What is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a skin infection characterized by redness, welling, and tenderness in the affected area.

What causes cellulitis?

Cellulitis is caused by bacteria (strep or staph) which can get into the skin and spread to deeper through a cut, sore, surgical wound or an animal or insect bite.  People with diabetes or weak immune systems, or those who handle fish, meat, poultry or soil without using gloves can are at risk for infection by some other type of bacteria.

Cellulitis symptoms

If you have cellulitis, the affected area will be warm, red, swollen, and tender. You may have a fever, chills, and/or swollen glands if the infection spreads. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the blood or lymph nodes – which can be deadly.

How do you get cellulitis?

Apart from a skin injury, you can get cellulitis if you have skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, ulcer, of a fungal infection such as athlete’s foot.

You can also get cellutitis if you have preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, a weak immune system, peripheral arterial disease, or edema [fluid build up in the arms or legs], or if you had liposuction or injected illegal drugs under your skin.

How cellulitis is treated?

Cellulitis is treated with antibiotics. If your infection is mild, you can take your antibiotic pills at home. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, take them as directed. You need to finish the full course of antibiotic, otherwise it won’t work. If your infection is severe, you may have to be treated in the hospital with antibiotics that go directly into your bloodstream.

It is crucial to treat cellulitis immediately. If left untreated, bacteria can spread quickly throughout the body. This could cause sepsis – an extreme immune system response to an infection. Sever sepsis may lead to extremely low blood pressure, which restricts blood supply to the body, resulting in organ failure, and death.

Cellutitis on the face can spread to the brain which could result in meningitis – or an infection of the fluid and tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Cellulitis can also cause other problems such as blood clots in the legs or thrombophlebitis.

Source: WebMD


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