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July 2016

Saint Anthony’s Fire

Author Affiliations
  • 1Infectious Diseases Unit, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Oviedo University School of Medicine, Oviedo, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
  • 2Neurology Service, Cabueñes Hospital, Gijón, Astuias, Spain
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(7):850. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.5476

Skin infections were extremely frequent throughout the ages until the introduction of antibiotics and even now are common among elderly individuals, especially in those with diabetes and chronic venous insufficiency. The combination of poor hygienic conditions, infrequent changes of clothing, very rare hand-washing, and overcrowded living facilities made skin infections rampant in previous centuries.1 Prior to antibiotics, only skin cleaning and cool dressing were used to treat these infections, with very poor results.