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Cellulitis - Is It Serious? Do I Have It? Can It Be Treated?

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection in the skin and deeper tissues, which usually occurs via a break in the skin. It tends to start as a discoloration, with soreness/warmth. It can affect any part of the body, but is more readily found in the lower body, especially the lower limb area.

Cellulitis needs to be identified and treated as quickly as possible, to prevent it getting worse and causing other complications.


Symptoms

Painful, swollen/hot skin.

Red, purple or darker skin (less obvious on black or brown skin).

Fever, Chills & Fatigue.

Fluid blisters in the skin.



Is Cellulitis Serious?

Yes, if left untreated. As MedicineNet points out, the condition can be treated with antibiotics at home, or by hospital medication if the former isn't effective.

However, cellulitis will likely spread and cause further infection if not correctly dealt with.


As MedicineNet also mentions, Some of the serious complications of not treating cellulitis include Sepsis - a form of tissue and organ damage in the body; dead tissue in the body, otherwise known as Gangrene; and Necrotizing fasciitis, which eats into the soft tissues.

So, it is very important to have cellulitis examined and treated by a qualified healthcare professional as soon as possible.


Do I Have Cellulitis?

It's important to note that cellulitis is not the same as skin conditions such as psoriasis - a disease in the skin, and eczema - inflammation in the skin: cellulitis is an infection in the skin, which can spread to deeper tissues.

Also, cellulitis does not itch.

Cleveland Clinic mentions that cellulitis can lead to flu-like symptoms, an aching body, chills, sweats, and high fever (above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degree Celsius).

If you experience any of these symptoms, call you medical emergency health-line immediately.


Can Cellulitis Be Treated?

Yes, it can. Normally, a diagnosis will be made, and then followed up by the appropriate care plan.


Diagnosis

Blood testing, skin testing, and a bacterial culture test - taking a small sample of your body tissue, are used to determine if you have cellulitis.


Treatment & Aftercare

If you are diagnosed with having cellulitis, treatment may likely include having a course of antibiotics, and can be followed up with home remedies such as warm compresses, elevating the infected area, compression wraps/stockings to increase blood flow and reduce any swelling, and anti-inflammatory off-the-shelf meds (Cleveland Clinic).


Ordinarily, you can expect cellulitis to improve 7-10 days after receiving the correct treatment.

After this, it is a case of keeping the area clean & protected, and monitoring any wound to be sure it is healing properly.

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