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Cellulitis


Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria. Normally, your skin helps protect you from infection. But if you have a cut, sore, or insect bite, bacteria can get into the skin and spread to deeper tissues. If it is not treated with antibiotics, the infection can spread to the blood or lymph nodes. This can be deadly.


Some people can get cellulitis without having a break in the skin. These include older adults and people who have diabetes or a weak immune system.

Cellulitis

Symptoms of cellulitis include:

  • Hot, red, swollen and painful area of the skin and deeper tissues
  • Fever
  • Shivers and chills, caused by release of toxins from the bacteria
  • There may be a well-defined line where the cellulitis stops, but this may spread as the infection progresses. Rarely, there's oozing of pus and fluid at the skin puncture site, but usually the infection is more diffuse in the tissues.

Fortunately, cellulitis usually responds well to antibiotics. Ideally, the skin and wound should be swabbed to test the kind of bacteria causing the problem, then a penicillin type of antibiotic is usually needed (or erythromycin for those who are allergic to penicillin).It is very important to get treatment right away for cellulitis. If it is not treated, the bacteria can spread quickly through the body and cause sepsis, an extreme response by the body’s defense system. This can be deadly. Cellulitis on the face can spread to the brain and cause a dangerous infection (meningitis). Cellulitis can also cause other serious problems, such as blood clots in the legs


Cellulitis can be prevented by being careful about hygiene with wounds and breaks in the skin. If you cut or scratch yourself, or break the skin in some way, make sure the wound is cleaned and treated with an antiseptic, then covered with a clean dressing or plaster. If the skin around the wound becomes red and sore, get medical advice as soon as possible.

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