Cellulitis is one of the common but potentially serious skin infection caused by bacteria. It causes redness and swelling on the affected area which may become tender and hot. This problem can spread easily to other parts causing serious complications. Very often cellulitis develops on the lower legs but it may occur on any other part also. Apart from infecting the skin’s upper layer, the bacteria will also attack the underlying tissues and even the lymph nodes. If left untreated for long, it can cause dangerous consequences and can be fatal.
The major cause for cellulitis infection is the staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria. If there is any cut or wound in the skin, bacteria can easily gain entry causing infection and swelling.
Some of the risk factors that trigger bacterial attack are the presence of cracks on the toes, injury on the skin causing wounds or cuts, insect bites, animal bites and stings, history of peripheral vascular disease and prolonged use of corticosteroid medicines. Bacteria can enter into the skin through the cracks or breaks in the skin.
People who are operated recently are also under the risk of getting this infection if the wound is not properly covered and dressed. Do not expose the skin that is dry and flaky which may also trigger the bacterial attack.
Redness, pain and swelling are the major symptoms of cellulitis. The affected person may get fever and may feel warmth in the affected leg or toes. As time passes, the redness may rapidly spread to other parts of the leg and you can see tiny red spots on the skin layer. It would resemble small red blisters that are ready to burst. The skin may look as if it is stretched or glossy. You can find tiny blisters that may occur rapidly within few hours on the skin of the legs.
Some people may feel fatigue and discomfort with muscle aches and moderate pain in the legs.
Your doctor may examine the body physically and look for the symptoms like redness, swelling and warmth on the skin. If needed he may do blood culture and complete blood profile for detecting the presence of bacteria.
Antibiotics are given orally combined with painkillers. You should keep the infected leg or toes in elevated position to reduce inflammation. You need to take rest for few days until the symptoms completely disappear.
Some individuals are treated as in-patients in case they look very sick running with high fever and blood pressure. People with history of autoimmune disorders like HIV are admitted and put on IV fluids to stop the growth of bacteria.
Your doctor will monitor whether the given antibiotic is acting on the bacteria to control infection or not. You will be asked to take the course of antibiotics for 14 days. Strong antibiotics are prescribed to destroy staphylococcus bacteria.
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You should keep the wounds clean and wash it off with soap water and apply antibiotic cream on it. Further you need to inspect your feet daily for any signs of injury or red spots. Use moisturizing lotion liberally to prevent dry skin. In case you have any skin infection on the foot, you need to take treatment quickly.