Adult cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that involves the deep tissues under the skin. In most cases, it often develops in the legs, but can occur in any part of the body. Remember that this condition is not contagious.
Who are at risk?
Any individual at any age with a sore, cut, scrape, insect bite or other form of open wound can develop cellulitis. Any injuries in the water or dirty environments can put an individual at high risk for the infection. Other risk factors include the following:
- Conditions that involve skin inflammation such as eczema
- Infections of the skin such as scabies, impetigo or athlete’s foot
- Dog or cat bites
- Edema in the legs or arms
- Liposuction for removal of excess fat
- Fragile skin
- Being exposed to MRSA
- Skin ulcers
- Use of illegal drugs via injection
In some individuals, those who have a weakened immune system due to certain conditions or diabetes can develop cellulitis without any sore or wound. The elderly and those who have poor circulation are also at risk.
Causes of cellulitis
Cellulitis can be due to various bacteria. The most common cause is an infection by the streptococcus bacteria. In some cases, it can also be due to staphylococcus. The bacteria can enter the skin via a wound or swollen skin.
Indications of cellulitis
An individual with cellulitis might notice symptoms in the affected area before he/she starts to feel sick. The typical symptoms include tenderness, pain and redness of the affected area as the body tries to fight off the infection. Other symptoms that can occur include the following:
- Skin that is warm to the touch
- Swollen or inflamed skin
- Skin with “pitted” appearance
- Blisters filled with fluid
- Rapid pulse rate
- Drainage from the skin
- Swollen lymph nodes close to the affected area
Once any of these symptoms are present, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Diagnosing adult cellulitis
The doctor can diagnose the condition by basing on the symptoms and a visual assessment of the affected skin. A sample of blood or pus might be taken to confirm a diagnosis in some cases.
If the individual has frequent infections, the doctor might require a glucose test to check if he/she has diabetes. Take note that this condition might be responsible for causing the condition as well as other health conditions.
Treatment for cellulitis
In most cases, cellulitis can be managed using antibiotics such as cephalexin or dicloxacillin. It is important to note that these are taken orally.
As for serious cases, the doctor might prescribe intravenous antibiotics. This is needed for cases that involve high fever. These medications can be administered in the clinic or hospital. The application of a warm compress or cool dressing can be applied over the affected area to minimize the symptoms as well as the irritation. In addition, elevation of the affected area can also reduce the swelling.