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Footnotes / Blog

Cellulitis: A Bacterial Skin Infection

Sunday, December 10th, 2017 Elizabeth Anthony

What is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis may first appear as a red, swollen area that feels hot and tender to the touch. The redness and swelling often spread rapidly. Cellulitis is usually painful.

  • Where Does Cellulitis Occur?
    • In most cases, the skin on the lower legs is affected, although the infection can occur anywhere on your body or face. Cellulitis usually affects the surface of your skin, but it may also affect the underlying tissues of your skin. Cellulitis can also spread to your lymph nodes and bloodstream.

Treatment

  • Minor cellulitis can be treated successfully with oral antibiotics. Intravenous antibiotics are required for more severe infections, or cellulitis that is not adequately treated with oral medication.
  • What Happens if Cellulitis is Not Treated?
    • If cellulitis isn’t treated, the infection might spread and become life-threatening. You should get medical help right away if you experience the symptoms of cellulitis.

What are risk factors for developing cellulitis?

  • Breaks in the skin
    • Cuts, puncture wounds, or insect bites.
    • If cellulitis develops without an apparent skin injury, it could be due to tiny cracks in the skin that are inflamed or irritated.
    • Near ulcers(open sores) or surgical wounds.
  • Cellulitis can occur where there has been no skin break at all, such as with chronic swollen legs.
    • A preexisting skin infection, such as athlete’s foot can also be a risk factor.
    • Inflammatory diseases of the skin such as eczema, psoriasis, or skin damage caused by radiation therapy can lead to cellulitis.
  • Disease that suppress the immune system also place patients at increased risk of developing cellulitis.
    • People who have diabetes or diseases that compromise the function of the immune system (Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy) are particularly prone to developing cellulitis.
  • Reduced circluation of blood and lymph to lower extremities  (caused by venous insufficiency, obesity, pregnancy, or surgeries) also increase the risk of developing cellulitis.

If you are worried you may have cellulitis in your feet or lower legs, make an appointment with one of the licensed podiatrists at Innovative Foot and Ankle. We have four locations in the northern New Jersey Counties of Essex, Union, Bergen and Hudson.