Cellulitis… A Simple Guide

In this article, we're tackling a topic that might have you scratching your head: cellulitis.

Despite common belief, cellulitis isn't something you get from forgetting to lotion up, nor is it some secret form of cellulite. Cellulitis is actually a common skin infection that can come knocking on anyone's door, causing redness, swelling, and discomfort.

Thankfully, armed with the right know-how and practical tips, you can kick cellulitis to the curb and keep your skin in tip-top shape.

What is cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection that can affect anyone, causing redness, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area. It often occurs in the legs but can also develop in other body parts.

What causes cellulitis?

Cellulitis is usually caused by bacteria entering the skin through a cut, scrape, or other break in the skin barrier. Common bacteria responsible for cellulitis include Staphylococcus and Streptococcus.

What are the symptoms of cellulitis?

Common symptoms of cellulitis include redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the affected area. Sometimes, people may also experience fever, chills, and enlarged lymph nodes near the area of infection.

How is cellulitis diagnosed?

Diagnosis is typically based on the appearance of the affected skin and the symptoms described. In some cases, a healthcare provider may also perform a blood test or a culture of the affected area to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection.

How is cellulitis treated?

Cellulitis is usually treated with a course of oral antibiotics. In more severe cases, hospitalisation and intravenous antibiotics may be necessary. It's important to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed by a healthcare provider.

Can cellulitis be prevented?

While it's not always possible to prevent cellulitis, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, such as practising good wound care, keeping your skin moisturised, and promptly treating any breaks in the skin.

Is cellulitis contagious?

Cellulitis itself is not contagious, but the bacteria that cause cellulitis can be spread through contact with infected skin. It's important to practice good hygiene and avoid sharing personal items if you have cellulitis.

When should I seek medical attention for cellulitis?

If you suspect you have cellulitis, you should seek medical attention promptly. Signs that warrant immediate attention include rapidly spreading redness, fever, severe pain, or if you have a weakened immune system.

Can cellulitis recur?

Yes, cellulitis can recur, especially in people who have underlying conditions that predispose them to recurrent infections. Working with a healthcare provider to manage any underlying conditions can help reduce the risk of recurrence.

What are the potential complications of cellulitis?

If left untreated, cellulitis can lead to serious complications such as the spread of infection to the bloodstream or deep tissues, known as sepsis or necrotizing fasciitis, respectively. That's why seeking prompt treatment is crucial.