Information Source for Cellulitis



Cellulitis is an acute inflammation of the connective tissue of the skin, caused by infection with staphylococcus, streptococcus or other bacteria, such as cellulitis - streptococcal - Erysipelas is a type of cellulitis, which is a skin infection generally caused by group A treptococci.

Causes, Incidence and Risk Factors of Cellulitis

The skin normally has many types of bacteria living on it, but intact skin is an effective barrier that keeps these bacteria from entering and growing within the body. When there is a break in the skin, however, bacteria can enter the body and grow there, causing a bacterial skin infection and skin inflammation. The skin tissues in the infected area become red, hot, irritated and painful.

Cellulitis is most common on the face and lower legs, although skin on other areas of the body may sometimes be involved.

Risk factors for cellulitis include:

Symptoms of Cellulitis

The following are Symptoms of Cellulitis:

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:

Signs and Tests for Cellulitis

During a physical examination, the doctor may find localized swelling. Occasionally, lymph nodes can be detected near the cellulitis.

Tests that may be used:

Treatment for Cellulitis

Cellulitis treatment may require hospitalization if it is severe enough to warrant intravenous antibiotics and close observation. At other times, treatment with oral antibiotics and close outpatient follow-up is enough. Treatment is focused on control of the infection and prevention of complications.

Antibiotics are given to control infection, and analgesics may be needed to control pain.

Elevate the infected area, usually higher than the heart, to minimize swelling. Apply warm, moist compresses to the site to fight infection by increasing blood supply to the tissues. Rest until symptoms improve.

Expectations

Cure is possible with 7 to 10 days of treatment. Cellulitis may be more severe in people with chronic diseases and people who are susceptible to infection.

Complications of Cellulitis

Calling your Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider if symptoms indicate that cellulitis may be present.

Call your health care provider if you are being treated for cellulitis and new skin infection symptoms develop, such as persistent fever, drowsiness, lethargy, blistering over the cellulitis, or extension of the red streaks.

Prevention of Cellulitis

Avoid skin damage by wearing appropriate protective equipment when participating in work or sports. Also, clean any breaks in the skin carefully and watch for redness, pain, drainage, or other signs of infection.

Finally, maintain good general health and control chronic medical conditions. A body that is healthy can more easily fight bacteria before they multiply and cause infection, while a body that is run down has less protection against infection.

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