Cellulitis Skin Infection Diagnosis and Treatment

There are different kinds of skin infection and one of them is the cellulitis skin infection. Cellulitis is the condition wherein the skin is invaded by infectious bacteria up to the deepest layers. It is a spreading inflammation of the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue even extending to the muscles in some cases. The infection may go even deeper and flow into the bloodstream and cause more infection on other parts of the body.

The infection enters the body through cuts, scrapes, wounds, surgery openings, tattoos, insect or animal bites, ulcers and other unnecessary opening in the skin. Because of this, it is best to immediately clean a wound or disinfect an opening in the skin to prevent the entry of such bacteria.

Cellulitis skin infection may occur anywhere in the body but it usually occurs in the face or neck in children and infants. Adults get cellulitis commonly in the lower extremities. Types of cellulitis are categorized according to the location the infection is localized. There is cellulitis of the face, cellulitis of the eye and eyelid, cellulitis of the arms or hands, cellulitis if the breast, cellulitis in the perianal area, and cellulitis in the legs or feet. Some cellulitis infections are unilateral meaning they occur only on either the left or right side of the body.

Symptoms of cellulitis skin infection may start out as a tender area that develops redness and swelling. As the infection progresses, pain and red streaks coming from the infected area may manifest. Nearby lymph nodes may also get infected and start to swell. In advance stages of cellulitis, the infection spreads to the blood and may cause fever or chills, body or muscle pain, and vomiting. Severe cases may include skin necrosis caused by necrotizing bacteria.

Cellulitis skin infection is commonly caused by two gram-positive bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Among the two, staphylococci infections are more localized since streptococci release enzymes into the skin that damages cellular components responsible for localized infection. Some staphylococci strains may also have ways on infecting the skin in the absence of an abscess. Another bacterium that causes cellulitis is the Haemophilus influenzea type B.

It is a common cause of cellulitis in young children before the vaccine for this bacterium has been developed. Nowadays, very rare cases of cellulitis infection have been reported that originated from this bacterium. Some other bacteria that thrive in domesticated animals and poultry can also cause cellulitis. 
Treatment for cellulitis skin infection starts with antibiotics since causative agents are bacteria. Antibiotics may be administered orally or intravenously. Severe cases need treatment in hospitals while mild cellulitis cases may be treated at home.

The antibiotics to be taken should be prescribed by a doctor to ensure effectiveness and the non-recurrence of cellulitis. Most oral antibiotics to be prescribed would be penicillin or would come from the penicillin family. This antibiotic targets to kill the gram-positive bacteria. Those who are allergic to penicillin may be given erythromycin as a substitute but erythromycin effects are short-lived and less effective than penicillin.

Intravenous antibiotics are usually broad spectrum, meaning they target both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria to eliminate accompanying bacteria that may have caused the severe infection.

 

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