Bacteria, most commonly Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, cause cellulitis. This type of infection is quite common, and most people recover without complications.
Cellulitis Infection Information
Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin brought on by injury (a cut, burn, or insect bite) or by a skin condition, such as eczema, skin ulcer, or athlete's foot. The infection starts at the outermost layer of skin but may head to underlying tissue and the bloodstream. The infected area (most often on the arms, legs, or face) will swell, turn red, and become tender and painful. Cellulitis is treated with antibiotics, and most people recover with no complications.
Who's at Risk for Cellulitis?
Anyone with an abrasion, wound, or other break in the skin can develop cellulitis, but older people; those with weakened immune systems; and those with conditions that inhibit healing and circulation, such as diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, are at higher risk. People who retain fluid because of edema, those who have surgery that could result in slow lymphatic drainage (the lymph nodes hold the bacteria-fighting white blood cells), people who undergo liposuction or other plastic surgery procedures, and intravenous drug users are also at higher risk.
Defensive Measures Against Cellulitis
Be sure to keep any open wound clean and dry and use an antibacterial or antimicrobial ointment. If you have a condition that puts you at higher risk for cellulitis, be extra diligent about protecting any open wounds and follow your physician's orders for properly caring for your condition. Finally, if you are going to handle fish, meat, poultry, soil, or any other potentially bacteria-laden items and you have an open wound, be sure to wear protective gloves.
Lymphangitis, a bacterial infection, happens when bacteria enter your body through a wound and travel to the lymph nodes. Keep reading to learn more about this infection, which can cause chills, fever, rapid heartbeat, and headache.
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