Cellulitis

Cellulitis is more serious than the redness you commonly see surrounding an infected skin lesion. Cellulitis is an acute, but noncontagious, inflammation of the connective tissue beneath the surface of the skin. It is more wide-spread than a localized infection as seen in an ulcer or abscess. It causes the skin tissues in the infected area to become red, hot, painful and swollen. It can result from staphylococcus, streptococcus, or other bacterial infection. Intact skin is an effective barrier that normally keeps bacteria from entering and growing within the body. When there is a break in the skin, bacteria can enter causing infection and inflammation.

Cellulitis is most common on the lower legs although skin on other areas of the body may be involved. The risk factors for cellulitis include insect bites and stings, animal or human bite and injury or trauma resulting in a break in the skin. Conditions which increase the chance of infection included history of peripheral vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, or ischemic ulcers; recent invasive medical or dental procedures; and the use of immunosuppressive medications.

Occasionally, streptococci can invade deeper structures with very rapid progression. When the fascia, the tissue overlying the muscle, becomes infected and dies, the disease is called necrotizing fasciitis. This has been called an infection with “flesh-eating bacteria“. The reason some people develop this life-threatening infection while others only develop cellulitis is not entirely clear. Part of the reason has to do with the strain of bacteria involved. Certain strains of strep can produce toxins that destroy tissue and cause severe illness.

Avoid damage to your skin by wearing appropriate protective clothing and equipment as necessary. Treat any breaks in the skin by careful washing and a topical antibiotic. Watch closely for evidence of infection like redness, pain or drainage.

 


Signs, symptoms & indicators of Cellulitis

Symptoms - Metabolic  

Having a slight/having a moderate/having a high fever




Risk factors for Cellulitis

Symptoms - Skin - Conditions  

History of/having recent cellulitis



Counter Indicators
Symptoms - Skin - Conditions  

Haivng no history of cellulitis




Recommendations for Cellulitis

Drug  

Antibiotics

Cellulitis should be treated with antibiotics to prevent its spread and complications. An untreated infection may result in gangrene, generalized blood infection, meningitis (if the face is involved) or lymphangitis. Cellulitis treatment may require hospitalization because the infection may be difficult to treat.

An antibiotic that is active against the usual disease-causing bacteria should be used. Oral Keflex (cephalexin) or Dicloxacillin is usually effective for simple cellulitis. There are other antibiotics that would probably be equally effective. A more serious infection may require the use of IV antibiotics. The response to the antibiotic should occur over several days.



Physical Medicine  

Hot Applications

Apply warm, moist compresses to the site to increase the blood supply to the tissues. Elevate the infected area, usually higher than the heart, to reduce swelling and rest until symptoms improve.



Key

Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
Highly recommended

Glossary

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is an acute inflammation of the connective tissue beneath the surface of the skin. It is more wide-spread than a localized infection as seen in an ulcer or abscess. It causes the skin tissues in the infected area to become red, hot, painful and swollen.

Acute

An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.

Ulcer

Lesion on the skin or mucous membrane.

Bacteria

Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.

Diabetes Mellitus

A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

Ischemia

Localized tissue anemia due to obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood.

Topical

Most commonly 'topical application': Administration to the skin.

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