Cellulitis is a common and sometimes fatal bacterial skin infection. The affected skin appears inflamed and inflamed, and can be painful and hot to the touch. Cellulitis usually affects the lower half of the skin on the legs, although it can also affect the face, arms and other areas.
It is evident when the affected skin looks swollen and red, and is usually painful and warm to the touch. It usually affects the lower legs, although it can also appear on the face, arms and other areas
If the disease is not treated in time, the infection can spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream and can be life-threatening. In view of its seriousness, this article considers its causes and treatment, so that prompt action can be taken in its presence.
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What is infectious cellulitis?
Infectious cellulitis is caused by a bacterial infection, it usually affects the upper layers of the skin, and as a result they become irritated and inflamed.
Usually, this infection appears on the surface of the skin, but it can also affect the inner tissues, and if not properly treated it can spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream, which could be fatal
In order not to generate confusion, it is good to point out that despite having the same name, this condition has nothing to do with the aesthetic problem known as common cellulite.
- Red area on the skin that tends to expand.
- Sensation of warmth
- Red spots
- Orange peel.
- Less frequently, stiffness and difficulty in moving the joints or hair loss in the affected area.
Causes of cellulitis
It originates when bacteria, mostly streptococci and staphylococci, enter the skin in areas affected by recent surgeries, cuts, fractures, burns, ulcers or dermatitis. Animal bites can also cause it.
This infection can occur anywhere on the body, but most often appears on the legs
Some factors that make a person more prone to cellulitis are these:
- Weak immune system. Pathologies that weaken the immune system, such as diabetes, leukemia and AIDS, make the patient more susceptible to infections such as cellulitis, both because of the disease itself and the drugs used to fight them
- Skin diseases. Some skin problems such as eczema, athlete’s foot and herpes cause cracks in the skin, which provide an opportunity for bacteria to enter.
- History of cellulitis. If a patient has had cellulitis in the past, they are more likely to develop it again at any time in their life.
is cellulitis contagious?
For the peace of mind of many, cellulite is usually not contagious from person to person
However, it is possible for one cellulitis patient to spread cellulitis to another if an open cut on his or her skin comes in contact with the injured skin of a healthy person.
Complications of cellulitis
It is extremely important to detect and treat cellulitis promptly, because this infection can spread rapidly throughout the body.
If the patient has a red, swollen, tender rash and fever, he/she should see a doctor immediately
Recurrent episodes can damage the lymphatic drainage system and lead to chronic swelling of the affected limb. Moreover, although it does not happen often, the infection can spread to the deep layer of tissue, the fascial lining, and develop into necrotizing fasciitis, which is considered an extreme emergency.
Diagnosis of cellulitis
An experienced physician is able to diagnose cellulitis simply by observing signs on the skin such as swelling, redness and warmth of the affected area, and swollen glands.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the health professional may be inclined to monitor the affected area for a few days to see if the redness and swelling spreads. In other cases, he or she may choose to draw blood from the patient or take a sample from the wound to test for bacteria.
Treatment of cellulitis
Infectious cellulitis is a medical emergency, as it must be treated quickly to prevent the infection from spreading into the bloodstream
Treatment is mainly based on taking oral antibiotics for 7 to 14 days. At the same time, the doctor may prescribe analgesics to relieve the pain caused by this condition. Longer treatment may be required if the infection is very severe or if the patient has a weakened immune system
In the event that cellulitis recurs, preventive antibiotics may be recommended. As long as symptoms persist, rest is necessary
Cellulitis usually disappears 7 to 10 days after the start of treatment. However, it is good to note that even if symptoms improve before the end of treatment, it is essential to take antibiotics at the dosage recommended by the doctor to ensure that all bacteria are eliminated.
Cellulitis prevention and tips
- Wash a wound every day with soap and water to prevent microorganisms from entering
- Moisturize the skin frequently.
- Avoid wounds from scratching too hard or cutting your nails.
- Apply a protective cream or ointment to superficial wounds.
- Cover the wound with an appropriate bandage
- People with diabetes or circulation problems need to take extra precautions to prevent skin injury
- Treat skin surface infections, such as athlete’s foot, immediately
Cellulitis is an extremely dangerous condition, but if prompt action is taken and medical care is sought, the prognosis can be encouraging.