have a disease of the immune system -- take care of this as soon as possible," he says. "This is not the kind of infection where you say, 'It's Friday afternoon; I'll see the doc on Monday.' For this disease, hours make a difference."

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