What Is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of skin tissue that can cause the skin to look reddish, swollen, feel soft and painful when pressed. This condition often attacks the skin of the lower limbs, but it is possible to attack other body parts as well. Anyone can experience cellulitis, including children and the elderly.

Cellulitis is a condition that can endanger life if it is not treated immediately, because this infection can spread through lymph nodes and blood vessels by invading tissue under the skin. Even so, cellulitis is not an infectious skin disease because this infection attacks the inner skin tissue (subcutaneous tissue or dermis) and the upper part of the skin (epidermis) which does not directly contact the outside world.

Causes of Cellulitis
Most cases of cellulitis are caused by S treptococcus and S taphylococcus bacteria that enter from wounds on the skin, such as surgical wounds, scratches, and insect bites, or on irritated skin and swollen skin. Cellulitis can also occur in various skin diseases, such as tinea pedis , eczema, or psoriasis , and because of radiotherapy .

Apart from these two main bacteria, there are also several other bacteria that can cause cellulitis and live in the surrounding environment, such as:
  • Hemophilus influenzae. These bacteria generally attack 6-year-old children on the face, arms and upper body.
  • Pasteurella multocida. These bacteria can be transmitted through bites or scratches of dogs or cats, with a 24-hour incubation time.
  • Aeromonas hydrophillia and Vibrio vulnificus. Both of these bacteria can be found in fresh water and sea water.
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacteria arise in stab wounds.
Until now, it is not yet known exactly what the main trigger for a person can get cellulitis. However, there are several risk factors that need to be considered, such as:
  • Obesity.
  • Poor blood flow to the arms, hands, legs or feet.
  • The immune system is low, for example due to suffering from HIV / AIDS , is taking immunosuppressant drugs (immune system suppressant) , or is undergoing chemotherapy .
  • Diabetes .
  • Have had cellulitis before.
  • Using injection drugs.
  • Experiencing lymphedema .  
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Cellulitis Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of cellulitis commonly experienced by sufferers include:
  • Reddish skin that has the potential to spread.
  • Swelling.
  • Pain.
  • Fever.
  • Red spots appear.
  • Blistered skin.
  • Purulent or runny skin (yellow or clear liquid appears)
See a doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of cellulitis, especially if there are other additional symptoms, such as:
  • Numbness in the infected part.
  • Pain and signs of inflammation increase.
  • Dizzy.
  • Shivering.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Pounding.
  • Crowded
  • The surrounding skin color looks pale and feels cold.
  • Decreased level of consciousness.

Diagnosis of Cellulitis
Cellulitis is not easy to diagnose because it has symptoms that are similar to the symptoms of skin inflammation in general. To be sure, the doctor will do a physical examination and also ask the patient's health history and the factors that trigger the symptoms to appear.

To confirm the results of the diagnosis, the following tests will also be carried out:
  • Blood test. To see if there is an infection, that is from the number of white blood cells.
  • Culture test. In this test, a liquid sample from the wound will be taken and examined for bacteria.
  • X-ray To see the focus of infection under the skin, including bones.

Cellulitis Treatment
In general, cellulitis treatment will be adjusted to the type and severity of the infection, as well as the overall condition of the patient. Oral antibiotics are usually the first treatment option for people with cellulitis, with a usage period of 7-14 days.

If the patient's condition does not improve after 10 days or the symptoms worsen, the doctor will advise the patient to undergo treatment in the hospital so that antibiotics and other drugs can be given by injection. It is also commonly recommended for patients who have a weak immune system, fever, and hypertension.

In rare cases, the doctor will recommend surgery if pus or abscess is found. This is done to remove pus or abscesses from the tissue and cut off dead tissue to facilitate the healing process.

During the recovery period, some treatments can be done at home according to the doctor's instructions, including:
  • Take pain medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen .
  • Elevate the infected part of the body using a soft base for support.
  • Regularly moving infected members of the body so that they don't become
  • Avoid using compression stockings for a while if you are a lymphedema sufferer, until cellulitis heals.
  • Eating enough water.

Cellulitis Complications
Untreated cellulitis can spread to other parts of the body and can attack the lower part of the skin, such as lymph nodes, blood vessels, and deepest layers. This can lead to complications such as:
  • Blood infection.
  • Sepsis .
  • Bone infection.
  • Lymphadenitis .
  • Gangrene .
  • Spread of infection to the deepest layer or fascial lining (necrotizing fasciitis) . This is a medical emergency.

Prevention of Cellulitis
Cellulitis can be prevented by doing the following:
  • Always keep skin and wound clean using soap and water.
  • Cover the wound with tape to avoid infection.
  • Always ensure that your wound has no signs of infection.
  • Use footwear when outside the home.
  • Use a moisturizer every day to avoid dry or cracked skin.
  • Cut your toenails and hands carefully to avoid injury.
  • Maintain weight to avoid obesity.

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