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If You See This Mark On Your Skin, Call 911 Immediately

Photo: Dave Basner

It's best to know your body because any changes to it could be a symptom of a medical condition, including ones that are life-threatening. Among things you might notice are marks on your skin. Some might be from when you banged into a side table or accidentally scratched yourself, but one in particular requires immediate medical attention.

It looks like a red line or a streak on your skin that grows, and the longer you wait to have it looked at, the less likely it is that you will survive. That's because the rash, which is known as lymphangitis, is a symptom of an infection and it can become sepsis, what one doctor told is "the most serious of any infection." He explained, "Sepsis is when you have an infection so bad it is disseminating across the body - kidneys shutting down, liver shutting down, heart's in trouble." The lymphangitis can be caused by an internal infection, or an infection that entered the body through an open wound.

One mom recently posted about seeing the rash on her eight-year-old son a week after he fell at the zoo. She had him wash the ensuing cut and the wounds didn't look infected, but she noticed a red line tracking down his vein. She felt "a bit silly" taking him to urgent care, but it saved his life. She warned others to immediately go to the doctor if they find a similar red line.

According to the Mayo Clinic, most people can recover from sepsis but the mortality rate is 40% when the sepsis gets serious and becomes septic shock.

It's a scary situation but there's an easy way to see if a rash on your body is spreading. Just use a pen to draw a border around the redness. If the redness goes beyond the mark after a few hours or a day, get to the hospital. And if you are already on antibiotics and it happens, you likely need something more powerful. However, this method is only for if redness is radiating out of a wound evenly - if the redness is in a line or seemingly following a vein, get help immediately - especially if you have a fever, fatigue or mental decline since those are signs of sepsis.