06 Jan Could You Have Cellulitis?
Cellulitis is an unpleasant skin condition caused by an infection of the outer layer of the skin and the tissues beneath it. Usually, the infected skin will appear swollen and it will be painful and warm when touched. This condition is commonly caused by the spread of bacteria in the skin tissues. Here are some of the important facts you need to know about this disease.
What Causes Cellulitis?
Certain conditions can lead to the entrance and spread of bacteria that causes this disease. These conditions include infection of the bones through an open wound, the presence of foreign objects in the soft tissues of the skin, and prolonged skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Other causes include infection of the skin after a surgical operation and injuries that cut through the skin. You could also be at risk of having this disease if you have chronic hepatitis or liver cirrhosis, poor blood circulation to your arms or legs, varicose veins, diabetes, or any form of trauma on your skin.
Symptoms of Cellulitis
Symptoms may appear on virtually any section of the body. But it is more commonly found on damaged areas such as: skin around dirty cuts, inflamed wounds, and places that don’t have adequate blood circulation. Some of the symptoms you need to look out for include: higher temperature, swelling, redness, tenderness, pain, and the outflow of pus, yellow, or clear fluid from the skin.
Diagnosis for Cellulitis
You should visit your physician or health care provider immediately if you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above. But you must seek prompt medical attention if you also experience high fever, vomiting, nausea, severe pain, or numbness of the infected area.
Your physician will normally carry out a medical examination and request for your medical history. Some of the tests that will be done include: a culture, x-ray and blood test. The culture involves using a needle to extract fluid from the infected area for examination in the lab. Your x-ray result will reveal the presence of any foreign object or infected bone, while the blood test will show if the infection has affected your blood.
The type of treatment offered is based on the severity of the condition. Typically, your doctor will recommend that you rest the affected area. You may also need to elevate it to cut down the swelling and discomfort. You will need to take pain relievers like ibuprofen to reduce pain and suppress the fever.
When there is a severe infection, you may have to take intramuscular or intravenous antibiotics. This will usually be followed by oral antibiotics for a week or two. For more severe cases, hospital admission may be required for two to three days. In some cases, surgery may be done to remove dead tissue, or drain out pus, in order to speed up the healing process.
If you have any of the symptoms highlighted above, seek prompt medical attention. Don’t let the condition get worse because any infection that is not treated promptly could spread to other parts of the body.
Dr. Sue Reddy specializes in the treatment of infectious disease among many other specialties. She understands what is required to live a healthy, active life. Please feel free to take a look around her website and if you feel she provides services you may be interested in, give Dr. Reddy a call. Her staff would be more than happy to set up an appointment and answer any questions you may have.