Cellulitis is a form of infection involving the deeper skin layers and underlying tissue. The condition is considered serious if not promptly cared for. The infection rapidly develops and spreads throughout the body. A severe case can reach deep into the body and can be dangerous.
Most cases are effectively managed using antibiotics at home but there are cases that requires hospitalization.
Cellulitis is known to cause and area of affected skin to abruptly turn:
- Sore or painful
The infection generally affects the lower legs but can develop in any part of the body. In severe instances, cellulitis can be accompanied and oftentimes preceded by the following:
- Fever of 38 degrees C or higher
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shaking or rigors
If these symptoms are present, it indicates that the infection has spread deep within the body.
What are the usual causes?
Cellulitis is typically brought about by a bacterial infection. The bacteria responsible often thrives harmlessly on the skin, but an infection arises if they enter a wound in the skin such as:
- Dry, cracked skin due to athlete’s foot or eczema
- Cut, bruise or graze
- Leg ulcer
- Insect or animal bite
Management of cellulitis
Cellulitis is generally managed using antibiotics. Most infections can be treated with oral antibiotics at home.
A 7-day course of oral antibiotics is typically prescribed and the symptoms are expected to improve after a few days. This course should be completed even if the individual already feels better.
For serious cases, the treatment is carried out in a healthcare facility. Generally, antibiotics are given intravenously or via a drip. The treatment usually takes 7 days. In case the infection responds rapidly to treatment, it might be possible to complete the course using oral antibiotics instead of injections or a drip.