Cellulitis Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Cellulitis

What is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis appears as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender. It can spread rapidly to other parts of the body. Skin on lower legs is most commonly affected, though cellulitis can occur anywhere on your body or face. Cellulitis might affect only your skin’s surface. Or it might also affect tissues underlying your skin and can spread to your lymph nodes and bloodstream.

Causes of Cellulitis

Staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria are the most common causes of cellulitis. Risk factors for cellulitis include:

  • Cracks or peeling skin between the toes
  • History of peripheral vascular disease
  • Injury or trauma with a break in the skin (skin wounds)
  • Insect bites and stings, animal bites, or human bites
  • Ulcers from certain diseases, including diabetes and vascular disease
  • Use of corticosteroid medications or medications that suppress the immune system
  • Wound from a recent surgery

Symptoms of Cellulitis

Symptoms of Cellulitis develop abruptly and can get worse rapidly. It affects the skin and can also cause additional symptoms. Cellulitis causes the affected skin to become:

  • red
  • hot
  • swollen
  • painful
  • tender

There may also be a break in the skin, although this isn’t always obvious, and pus or blood-filled blisters.
Cellulitis can also cause additional symptoms that may develop before or alongside the changes to your skin.

These can include:

  • feeling generally unwell
  • feeling sick
  • shivering
  • chills

Occasionally the infection can extend to other parts of the body, such as the deeper layers of tissue, blood, muscle and bone. This can be very severe and potentially life threatening.

Signs the infection has spread include:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • a fast heartbeat or fast breathing
  • being sick
  • diarrhea
  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • confusion or disorientation
  • cold, clammy, pale skin
  • unresponsiveness or loss of consciousness

Diagnosis of Cellulitis

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This may reveal:

  • Redness, warmth, and swelling of the skin
  • Possible drainage, if there is a buildup of pus (abscess) with the skin infection
  • Swollen glands (lymph nodes) near the affected area

Tests that may be ordered include:

  • Blood culture
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Culture of any fluid or material inside the affected area
  • A biopsy may be done if other conditions are suspected

Treatment of Cellulitis

  • Antibiotics
  • Raise the infected area higher than your heart to reduce swelling.
  • Rest

You may need to stay in a hospital if:

  • You are very sick (for example, you have a very high temperature, blood pressure problems, or nausea and vomiting that does not go away)
  • You have been on antibiotics and the infection is getting worse (spreading beyond the original pen marking)
  • Your immune system is not working well (due to cancer, HIV)
  • You have an infection around your eyes
  • You require antibiotics through a vein (IV)

By : Natural Health News


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