Cellulitis is a condition that not everyone has heard of. It is a reaction your body can have to infection, and it comes in several forms. Understanding what cellulitis is, and how it develops, will help you learn how to treat any case you may have, and how to avoid it in the future. It can appear all over the face and body, and it can range in severity. You will need a diagnosis and medication to be able to combat cellulitis. For this reason, if you do feel you may be coming down with it, your first stop should be your local doctor.
What is Cellulitis?
In its essence, cellulitis is an infection of multiple layers of your skin. Whereas sometimes only the top layer of the skin is affected, cellulitis is an infection that takes root deeper in the skin. The infection is caused by the presence of bacteria. The most common bacteria's to cause this condition are from a group known as A Streptococcus, which you may have heard referred to as “group A strep.”
Cellulitis is characterized by redness, swelling, flaky or itchy skin and pain in the affected areas. It can cause you to develop a fever and weeping on the skin can also be present. It is more common to get cellulitis on the feet or legs, especially the calves. However, it can take place anywhere, including the arms, hands and face. There is also a form of it that can affect the eyes, known as periorbital cellulitis, which can be serious and is very important to treat right away.
How do you get Cellulitis?
All that is required for cellulitis to enter your body is some kind of opening. A cut, abrasion, surgical wound or other injury can introduce bacteria into the body. Even tattoos and piercings could be the cause of this kind of infection.
Besides a puncture of some kind, another risk factor is being overweight. Having extra weight, a condition where your limbs swell such as gout or diabetes and any lymphatic disruptions are all ways that cellulitis can occur or become worse. Lastly, if you have had heart surgery you are also at a higher risk.
What is the Treatment?
Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose you through physical examination. You will most likely not need to undergo extra blood or tissue testing. Because it is a bacterial infection, you will need to take a course of antibiotics prescribed especially for your condition.
You will also need to take special care with your wound, if it was a cut or injury that caused the infection. This means cleaning your hands and the area around the wound regularly. It also means that you will have to keep the actual cut dry and change the bandages often.
The most important thing to do to avoid problems with cellulitis is to keep your wounds clean, and to seek professional help as soon as you see an infection. Working with your doctor, you will be able to dry up and treat your cellulitis before it is able to become a real issue.