Cellulitis – Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and tissue under the skin. This happens when bacteria enter from the open skin (wound) and spread. The result is an infection that can cause swelling, redness, pain, or warmth on the skin.

What is cellulitis?

Keep in mind, cellulitis is a condition that can be life threatening if you do not get proper treatment. The resulting infection can spread through blood vessels and lymph nodes by invading tissue under the skin.

Cellulitis is not a disease that can be transmitted due to infections that occur attacking the inner skin tissue and the top of the skin that does not contact directly with the outside world.

However, infections caused by cellulitis can spread quickly and sometimes are accompanied by pain, swelling and a warm sensation. In severe cases, the infection can even spread to the bloodstream, resulting in sepsis which makes the swelling expand and form blood clots.

In addition, cellulitis is a skin disease that can develop in all parts of the body, but the part of the body most often affected by cellulitis is the lower leg, followed by the neck and head.

This infection usually develops due to open wounds and pus. Bacteria on infected skin produce enzymes that inhibit the ability of tissues to limit the spread of infection.

Often cellulitis can be treated with antibiotic therapy for two to three weeks. However, if the infection has spread to the deeper layers of the skin before being diagnosed successfully and getting a coronation, the patient has the possibility of experiencing complications that can endanger his life.

Causes of Cellulitis

Most cases of cellulitis are caused by the bacteria Streptococcus and Staphylococcus which enter from wounds on the skin, such as surgical wounds, scratches, insect bites, or skin irritations. In addition to the two main bacteria, there are also several other things that can cause cellulitis:

  • Injury that tore the skin.
  • Infection after surgery.
  • Long-term skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
  • Foreign body on skin.
  • Bone infections under the skin (for example, open sores that are long and deep enough to expose bones to bacteria).

You are at risk for cellulitis if you have:

  • Trauma to the skin.
  • Diabetes.
  • Problems with blood circulation, such as insufficient blood flow to the arms and legs, poor drainage of blood vessels or the lymphatic system, or varicose veins (enlarged blood vessels near the surface of the skin).
  • Liver disease such as chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis.
  • Skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, or infectious diseases that cause sores, such as smallpox.

In addition, there are also several other bacteria that can cause cellulitis and live in the surrounding environment, namely:

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This bacterium arises in stab wounds
  • Aeromonas hydrophila and Vibrio vulnificus. Both of these bacteria can be found in fresh water and sea water.
  • Pasteurella multocida. This bacterium can be transmitted by dog ​​or cat scratches or scratches, with an incubation time of 24 hours.
  • Haemophilus influenzae. This bacterium commonly attacks 6-year-olds on the face, arms and upper body.

Symptoms of cellulitis

Within 24 hours of having an infection, usually the symptoms of cellulitis will show its development. Symptoms of cellulitis can also get worse in a short time. When the infection spreads to the surrounding tissue, symptoms that can develop, namely:

  • The skin will look more shiny.
  • Small pimples or blisters appear on the skin.
  • Pus appears.
  • Fever occurs.

Cellulitis can occur in almost every part of the body. However, the most common areas of the body are areas that have been damaged or inflamed due to other reasons, such as injuries, contaminated wounds, and areas with poor circulation. Frequent symptoms include:

  • Reddish.
  • Scratch red.
  • Swelling.
  • Warm to the skin.
  • Pain or aches.
  • The presence of clear fluid or pus out of the skin.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following signs:

  • High fever or chills.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Blushed areas become enlarged or hardened.
  • Pain is increasing.
  • Decreased level of consciousness.
  • Numbness in the area of ​​pain when touched.
  • Pain and signs of inflammation increase.
  • The surrounding skin color looks pale and feels cold.
  • Other medical problems that can be affected by mild infections.

Cellulitis diagnosis

Because it has symptoms that are almost similar to skin inflammation in general, cellulitis is not easy to diagnose. To be sure, the doctor will conduct a physical examination and medical history.

Here are some tests that can be done, including:

  • Blood tests if the infection is suspected to have spread to the blood.
  • X-ray if there is a foreign body in the skin or bone under it causes infection.
  • Tissue culture examination. The doctor will use a needle to take fluid from the affected area and send it to the laboratory.

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