Lymphangitis | Symptoms and Treatment | MedStar Health

An infection of the lymphatic system, a major component of your immune system

The lymphatic system is responsible for transporting white blood cells from your veins to organs and tissues throughout your body. Lymphangitis occurs when the structures within this system become infected and inflamed. These infections often are caused by bacteria, skin infections, or lymphedema.

If left untreated, these infections can spread into the bloodstream or cause cellulitis (skin infection) or an abscess (a painful collection of pus). However, prompt treatment with antibiotics typically results in a full recovery.

What are the symptoms of lymphangitis?

Because quick treatment can help avoid dangerous complications, it’s important to recognize potential symptoms. The most common sign of lymphangitis is red streaks along the skin, usually running from the infected area to the nearest lymph nodes, located in the groin or armpit.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever or chills

  • Headache

  • Loss of appetite

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Swollen, painful lymph nodes

  • Vomiting


Diagnosing lymphangitis is the first step to developing a treatment plan. Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam and may also recommend blood tests or other diagnostic procedures.


Antibiotics are usually the first line of defense and are often the only treatment needed. If you need advanced treatment, our team will work with you to develop and implement an individualized plan.