Do I Have Cellulitis?

Do I Have Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a common bacterial infection affecting the skin soft tissues and occurs when the physical skin barrier is impaired allowing bacteria to enter.

This painful skin infection affects mostly the lower leg, but can also appear in other areas such as face and arms.

Cellulitis is potentially life-threatening if left untreated as it can spread to the bloodstream and lymph nodes. Therefore, visit Express ER in Waco if the symptoms worsen.

How Does It Occur?

Cellulitis infection develops when the bacteria enter the skin through a break or crack in your skin.

Our skin has active physical barriers and protective mechanisms to prevent the invasion of bacteria. A deficiency in skin integrity can cause the skin to crack such as surgery, puncture wounds, cuts, dermatitis, extremely dry skin, and animal bites.

Other risk factors include:

  • Impaired immunity. It affects the body’s ability to fight bacterial infections
  • Age. As we age we are at risk of poor circulation, skin atrophy and immunosenescence—the gradual deterioration of the immune system.
  • Circulatory defects provide a favorable environment for the bacteria to invade. It also impedes wound healing and facilitates ulcer development.
  • Diabetes. Cellulitis is common in diabetic patients due to poor blood circulation and neuropathy.
  • Malnourishment decreases skin elasticity and integrity, impaired wound healing and immunosuppression.
  • Morbid obesity also increases the risk of skin damage
  • Atopic dermatitis makes skin itchy and red

Common cellulitis symptoms include swelling, redness, warmth, pus, pain, and tenderness. Visit an ER near you when you experience nausea and vomiting, high fever, chills, increased pain, and numbness of the affected area.

How Is Cellulitis Diagnosed?

Cellulitis misdiagnosis is common—31% of patients with the skin condition are misdiagnosed. This is because the clinical representation of cellulitis is mimicked by various conditions such as gout, non-specific edema, and deep vein thrombosis.

Let’s be clear, all skin redness is not cellulitis, however, you should be proactive and seek medical attention when you notice edema, tenderness, warmth, swelling, and skin redness.

When you visit our emergency room in Waco, our doctor will do a variety of tests including a culture of the affected area and an x-ray. They will also carry out a blood test to check if the infection has spread to other places.

Possible Cellulitis Treatments

Antibiotics are the treatment of choice. The doctor will give you oral antibiotics for the first five to ten days. In severe cases, you may need to take the antibiotics for 14 days or until directed otherwise.

In most cases, cellulitis symptoms disappear after a few days. However, you may need hospitalization if the sign and symptoms are extreme and accompanied by high fever.

Surgery can be done, though it’s rare as the infection improves with proper treatment.

Additional non-antibiotic treatments can also improve the outcome.

  • Elevation. Lifting your legs above your heart can reduce edema in the early stages. It also prevents lymphedema from recurring.
  • Compression socks are ideal as long you don’t have deep vein thrombosis or other vein related problems/
  • NSAIDs lead to faster regression of symptoms.

Does compression therapy work? This is up for debate. Though it’s been reported to reduce edema and pain, some people have reported constriction, dry skin, and itching. So, don’t wrap a bandage on the affected area before speaking to the doctor.

How to Prevent a Recurrence?

Almost 30% of the patients who suffer from cellulitis infection are at risk of recurrence, but you can reduce the chances with these tips;

  • Practice good hygiene
  • Keep your skin clean and moisturized
  • Wear well-fitting shoes and socks, and avoid walking outside barefoot
  • Inspect your skin daily
  • Trim your toe and fingernails
  • Treat any skin infections such as athlete’s foot

Outlook

Cellulitis symptoms clear up in a few days, mostly two or three days with antibiotic treatment. However, the infection can spread to the bloodstream if ignored.

So, take action by visiting our emergency room in Waco when you notice any skin infections however mild they may appear, especially if you have previously suffered from cellulitis infection.

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