What is cellulitis?
Cellulitis is a non-suppurating spreading inflammation and infection of deeper layers of the skin (dermis) and underneath subcutaneous tissues. Generally, cellulitis is subcutaneous but can also happen to occur in the other areas of the body such as pelvis and perinephric areas. Normal flora and exogenous bacteria both can cause cellulitis.
What causes cellulitis?
Beta hemolytic streptococci (group A streptococci) are the main culprits of cellulitis. Hyaluronidase and streptokinase enzymes produced by these bacteria dissolve the intercellular matrix and the fibrin barrier respectively. These reactions lead to the development and spread of cellulitis.
What are the risk factors of cellulits?
Skin cracks, skin cuts, blisters, burns, surgical wounds, trauma, ulcers, insect bites, corticosteroid medication, immunity suppressing drugs, peripheral vascular disease, intravenous drug injections and catheterization can precipitate cellulitis. Moreover, dry skin, eczema, tattoos, diabetes and obesity also contribute to cellulitis. Most commonly cellulitis involves face and lower limbs.
What are the signs and symptoms of cellulitis?
Symptoms: Pain or tenderness, skin rash, muscle aches, and fatigue are common symptoms of cellulitis.
Signs: Fever, rigors and chills, warm and red skin with glassy appearance, and local edema are the signs of cellulitis. Skin blanches on pressure and vesicles may also be seen in the area of cellulitis. In severe cases, gangrene may develop and septicemia may happen to occur.
What is the treatment of cellulitis?
Immobilization, elevation of limbs and proper selection of antibiotics are the main stay of treatment. Antibiotic like intravenous benzyl penicillin is taken for streptococcal infection and macrolides in the allergic cases. Intravenous benzyl penicillin for streptococci can be substituted if necessary. Moreover, general health care and proper dressing are also important. Discontinuation of precipitating agents like immune suppressing and steroid drugs is recommended.
How to prevent cellulitis?
Cellullitis can be prevented by proper hygiene, healthy foods, treating the chronic diseases, and proper care of the skin.
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