Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria. It is not a superficial infection; it is involved with the deep dermis and subcutaneous layers of the skin. A staph infection is the most likely cause of cellulitis. This occurs on any area of the body, but the legs are the most common area.
The infected area includes redness, swelling, soreness, and skin tightness. The person may also feel feverish; they may have chills, nausea, or sweating. People with diabetes, poor skin circulation, ulcers, surgery, or poor immunity are at risk for cellulitis. Fortunately, cellulitis is not contagious since it affects the deeper layers of the skin. The top layer acts as protection against contacting other people. An elevated white blood cell count and physical exam are needed to determine if this is caused by bacteria, and antibiotics are usually given anyway just to make sure. Antibiotics are administered intravenously because oral antibiotics are not as effective in treating cellulitis. Treating cellulitis can take 7-10 days of prescribed antibiotics and pain medication such as Vicodin.
Treating cellulitis usually involves taking an oral or intravenous antibiotic. If the person is deemed to be at a high risk, then the person may need to be hospitalized. This is especially in cases of cellulitis in the eye or if the person has a weak immune system due to Cancer, HIV/AIDS, or any other disease. Another medicine will also be administered for pain, since cellulitis can impair movement and joint function. It can be difficult to walk and very painful. Some cases of cellulitis appear to come out of nowhere. Some people may develop cellulitis after a bug bite or getting Lyme disease, where the bite causes infection at the breaking of skin. Other bug bites can cause cellulitis, even if the person does not feel the bite at time of contact. It is important to be aware of changes on the skin to note this to the doctor in case worse symptoms appear. Many people wait until they are in bad pain from cellulitis because they think the problem will go away on its own. Since it is a bacterial infection, it will not go away without proper antibiotics.
Cellulitis and diabetes is common since uncontrolled diabetes leads to many complications. Morbidly obese people are more apt to getting cellulitis, especially at the abdominal section and at the feet. People with diabetes are advised to monitor their skin, especially their feet and legs. Obese people are also more prone to poor circulation and should be on the lookout for redness and pain, especially in the leg area. Obese people should treat cellulitis by also taking action to lose weight which will help the circulation and control diabetes.
To prevent cellulitis: use lotion to keep your skin moisturized and in good health, because cracking can cause cellulitis. Wear shoes that fit well and socks that can breathe. Trim your toe nails to avoid cellulitis from ingrown nails. And cover breaks in skin with bandages and clean the wound regularly.
Cellulitis can cause serious complications if left untreated. This includes meningitis, bone infection, shock, inflamed lymph nodes, and gangrene (death of tissues). Some people are also more prone to recurring cellulitis. In this case, preventive measures should be administered for long term causes, such as diabetes, obesity, and poor immune system. Consult with the doctor to treat these cases and take care of skin and body to prevent cellulitis. Exercise regularly, eat well, and lose excess weight will go a long way in preventing complications from diabetes and obesity. Taking the proper medication to help other diseases will also help prevent complications from cellulitis.
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