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Cellulitis Skin Infection - Symptoms and Treatment

Cellulitis is an acute inflammation of the connective tissue of the skin, caused by infection with staphylococcus, streptococcus or other bacteria. Cellulitis can be caused by normal skin flora or by exogenous bacteria , and often occurs where the skin has previously been broken: cracks in the skin, cuts, burns , insect bites , surgical wounds, or sites of intravenous catheter insertion. The mainstay of therapy remains treatment with appropriate antibiotics. Cellulitis appears as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender, and it may spread rapidly. Skin on the face or lower legs is most commonly affected by this infection, though cellulitis can occur on any part of your body. Cellulitis may be superficial affecting only the surface of your skin but cellulitis may also affect the tissues underlying your skin and can spread to your lymph nodes and bloodstream. Cellulitis usually begins in an area of broken skin - like a cut, bite, or scratch. People who have body piercings may actually be more susceptible to cellulitis because the hole where the skin is pierced provides an area for bacteria to get beneath the surface of the skin more easily. But cellulitis may also start in areas where the skin hasn't been broken, especially in people who have chronic conditions such as diabetes or who are taking medicines that affect the immune system.

The word cellulitis literally means inflammation of the cells. It is a skin infection that involves areas of tissue just below the surface of the skin. These bacteria invade the skin through small cracks (fissures) in the skin, causing the sudden appearance of skin redness, swelling, and the sensation of heat. Cellulitis often occurs with fever and chills. If the infection goes untreated too long, cellulitis can result in pockets of pus (abscesses) or the bacteria can spread into the bloodstream (bacteremia).  Erysipelas is a superficial form of cellulitis. Infants are particularly susceptible to buccal cellulitis, an infection of the skin on the cheek. The infection is characterized by skin discoloration and swelling and is more often misdiagnosed as a bruise. It is caused by any substance that may cause injury to the buccal mucosa, such as popsicles and ice cubes, and prolonged exposure of infants to low temperature. Other infections that are commonly mistaken as buccal cellulitis include erysipelas, severe impetigo, and insect bites. Orbital cellulitis is a rare, acute infection of the eye socket. It affects primarily children, and the onset is rapid and severe. Bacteria enter the orbit of the eye, often from an infection in the sinuses, a boil on the eye or eyelid, or a foreign object. The soft tissue lining becomes infected. In most cases only one eye is affected. This is an acute and dangerous infection and may require hospitalization and antibiotic treatment.

Causes of Cellulitis Skin Infection

Common Causes of Cellulitis Skin Infection :

  • It is the most common cause of superficial cellulitis with diffuse spread of infection.
  • This bacteria enter the skin through a cut, puncture, ulcer , or sore, producing enzymes that break down the skin cells. Erysipelas is a superficial form of cellulitis.
  • It is also one of the main bacteria that causes cellulitis. This bacteria occasionally produces a superficial cellulitis. It is usually associated with an open wound or cutaneous abscess.
  • If you have got an injury, that broke your skin, in that case you are more prone to allow bacteria to invade the skin and causing cellulitis.
  • Infection of bone underneath the skin cause cellulitis.
  • Infections related to a surgical procedure may also cause cellulitis.

Symptoms of Cellulitis Skin Infection

Some common Symptoms of Cellulitis Skin Infection :

  • Swelling.
  • Redness of the skin.
  • Pain or tenderness.
  • Warmth.
  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Chills.
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Hair Loss.
  • Blisters.

Treatment of Cellulitis Skin Infection

  • Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can ease pain and reduce a fever. It will help for the treatment of cellulitis and blackheads.
  • In severe cases, antibiotics may be given intravenously for the first 24 to 72 hours, followed by oral antibiotics. Oral antibiotics used commonly are penicillin, flucloxacillin, cefuroxime, or erythromycin.
  • Surgical intervention, if necessary must be used.
  • At home, warm compresses, such as a warm, moist washcloth, and elevation of the infected area can help.
  • If you have mild cellulitis, you probably can be treated at home with oral antibiotics. It will help to reduce the pain in your affected area.
  • If you have a cellulitis of the leg - keep your leg raised while you are resting. This helps to prevent excess swelling which may also ease pain. 'Raised' means that your foot is higher than your hip so gravity helps to reduce the swelling.








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