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Cellulitis

Cellulitis

DEFINITION

Cellulitis is a common infection of the skin and the soft tissues underneath. It happens when bacteria enter a break in the skin and spread. The result is infection, which may cause swelling, redness, pain, or warmth. Cellulitis is a common and sometimes painful bacterial skin infection. It may first appear as a red, swollen area that feels hot and tender to the touch.The redness and swelling can spread quickly.

It most often affects the skin of the lower legs, although the infection can occur anywhere on a person’s body or face. Cellulitis usually happens on the surface of the skin, but it may also affect the tissues underneath. The infection can spread to lymph nodes and bloodstream. Cellulitis is a common infection of the skin and the soft tissues underneath. It happens when bacteria enter a break in the skin and spread. The result is infection, which may cause swelling, redness, pain, or warmth.They’re at risk if they have :

  • Trauma to the skin
  • Diabetes
  • Circulatory problems, such as not enough blood flow to arms and legs, poor drainage of veins or lymphatic system, or varicose veins -- twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin
  • Liver disease like chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis
  • Skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, or infectious diseases that cause sores, like chickenpox

SYMPTOMS

Cellulitis symptoms include :

  • Pain and tenderness in the affected area
  • Redness or inflammation of your skin
  • A skin sore or rash that grows quickly
  • Tight, glossy, swollen skin
  • A feeling of warmth in the affected area
  • An abscess with pus
  • Fever

More serious cellulitis symptoms include :

  • Shaking
  • Chills
  • Feeling ill
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle aches
  • Warm skin
  • Sweating

Symptoms like these could mean that cellulitis is spreading :

  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Blisters
  • Red streaks

CAUSES

Things that cause cellulitis include :

  • Injuries that tear the skin
  • Infections after surgery
  • Long-term skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis
  • Foreign objects in the skin
  • Bone infections underneath the skin. (An example is a long-standing, open wound that is deep enough to expose the bone to bacteria.)
  • Cellulitis occurs when bacteria, most commonly streptococcus and staphylococcus, enter through a crack or break in your skin. The incidence of a more serious staphylococcus infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is increasing.
  • Although cellulitis can occur anywhere on your body, the most common location is the lower leg. Bacteria are most likely to enter disrupted areas of skin, such as where you've had recent surgery, cuts, puncture wounds, an ulcer, athlete's foot or dermatitis.
  • Animal bites can cause cellulitis. Bacteria can also enter through areas of dry, flaky skin or swollen skin.

RISK FACTORS

Several factors put you at increased risk of cellulitis :

  1. Injury. Any cut, fracture, burn or scrape gives bacteria an entry point.
  2. Weakened immune system. Conditions that weaken your immune system — such as diabetes, leukemia and HIV/AIDS — leave you more susceptible to infections. Certain medications also can weaken your immune system.
  3. Skin conditions. Conditions such as eczema, athlete's foot and shingles can cause breaks in the skin, which give bacteria an entry point.
  4. Chronic swelling of arms or legs (Lymphedema). Condition sometimes follows surgery.
  5. History of cellulitis. Having had cellulitis before makes you prone to develop it again.
  6. Obesity. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing cellulitis.

COMPLICATION

  • Recurrent episodes of cellulitis may damage the lymphatic drainage system and cause chronic swelling of the affected limb.
  • Rarely, the infection can spread to the deep layer of tissue called the fascial lining. Necrotizing fasciitis is an example of a deep-layer infection. It's an extreme emergency.

PREVENTION

If your cellulitis recurs, your doctor may recommend preventive antibiotics. To help prevent cellulitis and other infections, take these precautions when you have a skin wound:

  • Wash your wound daily with soap and water. Do this gently as part of your normal bathing.
  • Apply a protective cream or ointment. For most surface wounds, an over-the-counter ointment (Vaseline, Polysporin, others) provides adequate protection.
  • Cover your wound with a bandage. Change bandages at least daily.
  • Watch for signs of infection. Redness, pain and drainage all signal possible infection and the need for medical evaluation.

People with diabetes and those with poor circulation need to take extra precautions to prevent skin injury. Good skin care measures include the following:

  • Inspect your feet daily. Regularly check your feet for signs of injury so you can catch infections early.
  • Moisturize your skin regularly. Lubricating your skin helps prevent cracking and peeling. Do not apply moisturizer to open sores.
  • Trim your fingernails and toenails carefully. Take care not to injure the surrounding skin.
  • Protect your hands and feet. Wear appropriate footwear and gloves.
  • Promptly treat infections on the skin's surface (superficial), such as athlete's foot. Superficial skin infections can easily spread from person to person. Don't wait to start treatment.

DIAGNOSIS

Doctor will do a medical history and physical exam. Other procedures could include :

  • A blood test if they think the infection has spread to blood
  • An X-ray if there’s a foreign object in skin or the bone underneath is possibly infected
  • A culture. The doctor will use a needle to remove fluid from the area and send it to the lab.

Doctor will likely be able to diagnose cellulitis just by looking at skin. A physical exam might reveal:

  • swelling of the skin
  • redness and warmth of the affected area
  • swollen glands

Depending on the severity of symptoms, doctor may want to monitor the affected area for a few days to see if the redness or swelling spread. In some cases, doctor may take blood or a sample of the wound to test for bacteria.

HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICINES FOR CELLULITIS

  1. Belladonna – For Marked Redness of Skin

    Belladonna acts as a very good natural medicine for cellulitis where the skin is markedly red and swollen giving it a shining appearance. Patient requiring Belladonna will also experience pain which gets worse by touch. The character of pain is that it appears and disappears suddenly. Another marked feature where this medicine Belladonna can be used for cellulitis is dryness of skin with much heat.

  2. Apis Mellifica – When Marked Swelling is Present

    Apis mellifica is suited in those cases of cellulitis in which there is much swelling of the affected area along with much burning and stinging type of pains. Apis mellifica also respond to those cases of cellulitis in which the burning pains are relieved by applying something cold over skin and the pains that rapidly shifts from one part to another. Another feature of this medicine indication is rosy hue of skin with much sensitivity towards touch. Apis mellifica can be taken in all those cases where cellulitis is a result of honey bee sting. For swelling with a puffy appearance that worsens with heat and pressure, especially in the afternoon and is better with cold applications, open air, movement, and sitting upright. Great remedy for Cellulitis after insect bite. For skin which is sore, sensitive and stinging with rosy hue. Excellent for sudden puffing of whole body.

  3. Ledum Palsture – For Cellulitis resulting from Insect Bites

    Ledum palustre holds a very good image in treating those cases of cellulitis resulting from insect bites. This natural medicine is used in cellulitis when there is coldness of affected part with tearing type of pains. Ledum palustre can be used in long-standing cases of cellulitis in which the skin colour changes from blueness to green.

  4. Silicea- For Cellulitis when Blebs appear upon Skin

    This remedy Silicea gives very good results when blebs are formed on skin in advanced cellulitis cases. These blebs can contain pus which is very offensive. Silicea is also used when along with cellulitis there is fever with chilliness and offensive perspiration. Marked remedy for skin where every little injury suppurates, with offensive pus in it. For fever in Cellulitis with creepy shivering over whole body.

  5. For Pyrogenium for Septicaemia in Cellulitis

    Pyrogenium is an excellent remedy for treating septicemia. The points that guide towards its use in septic conditions is a) fever with chills b) The body temperature being 103 to 106, rising quickly with abnormally very rapid pulse rate making the patient restless.The patient requiring pyrogenium complains of excessive chilliness in the back. In cases where septicemia occurs after surgery or after childbirth, Pyrogenium acts very effectively.

  6. Calendula Officinalis in Post Surgical Cellulitis

    Undoubtedly the best remedy for cellulitis that has come after surgical cuts is Calendula officinalis. This medicine acts very efficiently not only as a curative but also as preventive for excessive suppuration/pus formation on the skin in cellulitis developing post surgically. If applied locally to the wounded skin after an injury it helps as preventive for cellulitis.

  7. CANTHARIS

    For restless and anxious individuals; may be used for children; only available under the direction of a licensed homeopath

  8. LACHESIS

    For symptoms that tend to be worse on the left side of the body and during and immediately after sleep. Great remedy for blue black swellings in severe cases of Cellulitis. For pus filled dissecting wounds. Effective for Cellulitis in old age. Condition better by appearance of discharge and warm applications .

  9. MERCURIUS

    For individuals who are bothered by both heat and cold, and are often trembling and impulsive

  10. SULPHUR

    For hot, burning skin with itching that worsens at night and with washing

  11. RHUS TOXICODENDRON

    Excellent remedy for Cellulitis and Erysipelas, where skin is intensely red and swollen. Condition aggravates in cold, wet, rainy weather and gets better by warm application. For individuals who are restless and anxious with itching that tends to worsen at night but is relieved by warm compresses or pressure.