By Dr. Vidula Kamath, Dermatology
A common and yet potentially serious skin infection, Cellulitis is generally associated with red, swollen patches on the skin caused by a bacterial infection of the soft tissues beneath it, particularly the dermis and subcutaneous fat. What appears as a harmless, hot and tender area of skin, however, can later spread rapidly to other parts of the body, if not treated properly. In some cases, it can even prove to be life-threatening.
1. Red area of skin that tends to expand
7. Red spots
9. Skin dimpling
10. Red streaking
11. Leaking of yellow, clear fluid or pus
1. The causes for Cellulitis can vary greatly from ordinary cuts to injuries to puncture wounds, which tear the skin, long-term skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
2. It generally occurs when specific species of bacteria, such as streptococcus and staphylococcus, enter your skin due to a break or tear.
3. It can occur almost anywhere in the body, but it is most usually found in the lower areas of your leg.
1. Cuts, fractures or burns
2. Weakened immune system (primarily because of diabetes, leukemia and HIV/AIDS)
3. Skin conditions and skin disorders (such as athlete’s foot & eczema)
4. Chronic swelling of your arms or legs (lymphedema)
5. History of Cellulitis
6. Intravenous drug use
1. Rest the area.
2. Elevate the area to help reduce swelling and relieve discomfort.
3. Use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen(Motrin) to ease the pain, as well as keep your fever down.
Cellulitis can also be treated by consuming prescribed oral antibiotics. You should immediately visit the doctor once the symptoms are seen, which would provide the doctor enough time to evaluate and determine whether it is a minor or a major case of Cellulitis.
1. Wash your wound daily with soap and water.
2. Apply a protective cream or ointment (Neosporin, Polysporin, others).
3. Cover your wound with a bandage.
4. Watch for signs of infection.
5. Inspect your feet daily.
6. Moisturise your skin regularly.
7. Trim your fingernails and toenails carefully.
8. Protect your hands and feet.
9. Promptly treat infections on the skin’s surface (superficial), such as athlete’s foot.