Cellulitis stages: Rash, Pain, Itchy, Sepsis and Recurrent

Life is full of bumps and scrapes. Most of us think nothing about cutting ourselves while slicing food for dinner, gardening, doing home DIY construction projects, or working on an automobile. Even while playing with a new kitten you might get clawed in fun. Sadly, such a small break in the skin can lead to a serious and even lethal health condition referred to as cellulitis.

Understanding Your Skin’s Microbiome

Your skin is a microbiome home to millions of flourishing bacterial colonies. As the human body’s largest organ, they colonize the skin on the microbiota such as bacteria, fungi, mites, and viruses. Most of the organisms are harmless and beneficial to our genome.

They form a symbiotic relationship with your skin and protect it from potentially harmful organisms. Even more amazing is the fact the organisms living on your skin’s surface act as teachers to your body’s T cells. They teach the cells to aggressively respond to dangerous pathogenic invaders. Your skin’s ecosystem is a delicate relationship.

Cellulitis Formation

Any disruption can lead to skin infections or disorders. If there is a break in the skin’s armor, such as a scratch, then bacteria from the skin can enter the body and cellulitis can rapidly form. Although cellulitis is not common in healthy young adults, it poses a problem for the elderly, children, babies, and those with a weak immune system. This is the beginning stages.

Additional ways you can develop cellulitis besides trauma include:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Insufficient blood flow to the arms or legs
  • Poor lymphatic drainage
  • Varicose veins that become twisted or enlarged.
  • Liver disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Chickenpox

Understanding Cellulitis Healing Stages

The first line of defense when combating cellulitis is antibiotics and keeping the wound clean. You might also want to boost your immunity by increasing your consumption of supplements or perhaps try alternative forms of medicine. In extreme cases, drainage, surgery to remove decaying flesh, and amputation might become a reality. The cellulitis healing stages take time.

What is a Cellulitis Rash?

A simple fungal infection such as athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) or impetigo can lead to cellulitis. With such fungal infections, the skin is dry and itch. However, when it turns red, develop bumps, form blisters, or become intensely itchy the parameters have changed and you have developed a cellulitis rash. Any time you have a rash on arms, legs, hands, feet, or other body areas that have morphed into something extreme then it is time to seek care. Please examine the following rash pictures. A rash is one of the early stages.

The Reality of Cellulitis Pain

Any deep tissue pain stimulates the nerve endings and triggers extreme discomfort. Cellulitis pain is often so severe that you cannot walk or function. If the infection occurs in the anus, scrotum, penis, or vagina the pain is often excruciating and requires hospitalization. Over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or the anti-inflammatory ibuprofen (Motrin) can bring relief in minor cases but more severe opioids are required for extreme cases.

Wondering is Cellulitis Itchy?

Itching shows healing and happens during the recovery stages. The body creates new cells and the cells join together. They contract to close the tissue. The closure mechanism spurs the body’s itching nerves. Your spinal cord then signals your brain and you feel the urge to itch. Cellulitis itchy characteristics are a good sign that you are the way to mending.

What is Cellulitis Sepsis?

Sepsis occurs when the body launches a massive immune response when bacteria enter the bloodstream. Cellulitis sepsis is a life-threatening occurrence that can cause systemwide organ failure and eventually damage the cardiovascular system. With sepsis, the bacteria itself does not kill, but the out-of-control immune response that attacks not only the bacteria but also the organs.

Treatment includes:

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Central lines
  • Vasopressors
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Organ support

Surgery to remove the decayed tissue and stop the bacterial invasion from seeping into the blood.

The Reality of Recurrent Cellulitis

Many individuals who are weakened are prone to additional infections. There are many theories involved with recurrent cellulitis. Without a doubt, seniors, diabetics, and those with immune system disorders will always be at risk of contracted the infection again.

However, unclean living conditions and personal hygienic practices might also cause ongoing bouts. It is imperative that living quarters be clean and sanitary. In addition, regular showering is imperative.

Coping with Chronic Cellulitis

Individuals who have ongoing cellulitis often have wide-scale lymphatic drainage system damage. Once the drainage flow of the lymph nodes is impaired, the fluid accumulates and cause limb swelling. Chronic cellulitis often spreads to the deep layers (fascial lining) causing necrotizing which becomes an emergency and can be life-threatening without immediate care.

Prevention of Chronic Cellulitis

It is critical that you keep your skin clean. Regular moisturizing helps prevent cracks and fissures. You must wear protective clothing and footwear when outside to prevent bug bites or cuts. Also, wear gloves when working in the yard or out in severe winter weather which can dry out the skin and cause cracking. Keep fingernails trimmed or toenails at a manageable length.



Article References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535073/
  2. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/c/cellulitis.html
  3. https://advancedtissue.com/2014/10/understanding-wound-healing-itching-dilemma/
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305782.php
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cellulitis/expert-answers/cellulitis/faq-20058135