Cellulitis (not to be confused with cellulite) is a bacterial infection of the skin and is typically caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria that enters the body through an open cut or wound. It infects the deep layer of skin as well as the subcutaneous tissues, which are fat and soft tissue under the skin. Drugs.com notes that cellulitis may appear anywhere on the body, but it is most likely to occur on the legs or the arms. It appears as a red and swollen rash that will often feel warm and tender to touch.
Fortunately, it is not contagious and can be treated with antibiotics. However, if left untreated it can spread rapidly to other parts of the body and quickly become life-threatening. Here are eight facts and risk factors of cellulitis.
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1. Redness and Swelling
Essentially, cellulitis is a severe rash on the skin. The Mayo Clinic notes the symptoms of cellulitis as a red and swollen area of the skin that is warm to the touch. Other symptoms include blisters or abscesses and in some cases, depending on the severity of the infection, it could be tender and a touch painful. Medicinenet.com describes the symptoms as beginning as an infected area that spreads to adjacent skin as it worsens.
Without early treatment, the symptoms could progress to a fever, chills, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. If the condition becomes this serious, oral antibiotics might not treat the infection properly and you may require hospital treatment for intravenous (IV) antibiotics.