Update on Management of Skin and Soft Tissue Infections in the Emergency Department
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Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) are frequently treated in the emergency department (ED) setting. Recent studies provide critical new information that can guide new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of SSTIs in the ED. Rapid polymerase chain reaction assays capable of detecting MRSA in approximately 1 h hold significant potential to improving antibiotic stewardship in SSTI care. Emergency ultrasound continues to demonstrate value in guiding appropriate management of SSTIs, including the early diagnosis of necrotizing infections. Since emerging in the 1990s, community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) continues to increase in prevalence, and it represents a significant challenge to optimizing ED antibiotic use for SSTI management. Growing literature reinforces the current recommendation of incision and drainage without antibiotics for uncomplicated abscesses. Selecting antibiotics with CA-MRSA coverage is recommended when treating purulent SSTIs; however, it is generally not necessary in cases of nonpurulent cellulitis. Future advances in ED SSTI care may involve expansion of outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy protocols and the recent development of a novel, once weekly antibiotic with activity against MRSA.