What is Cellulitis? Causes, Definition, Symptoms and Treatment

Cellulitis occurs because of an aggressive bacterial infection. The bacteria set a path to invade the deepest layers (dermis) and infect the tissue. The infectious spread battles any area of the body with an unrelenting onslaught. Left untreated, the contagion rapidly progresses through the bloodstream and becomes lethal.

Understanding What is Cellulitis

Bacteria breach the body’s defenses. The infected area becomes burgundy and bulging. If you lay your hand on the protruding region, it will feel blazing hot and tender when palpitated. The inflammation spreads like wildfire and is usually torturously painful. The most common afflicted area is the calves, ankles, and feet, but the impurity can strike anywhere. If you wonder, ‘what is cellulitis’ you remember that even though the symptoms arise on the skin’s surface, it goes much deeper into the tissue. Let go, it enters the lymph nodes and travels via the bloodstream to far-reaching regions. The duration can be rapid.

The Cellulitis Definition

If you are wondering what does it all mean, then you are not alone. It is a confusing disorder. The cellulitis definition is, spreading bacterial infection. The rampant disease becomes fatal quickly if not treated.

The Many Cellulitis Symptoms

The early signs are not much different from any skin infections. The first signs are just redness, pus, and inflammation.

The disorder progresses rapidly. Cellulitis symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Redness
  • Tight skin
  • Abscess
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Red Streaks
  • Blistering

Understanding What Causes Cellulitis

Are you wondering how do you get it? What causes cellulitis is commonly streptococcus and staphylococcus. Recently, new bacteria have emerged that is frightening and sending hospitals and nursing homes scrambling. They call the bacteria methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

MRSA is prevalent in humid regions such as the American Southeast. The bacteria penetrate the skin through a cut ulcer, dermatitis, eczema, ulcer, puncture wound, or athlete’s foot. A pooch, cat or wild animal attack and bite often lead to cellulitis.

What Does it Look Like? The Appearance of Cellulitis

The afflicted area will appear red, feel warm, and be swollen. The degree of pain varies depending on the involved tissue. At an advanced stage, it is purulent, The definition of purulent is excessive pus.

What is the Cellulitis Treatment

The diagnosis of cellulitis is scary. You realize that you have a potentially life-threatening infection. If you are wondering how to treat cellulitis then you will have to sit down and discuss the situation with your physician. The diagnosis is usually visual but the doctor might run tests to determine the bacteria type.

Cellulitis Treatment Types

Antibiotics are the golden nugget that will destroy the bacteria. A course of 7 to 14 days will usually cure the problem.

If the cellulitis has progressed to gangrene, then you might require surgical resection of the decaying tissue.

Keep the wound covered with a sterile bandage or cloth wrapping.

Stay in bed and rest. There is nothing comparable to a good night’s sleep to stimulate the body’s recovery process.

Raise your extremities if you have swelling in the region. Use pillows to keep them higher than your body.

Treat the underlying condition, such as the fungal infection athlete’s foot, which cause the tears in the skin.

Preventing Cellulitis

If you have had the cellulitis in the past, then you are more vulnerable and prone towards developing the condition again. If you sustain a laceration or tear, then you must cover the wound with a bandage and change the dressing regularly. Eventually, a scab will form and then it is okay to air out the lesion.

If you suffer from poor circulation, then you must practice good hygiene coupled with additional precautions. Moisturize your skin frequently to keep it loose and nimble, so it does not crack when dry. You should also wear protective clothing when playing sports or performing outdoor chores. Your feet are dangerously vulnerable to injury so always wear comfortable shoes. Avoid shoes that are too tight or they could cause blisters.

Risk Factors

Risk factors include:

  • Injury: An abrasion, tear, burn, or scrape create an entry point for bacteria. Without such an injury, your skin is like a suit of protection, but when breached it becomes susceptible.
  • Immune System: If you have cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, COPD, or some other chronic health disorder then you are an increased risk.
  • Chronic Skin Disorders: Shingles, eczema, herpes, fungal infections, and acne place the skin at risk for a bacterial invasion.
  • Lymphedema: Lymphedema is a disorder of the body’s lymphatic system and puts you at increased risk.
  • Obesity: Any time you are overweight your skin is defenseless. The rolls of fat can harbor fungus and experience irritation.
  • Chronic Swelling of Extremities: Cancer chemotherapy, radiation, and other chronic health problems often lead to bouts of cellulitis.
  • Past Cellulitis: If you have experienced cellulitis then you might more easily develop it in the future.

Bacteria Causing Cellulitis

The bacteria is as follows:

Beta-hemolytic streptococci fall int into one group of A, B, C, G, and F and also includes Strep (erysipelas).

The mouth of your beloved house pet such as Fido or kitty (feline) is overflowing with Pasteurella multocida bacteria which makes bites especially troublesome. A puncture wound from a canine tooth can lead to cellulitis within 24 hours.

Additional nightmares for bacteria lurk in seawater and freshwater. Both can contain Aeromonas hydrophilia and Vibrio vulnificus which quickly invade a wound. Pseudomonas aeruginosa can also cause extreme infections. Children who develop the condition have usually contracted Hemophilus influenzae.



Article References:

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000855.htm
  2. https://www.livescience.com/63991-cellulitis.html
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cellulitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20370762
  4. https://www.medicinenet.com/cellulitis/article.htm#what_causes_cellulitis_is_cellulitis_contagious


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