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Cellulitis is the medical term for a bacterial infection located in the deeper layers of your skin. Its a dangerous, sudden and potentially fatal condition which requires medical attention urgently. Most individuals are prescribed antibiotic medication and recover in the comfort of their own homes. Severe infections may demand hospitalization to stop the disease. The symptoms of cellulitis are diverse due to the range and severity of the bacterial infection. Cellulitis spreads rapidly and quickly gets out of hand. If you recognize any of these symptoms, it's essential you consult your physician right away.

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Skin Symptoms

The surface of the skin is always in threat of exposure to wounds, cuts, scrapes, and bruises. When a cellulitis infection harms the skin, it causes the upper layer of the skin to appear swollen, red, hot-to-the-touch, and possibly tender to the touch. Often cellulitis can cause blood and pus-filled blisters to break open, and these blisters are spread anywhere on the skin.

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Body Symptoms

Many people experience cellulitis in the hands, fingers, feet, toes, and in the face, specifically near the eyes. If you encounter skin that's hot, uncomfortable, or painful, it's time to talk to your general practitioner. Also, you may feel like you've got the flu. Nausea, fever, chills, and shaking can mean the cellulitis infection is spreading.

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The Spread of Cellulitis

When a cellulitis infection spreads to the bone, muscle, bloodstream, and other tissues, it can become a fatal illness. Individuals with a high-grade fever (100.4 Fahrenheit) should seek medical help. An increased heartbeat usually accompanies fever, labored breathing, vomiting, dizziness, pale, wet skin, cognitive dysfunction, diarrhea, or a loss of consciousness. These ailments indicate it's vital you seek emergency medical help.

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Causes of Cellulitis

Humans naturally have several types of bacteria growing inside and outside of the body. These strains of bacteria for the majority of our lives don't cause any severe medical problems. However, if the upper level of your skin gets injured, that harmless bacteria can become fatal if left untreated and develops into a cellulitis infection. A tear in the skin, even a minimal cut, which you wouldn't usually notice can be an entryway for bacteria to spread inside your body.

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Common Culprits

The skin is a fantastic organ. It's flexible, resilient, and capable of healing itself in a matter of days or weeks. Bacteria are always looking for opportunities to grow. Something as innocuous as an insect bite can lead to cellulitis infection. In fact, a cut, puncture wound, or any injury resulting in a break in the skin all invite bacteria into the body.

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Is Cellulitis Contagious?

In the sense that bacteria travels from one person to another, then that's a potential contagion. However, after an individual has developed cellulitis as an active infection, it isn't spread to others via casual contact. Cracks in the skin caused by conditions like athlete's foot or eczema can invite bacteria into the body.

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Risk Factors

People with an impaired immune system are more vulnerable to a myriad of diseases, including cellulitis. Treatments for cancer like chemotherapy and radiation can leave a person susceptible to cellulitis infection. Individuals who are obese, those with restricted blood flow in the extremities, and people with lymphodema are prone to contracting cellulitis.

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Reduce Exposure to Bacteria

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a varied diet and plenty of physical exercises can build up the immune system to help fight off infections. Prevention of cellulitis requires taking excellent care of your skin. Your hygiene routine should involve keeping your skin moist and clean. Clean all cuts with a trusted antiseptic and always wear appropriate shoes. Remember when you're working outside to use gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.

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Other Causes of Cellulitis

Restricted movement can lead to pressure ulcers (bed sores) and poor circulation in your hands and feet which can increase the risk for contracting cellulitis. If you've had cellulitis before you're more likely to develop it again. The injection of medications can also provide bacteria with a way into your body. People with diabetes and those with other conditions which require the injection of medicines are more at risk of developing cellulitis. Always thoroughly wash your hands before injecting medications. Clean the entry point with isopropyl alcohol and don't reuse your sharps!

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.