Patient's Complete Guide to Cellulitis

Overview of Cellulitis

Cellulitis also known as خلیوں کے نسیج کی سوزش/ التہاب خلو/khalion ke naseej ki soozish is a serious skin infection caused by bacteria. The affected area appears swollen and red. You may feel pain and warmth upon touch. The infection starts with the entry of bacteria into the skin via cracked skin. The infection usually affects the lower legs, face, and arms.
If cellulitis is not treated immediately and left untreated it can spread to your lymph nodes and bloodstream. Usually, it is not spread from one person to another.

Occurrence of Cellulitis

According to research, it is most common in males with an incidence rate of 24.6/1000.

Signs and Symptoms of Cellulitis

Most common signs and symptoms of cellulitis include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the affected area
  • Redness
  • Rapidly growing skin rashes
  • Tight and swollen skin
  • Warmth in the affected area
  • An abscess with pus
  • Fever

Other serious and concerning sign and symptoms may include:

  • Shaking
  • Chills
  • Feeling ill
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle aches
  • Warm skin
  • Sweating

Early signs and symptoms of infection spread include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Blisters
  • Red streaks

Types of Cellulitis

Types of cellulitis depend upon the location of infection on your body such as:

  • Periorbital cellulitis (around the eyes)
  • Facial cellulitis (around the eyes, nose, and cheeks)
  • Breast cellulitis
  • Perianal cellulitis around the anal orifice
  • Hands and feet

Causes of Cellulitis

Cellulitis could be caused due to the following reasons:

  • Skin rupturing injuries
  • Infections after surgery
  • Prolonged skin conditions such as eczema
  • Foreign objects in the skin
  • Bone infections beneath the skin

Risk Factors of Cellulitis

Some risk factors that can increase the chances of cellulitis include:

  • Age: Cellulitis is more likely to affect people above 45 years of age.
  • Obesity: Mostly, obese people develop cellulitis as compared to low-weight people.
  • Leg Issues: Risks of infection are greater in people suffering from oedema and ulceration.
  • Previous Cellulitis: Having the previous cellulitis can increase 8-20% chances of its recurrence. As per various studies, the infection can occur several times a year.
  • Other Skin Issues: The risk of developing cellulitis could also be increased if you have other skin issues such as chickenpox, eczema, athlete’s foot, and abscesses.
  • Lymphedema: In this condition, skin swells and cracks through which bacteria can enter and cause infection.
  • Other Conditions: Liver or kidney disease increases the chances of developing cellulitis.
  • Diabetes: Diabetic patients’ immune systems are weakened so they are most likely to develop skin conditions such as ulcers.
  • Weakened Immune System: People with HIV or AID have a weak immune system so they are more likely to be affected by cellulitis.
  • Circulatory Problems: If your blood circulation is not proper, chances of infection to spread the deeper skin are higher.
  • Recent Surgery or Injury: If you have recently undergone surgery or been injured, your chances to be affected by cellulitis are increased.
  • Intravenous Drug Use: Injection of drugs with used needles leads to deep skin infections, increasing the chances of developing cellulitis.

Health Complications Related to Cellulitis

Some serious complications can arise only in rare cases. They include:

Permanent Swelling: If the infection remains untreated, you may develop permanent swelling in the infected area.

Blood Infection and Sepsis: Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when bacteria enter your bloodstream. Its symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Reduced urine flow
  • Sweaty, pale, and cold skin

Infection in Other Regions: In some rare cases, bacteria can spread to other parts of the body, such as muscles, bones, or heart valves. If this happens, the doctor recommends immediate treatment. Mostly, complications can be avoided by effective treatment.

Prevention

You cannot prevent cellulitis from occurring, however, you can reduce the risk by:

  • Treating Cuts: You can reduce the chances of infection by keeping cuts, bites, or wounds clean.
  • Avoid Scratching: Avoid scratching of skin especially with dirty fingernails. If itching is disturbing, ask the pharmacist how to deal with it.
  • Take Care of the Skin: You can prevent skin cracking by using moisturizers. However, it’s not a remedy for an already present infection.
  • Protect the Skin: During gardening and grazing protect your skin by wearing gloves and long sleeves. This way you can also avoid insect bites.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Obesity increases the risk of developing cellulitis.
  • Avoid Smoking and Alcohol: Smoking and excess alcohol increase the risk of cellulitis. Try to avoid these things.
  • Seek Help for Other Medical Conditions: If you are a diabetic patient ask your doctor about how to manage your condition.

Diagnosis

Healthcare professionals diagnose cellulitis by asking about medical history and physical examination. However, other tests may include:

  • Blood Test: Mostly, blood test such as complete blood cell (CBC) is performed to check the level of white cell counts which indicate the bacterial infection
  • Imaging Analysis: An X-ray, CT or MRI is performed to check if the bone is affected by the infection.
  • Culturing: Blood samples, skin biopsies, and wound swab samples are taken and cultured to confirm the infection-causing bacteria. This method helps in the prescription of treatment.

Treatment of Cellulitis | When to Consult a Doctor

  • Home Remedies:

Cellulitis is a serious condition that requires immediate medical treatment. It can’t be treated by home remedies. However, you can use some home treatments to feel relief until medical treatment is provided.

Tips include:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • To reduce swelling and pain keep the affected area raised
  • Move the affected part of the body regularly to prevent tenderness
  • Take pain-relieving medicines, such as ibuprofen as per the doctor’s prescription
  • Avoid the use of compression stockings until the healing of the infection

Natural remedies such as thyme and cypress oil because they have antibacterial properties. However, it is not scientifically proved that natural remedies can treat cellulitis.

  • Medication:

For a mild case of cellulitis, mostly oral antibiotics are prescribed for 7-14 days by healthcare. Initially, the symptoms may worsen, but they usually disappear within 2 days.

A wide range of antibiotics can be used for treatment. The doctor will decide the specific antibiotic after identifying the type of bacteria responsible for the infection. Similarly, factors specific to each person are also considered before the prescription.

Mostly, recovery occurs within 2 weeks, but it can take longer if the condition is serious. A doctor might be prescribing a low-dose oral antibiotic for prolonged use to prevent reoccurrence.

Other Method of Treatment

Some severe cases of cellulitis require treatment in the hospital, especially during:

  • High fever
  • Vomiting
  • Experiencing a recurrence of cellulitis
  • Ineffective current treatment
  • Rapidly worsening symptoms

In the hospital, antibiotics are administered intravenously with a drip through a vein in the arm.

It is important to treat cellulitis at the early stages because if the infection spread it can be life-threatening. Seek medical care if you have a rapidly changing rash and fever.

Speciality for Cellulitis

Call for assistance
042 32500989