What is cellulitis?
Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection that can spread quickly and can be very serious.
Cellulitis is caused by bacteria that get into your skin. Bacteria are most likely to enter your skin where you have a cut, insect bite, scrape, burn, puncture wound, or patches of dry skin.
Cellulitis is often caused by staphylococcus bacteria.
Symptoms of cellulitis include skin redness, swelling, warmth, pain, and sometimes blisters with yellow fluid.
You can also sometimes experience fever and swollen lymph nodes.
The infection is most common on the legs but can happen anywhere on the body.
In a couple of days, it could spread from a spot the size of a quarter on your calf to cover your entire lower leg.
If the infection gets into the bloodstream, you can have high fever, low blood pressure, and shutdown of some of your organs.
Risk is higher for people who are overweight, have a weakened immune system, have other skin diseases (like eczema or athlete's foot), already have a swollen arm or leg, use IV drugs, or have had cellulitis before.
Doctors diagnose cellulitis based on how your skin looks. There are no tests to tell for sure.
Cellulitis is typically treated with antibiotics taken by mouth but, sometimes, when there is serious infection, by vein in the hospital.
If you have cellulitis in your leg, doctors will ask you to elevate it.
To prevent cellulitis, keep skin wounds clean, cover them with a bandage, and apply an antibiotic cream for protection.
You should also treat fungal infections such as athlete's foot and other skin conditions to help heal any breaks in the skin.
If you have diabetes or poor circulation, examine your feet every day, use a moisturizer, and avoid injury by wearing proper shoes.
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