Cellulitis is a very serious bacterial infection of the skin and underlying fat tissue.

This condition is not to be confused with cellulite, a cosmetic condition where unattractive lumps of fat is observed in the thighs, stomach, and buttock areas.

Symptoms of Cellulitis

The symptoms of cellulitis include:

  • Red, swollen skin
  • Warm or hot area in the skin
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Orange-peel look of the skin
  • Fever and chills
  • May or may not be accompanied by headaches

Cellulitis is often accompanied by other disorders, such as chickenpox, varicose veins, leg ulcers, and chronic venous insufficiency. It can also occur after skin injury or during healing of a surgical wound.

Cellulitis at vaccination site
Cellulitis in a child due to infection at vaccination site.

Left untreated, the infection can spread to the bloodstream in a life-threatening condition called septicemia.

In rare cases, secondary infections such as fasciitis can develop. In fasciitis, infection by "flesh eating bacteria" can cause rapid destruction of skin, fat, and connective tissue. In this case, surgery to cut away infected tissue is the only option.

Who Gets Cellulitis?

Although it can occur in anyone, the following people are more susceptible to cellulitis:

  • Those with venous conditions, such as varicose vein, venous insufficiency
  • Those with leg ulcers
  • Those with prior episodes of cellulitis
  • Those who have healing surgical wounds

Prevention of Cellulitis

To prevent bacteria from entering openings in the skin, wash all wounds, scraps, cuts, and insect bites with antibacterial soap.

When Should I See a Doctor About Cellulitis?

Immediately - cellulitis need to be treated as early as possible. If not, it can develop into serious, life-threatening conditions.

Treatment of Cellulitis

When caught early, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics.

For more advanced cases, or if oral antibiotics do not work, then a hospital stay is required. An intravenous antibiotic treatment is administered.

Main Menu
Health Articles
Health News
Health Research
Site Map

Health Conditions
Cardiovascular Health
Digestive Health
Infectous Diseases
Musculoskeletal Health
Pregnancy & Childbirth
Skin Health

Misc. Health Articles
Presidential Diseases

Skin Conditions
All Skin Conditions

©copyright 2004 - Health In Plain English. All Rights Reserved.

Health Articles Health News Health Research Explained in Plain English