Cellulitis involves inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, usually due to an acute infection. The common pathogens linked with cellulitis include staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus pyogenes.
Cellulitis is usually brought about by any breach in the skin such as a puncture wound, laceration or insect bites. Oftentimes, the breakage is so small that it could not be seen by the naked eye. The organisms already present on the skin can enter the dermis and start to multiply.
It is evident that individuals who have diminished level of immunity are at higher risk for developing cellulitis, including those with diabetes. Other risk factors include the following:
- Pressure ulcers
- Lymphatic obstruction
- Venous insufficiency
- Chronic kidney or liver disease
- Tinea pedis
- Bites from insects or animals
- Trauma or injury that results to a break in the skin
Indications of cellulitis
Similar with other infections, the characteristic indications of infection might be present such as pain, redness, edema and warmth. The individual will also experience the following:
- Malaise, fever and chills
- Swollen lymph nodes close to the infected area
- Lymphangitic spread
How is it diagnosed
Essentially, cellulitis is easy to diagnose. The affected area is usually warm, red and tender to the touch. Edema is also present in varying degrees. If the infection is severe, the individual might appear sick.
For mild cases of cellulitis, oral antibiotics are used. As for severe cases of infections, it requires treatment using intravenous antibiotics. In case cellulitis develops after an abscess, it requires drainage. If facial cellulitis or periorbital cellulitis develops, it often requires admission in a healthcare facility so that intravenous antibiotics can be started since the infection might spread to the eyes.
It is important to note that cellulitis can trigger sepsis among susceptible individuals. In such cases, being admitted to a healthcare facility especially in an intensive care unit is needed.