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Classification and external resources

Infected left shin ICD-10 ICD-9 DiseasesDB eMedicine MeSH L03. 682.9 29806 med/310 emerg/88 derm/464 D002481

Cellulitis is a diffuse inflammation[1] of connective tissue with severe inflammation of dermal and subcutaneous layers of the skin. Cellulitis can be caused by normal skin flora or by exogenous bacteria, and often occurs where the skin has previously been broken: cracks in the skin, cuts, blisters, burns, insect bites, surgical wounds, or sites of intravenous catheter insertion. Skin on the face or lower legs is most commonly affected by this infection, though cellulitis can occur on any part of the body. The mainstay of therapy remains treatment with appropriate antibiotics, and recovery periods can be anything from 48 hours to six months. Erysipelas is the term used for a more superficial infection of the dermis and upper subcutaneous layer that presents clinically with a well defined edge. Erysipelas and cellulitis often coexist, so it is often difficult to make a distinction between the two.

or break in the skin. abrasion. This break does not need to be visible. which are part of the normal flora of the skin but cause no actual infection while on the skin's outer surface. recent surgery. and tender. animal bite. hot. usually by way of a cut. tattoos. pruritic skin rash. Predisposing conditions for cellulitis include insect bites. Group A Streptococcus and Staphylococcus are the most common of these bacteria. athlete's foot. eczema. dry skin. blistering. It also has nothing in common with gingivitis. injecting drugs (especially subcutaneous or intramuscular injection or where an attempted IV injection "misses" or blows . Contents [hide] • • • • • • • • 1 Signs and symptoms 2 Causes o 2. [edit] Causes Cellulitis is caused by a type of bacteria entering the skin.Cellulitis is unrelated (except etymologically) to cellulite. a cosmetic condition featuring dimpling of the skin.1 Risk factors 3 Diagnosis 4 Treatment 5 In animals 6 See also 7 References 8 External links [edit] Signs and symptoms Infected left shin in comparison to shin with no sign of symptoms The typical symptoms of cellulitis is an area which is red.

also called by the media "flesh-eating bacteria. and other illnesses or infections that weaken the immune system are also factors that make infection more likely. . diabetes and obesity. they are especially prone to cellulitis in the feet because the disease causes impairment of blood circulation in the legs leading to diabetic foot/foot ulcers. Diabetics are more susceptible to cellulitis than the general population because of impairment of the immune system. Lymphedema. which causes swelling on the arms and/or legs. the bacteria can spread rapidly. such as warmth." is an example of a deeplayer infection. Cellulitis in the lower leg is characterized by signs and symptoms that may be similar to those of a clot occurring deep in the veins. such as military installations. The appearance of the skin will assist a doctor in determining a diagnosis. Usually the itch and/or rash appears a little after it vanishes leaving only a small mark which is commonly ignored. as well as burns and boils. entering the lymph nodes and the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body. the infection can spread to the deep layer of tissue called the fascial lining. more serious infection of the inner layers of skin. [edit] Risk factors The elderly and those with immunodeficiency (a weakened immune system) are especially vulnerable to contracting cellulitis. though there is debate as to whether minor foot lesions contribute. A doctor may also suggest blood tests. Diseases that affect blood circulation in the legs and feet.the vein). a wound culture or other tests to help rule out a blood clot deep in the veins of the legs. Neural degeneration in diabetes means these ulcers may not be painful and thus often become infected. can also put an individual at risk. Chickenpox and shingles often result in blisters that break open. It represents an extreme medical emergency. pregnancy. Necrotizing fasciitis. are also risk factors for cellulitis. pain and swelling (inflammation). such as chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins. The photos shown here of Cellulitis are of mild cases and are not representative of earlier stages of the disease. nursing homes and homeless shelters. In rare cases. college dormitories. Poor control of blood glucose levels allows bacteria to grow more rapidly in the affected tissue and facilitates rapid progression if the infection enters the bloodstream. This reddened skin or rash may signal a deeper. Occurrences of cellulitis may also be associated with the rare condition Hidradenitis Suppurativa. which can affect circulation.This can result in flu like symptoms with a high temperature and sweating or feeling very cold with shaking as the sufferer cannot get warm. Cellulitis is also extremely prevalent among dense populations sharing hygiene facilities and common living quarters. Immunosuppressive drugs. providing a gap in the skin through which bacteria can enter. Once below the skin.

Blood cultures usually are positive only if the patient develops generalized sepsis.g. but is not widely available. the syndrome is referred to as the follicular occlusion triad or tetrad. which requires emergency surgical attention.[5][6] . then this course is usually combined with oral phenoxymethylpenicillin or intravenous benzylpenicillin. Pain relief is also often prescribed. or where streptococcal infection is suspected. and stasis dermatitis. cutting away dead tissue. Associated musculoskeletal findings are sometimes reported. which is recommended during warm months in areas where the disease is endemic.[edit] Diagnosis Cellulitis is most often a clinical diagnosis. but excessive pain should always be investigated as it is a symptom of necrotising fasciitis. the similar set of symptoms may be misdiagnosed as cellulitis. hyperbaric oxygen treatment can be a valuable adjunctive therapy. which can be diagnosed with a compression leg ultrasound. or ampicillin/amoxicillin (e. and antibiotics (either oral or intravenous).or strepinduced cellulitis. which is inflammation of the skin from poor blood flow. Standard treatments for cellulitis are not sufficient for curing Lyme disease.[2] There have been many cases where Lyme disease has been misdiagnosed as staph. The only way to rule out Lyme disease is with a blood test.[3] [edit] Treatment Treatment consists of resting the affected area. When it occurs with acne conglobata. As in other maladies characterized by wounds or tissue destruction. and pilonidal cysts. Because the characteristic bullseye rash does not always appear in patients infected with Lyme disease. Conditions that may resemble cellulitis include deep vein thrombosis. co-amoxiclav in the UK). and local cultures do not always identify the causative organism.[4] Flucloxacillin or Dicloxacillin monotherapy (to cover staphylococcal infection) is often sufficient in mild cellulitis. but in more moderate cases. hidradenitis suppurativa.

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