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Cellulitis Skin Infection

Cellulitis Skin Infection Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Cellulitis is a skin condition caused by bacteria that results in inflammation and swelling of the skin. Let's know more on the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment methods of cellulitis skin infection.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
The word 'cellulitis' means an inflammation of body tissues, particularly those that are below the skin, and is related to pyrexia, swelling, rubor, and pain. It is a condition which includes an irritation of the connective tissues, situated underneath the skin. The results appear when bacteria occupy areas of the cracked skin, cuts, burns, insect bites, and surgical wounds, and begin to spread out just underneath the skin or in the skin itself. This results in an infection, which causes irritation of the cells, erythroderma, and hydrops. The infection can affect any part and region of the body, but the skin face and shank are normally prone to it. The infection begins to spread from a small, swollen, and inflammatory area on the skin. As the infection moves further, it results in febrility along with shivering and sweat, and caused swollen glands around the infected skin area.
Causes
Several kinds of bacteria cause cellulitis, but there are two primary ones which are most common, such as Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. These bacteria are already present on the skin, but cause no harm until the skin is damaged and broken. In simple words, the bacteria enter when the skin breaks or cracks, and the cracks can be so small that they may not be visible to the naked eye. The conditions that allow bacteria to enter the skin include an insect or an animal bite, a skin rash, a surgery that was performed recently, tinea pedis, dry skin, and boils on the skin. The contribution of minor blisters on the leg to this disorder is yet to be proven.
Streptococci have the capability of spreading immediately, because they release enzymes that restrict the tissues to limit the infections. Pneumococcus is a type of bacteria which leads to severe cellulitis skin infections, normally found in an immunocompromised person, and also accompanies conditions like 'sphacelus' and suppuration. In many cases, cellulitis appears on the area of any physical damage to the body caused by violence, accident, or fracture. It may also affect areas around ulcers or surgical wounds.
Symptoms
There are many symptoms of cellulitis like the skin turning red and causing inflammation which spread in size, along with the spreading of the infection. Other symptoms include a skin rash, feverishness, chills, shudders, fatigue, release of sweat, or pain in the muscle. A person suffering from this infection may also experience nausea, vomiting, and hair loss in the area of infection. In few severe cases of this disorder, red streaks may be seen moving upwards from the affected area. The swelling spreads very soon, and the affected region turns hot and appears pocked or scarred, similar to an orange peel. This swelling is a result of the infection blocking the lymphatic vessels in the skin.
Treatment
The general treatment for cellulitis includes the use of antibiotics that stop the infection from spreading, and analgesics that reduce the pain. Antibiotic drugs like penicillin, flucloxacillin, cefuroxime, and erythromycin are normally prescribed for this purpose. If, in case, the patient has an allergy of penicillin or cephalosporin, he is treated using clindamycin and vancomycin, which are amongst the other efficient antibiotic drugs. Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid is utilized in cases where a wider antibiotic treatment is needed, as in the case of a diabetic patient with a foot ulcer. To prevent this skin complication, one should put on shirts with long arms and pants if he is working in high-risk areas like a garden. He should maintain a high-level of hygiene and keep the skin clean and well-moisturized.
If cellulitis is not treated on time, it can lead to severe complications, which may disturb your daily life. If any of the related symptoms are diagnosed, one should immediately inform a skin doctor, who would prescribe necessary medicaments or suggest some treatments.