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Saint Anthony’s Fire

Victor Asensi, MD, PhD1; Jose Maria Asensi, MD, PhD2
[+] 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.
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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.

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Figure.
Temptation of Saint Anthony, by Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo

Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo (1480-1548). Temptation of Saint Anthony, circa 1515-1520. Oil on panel, 69.5 × 119.4 cm. Courtesy of Timken Museum of Art, Putnam Foundation Collection, San Diego, California.

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