Things You Need To Know About Cellulitis
What is Cellulitis
Cellulitis is a type of skin infection caused by bacteria. The skin is supposed to be our protection for infection. However, if our skin has cuts, blisters, burns, insect bites, surgical wounds, and more the bacteria will get the chance to sink into the skin and reach the deeper tissues as they spread. The infected area of the skin will then become hot, red, irritated and painful.
If left untreated, cellulitis can be life threatening.
Causes of Cellulitis
Strep or staph bacteria commonly cause cellulitis. People who are at risk of having cellulitis are those with weak immune system and those used to hold fish, meat, poultry, or soil without any hand protection like gloves and the like.
Symptoms of Cellulitis
You can tell that you are infected with cellulitis if you have the following symptoms
- Pain on the infected area
- Redness of the skin
- Sudden start of rashes and spread fast in the first 24 hours
- The skin appears tight, glossy and stretched
- The skin on the infected area feels warm
On the other hand, one is known to have an infection if the following signs are present.
- Feeling ill
- Muscle aches and pains
- Warm skin
Other symptoms may include hair loss at the infected area, stiffed joints, nausea and vomiting.
How people get cellulitis?
People get cellulitis infection in many ways including:
- If one has skin injury like cut, surgical wound, burn and insect bites.
- If one has skin, problems like ulcer, eczema, psoriasis, and athlete’s foot.
- If one has immune system, weakening medical conditions like diabetes and peripheral arterial disease.
- If one has edema or fluid buildup in the legs or arms
- If one has undergone liposuction
- If one has injected illegal drug into their skin
In general, cellulitis is not contagious. Meaning, it is not spread from person to person.
Treatment for Cellulitis
A visit to your doctor is necessary, as they will prescribe you with anti-biotic to treat cellulitis. You may be treated as an outpatient if the cellulitis infection you have is mild and you can take the antibiotics at home. However, if you got a severe infection¸ a confinement to the hospital is necessary. This is necessary so the doctors can monitor your situation as the antibiotics go through your bloodstream.
On the other hand, you are allowed to treat cellulitis at home, it is important to take the whole course of your antibiotic prescription. Not because you already feel better, you will stop taking meds. Completing the prescription is necessary.
It is important to treat cellulitis immediately because if untreated, it can quickly spread to your body and can cause serious harm. A cellulitis on the face can also spread fast to the brain and cause infection like meningitis. In addition, treating cellulitis is important, so that it will not spread and cause severe infection, so that it will heal faster, relieve pain, and prevent it from coming back.
The use of Antibiotics is most common in treating cellulitis. An oral antibiotic can be effective enough if the infection is not yet severe. Meaning, it only affects a small area of the skin, does not yet spread to your lymph system and you do not have any other medical problems. On the other hand, if your body is slow in recovering illness or if the infection has been widespread to the body, oral antibiotics may not work out for you. Instead, antibiotics will be applied by injection.
If you have cellulitis of the leg or cellulitis of the arm, other than taking antibiotics, elevating the limb is also one of the treatments in order to minimize swelling.
Medicines used to treat cellulitis include oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics and Intravenous antibiotics or antimicrobials.
Oral Antibiotics – medicines of this type include penicillin, cephalexin, or cefaclor. However, if the patient is allergic to penicillin, cephalosporin or erythromycin is the best alternative.
Topical Antibiotics – topical antibiotics are the ones to be applied on the skin in the form of ointment, cream and more. This type of medicine will be use if the cellulitis is mild.
Intravenous antibiotics or antimicrobials – this type of medicine as mentioned is in the form of an injection. This type is used for cellulitis that spread quickly and for people with weakened immune system.
Cellulitis treatment for children
If a child is the one who is infected with cellulitis, treatment will depend on their age and the infected part of the body. Normally, antibiotics are given by injection to children. Parents should note that they should seek immediate medical attention if their child is having cellulitis on the face.
How to prevent cellulitis from coming back?
In some cases, especially to people with other medical conditions that caused them skin breakdown, cellulitis is recurring. People who are at risk of cellulitis recurrence include those with edema, fungal or bacterial infections, diabetes, or peripheral arterial disease.
- People with edema should wear some sort of support stockings and must observe good skin hygiene to keep cellulitis from coming back.
- Those with frequent fungal infections should practice the regular use of anti fungal medicines.
- Those that are at high risk of recurring cellulitis, an intake of preventive antibiotics will help prevent the recurrence of cellulitis.