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Cellulitis - An Overview

Cellulitis is a common skin infection caused by bacteria like streptococcus and staphylococcus. The bacteria enters the cracked areas of the skin, which results in swelling, pain and redness on the skin. Cellulitis has the tendency to spread rapidly to other parts of the body but is not contagious.

Causes of Cellulitis

Cellulitis can be caused by one of the following:

  • Bone infections underneath the skin
  • Foreign objects in the skin
  • Injuries of the skin
  • Infections after surgery
  • Eczema or psoriasis
  • Recent surgery
  • Inflamed wounds or cuts

Symptoms of Cellulitis

The possible cellulitis symptoms are:

  • Blisters
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Red spots
  • Skin dimpling
  • Swelling of arms and legs
  • Tenderness
  • Warmth
  • Nausea
  • Obesity

It is better to seek immediate medical help if the patient has a high fever, vomiting, increased pain, or numbness in the area when touched.

Diagnosis of Cellulitis

The doctor may suggest tests based on the condition of the skin and the medical history of the patient. Some of the diagnostic tests which the doctor may recommend are:

A blood test to check if the infection is spreading into the blood.

An X-ray to see if there is any foreign object in the skin or underneath the bone

A wound culture is also conducted by pricking the needle to draw fluid from the affected area, which is then sent to the lab for testing.

Treatments of Cellulitis

The doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic course for at least five to ten days, which can be extended to 14 days or as per the direction of the doctor.

In some cases, if the symptoms prevail and the infection is not responding to the treatment, the doctor may suggest hospitalization. The patient will then be given antibiotics intravenously i.e. through the veins.

Doctor also recommend elevating the affected area, which helps in reducing the swelling and accelerate recovery. Rest is advised to heal completely from cellulitis treatment.

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