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Cellulitis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatments

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and soft tissues that is quite common in humans. Often misinterpret with Cellulite, it affects the deep layer of the skin called dermis and the fatty layer underneath the skin called subcutaneous tissues. Human body accommodates various types of bacteria that are not harmful to the body. However, if by any chance such bacteria enter under the skin through any cuts, bites, or blemish, they damage the skin and tissues and cause harmful infections.

Cellulitis can affect any part of the body including nose, cheeks, around the eyes, breast, around the anal orifice as well. However, the most common place where it attacks is the lower legs.

Types of Cellulitis:

  • Periorbital Cellulitis
  • Facial Cellulitis
  • Breast Cellulitis
  • Perianal Cellulitis

Symptoms and Signs of Cellulitis:

Cellulitis usually occurs on the damaged skin caused by any wound, burn, and cuts etc. Some of the common symptoms of the Cellulitis include:

  • Redness and inflammation around the affected skin that may expand
  • Injured area of the skin may swell
  • Tenderness and Soreness in the skin
  • A warmth feeling on the affected area
  • Painful to touch
  • Patients may feel feverish
  • Red spots and blisters on the skin
  • Dripping fluid from the skin

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Risk factors of Cellulitis:

The bacteria that often cause Cellulitis are called Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. There are various factors that may increase the chances of occurring Cellulitis. Some of the risks factors include:

  • Blood Circulation: Sometimes, people having problems related to the blood flow increase the risks factors of Cellulitis.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes, if not controlled, can cause many circulatory problems and weaken the immune system, which accelerates the risks of having Cellulitis.
  • Immune System: Diseases that weaken the immune system of the person increase the risks factors of Cellulitis. There are certain medications that may also affect the immune system.
  • Lymphedema: Lymphedema is a condition when the skin causes swelling that leads skin to be damaged and cracked. Once the bacteria find any cracks in the skin, they enter the inner layers of the skin and cause Cellulitis.
  • Obesity : Being obese leads to many problems and diseases and Cellulitis is surely one of them.
  • Previous Cellulitis: The risks of reoccurring Cellulitis increase in the person already having Cellulitis before.
  • Skin Infections: Many types of skin infection such as Chicken Pox, Eczema, and Shingles often cause blisters on the skin that further leads to Cellulitis.
  • Skin Injury: Any type of injury that causes skin damage including any cut, burn, or fracture

Complications of Cellulitis:

Cellulitis infection sometimes may spread across the whole body, which may directly affect the Lymphatic Drainage System. In some rare cases, bacteria causing Cellulitis enter too deeper in the skin that it may damage the Lymph Nodes and lead to many other problems including blood infection, bone infection, and gangrene etc. In such cases, immediate medical attention is required.

How to Prevent Cellulitis?

Keeping the skin clean and moist help prevent Cellulitis to reoccur. While it is not certain that Cellulitis can always be prevented, however, following some advice may reduce the risks of occurring Cellulitis again. In case of having wounded skin, follow these instructions:

  • Clean the wounded skin and keep it moist. It will prevent skin from cracking, which eventually minimize the chances of reoccurring Cellulitis.
  • Wash the wounded skin properly and cover it with a bandage
  • Wash the hands with soap regularly and keep them clean
  • Trim the fingernails and toenails regularly as it is a common source of causing skin infection
  • Maintain a good hygiene by taking shower daily and keep the clothes clean

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How to diagnose Cellulitis?

If the skin infection gets severe, an immediate medical attention is required. A common procedure of Cellulitis diagnosis includes the inspection of the skin infection, followed by some antibiotics to heal the wound. If the infection persists, the doctor may, in some cases, recommends blood tests and/ or a culture test to scrutinise if the bacteria are still existing.

Treatment of Cellulitis:

Since Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin, it can typically be treated with antibiotics. The doctor may recommend oral antibiotics for 5 to 10 days. However, in some severe infections require patients to take these medications for up to 20 days as well. During this period, the doctor will analyse the wound and check if the infection is reacting to the antibiotics.

If not, the patient may require to be hospitalised and receive the alternative antibiotics in an intravenous manner viz. by means intravenous injections. Analysing the severity of the Cellulitis, some doctors may prescribe the anti-inflammatory pills. However, doctors recommend the most effective antibiotics that usually respond to both streptococci and staphylococci bacteria.

Note: It is advisable to take the medications as per the doctor’ prescription. If the Cellulitis is cured and the symptoms are gone, finish the course of medication as directed by doctor consultation .

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Home Remedies for Cellulitis

Treatment from Tea Tree

Tea Tree contains the potential antimicrobial, antifungal antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that fight innumerable microbes and bacteria quite effectively. Consequently, Tea Tree is often used to treat various kinds of skin infections and is also used in many cosmetics.

Procedure

  • Mix two drops of tea tree oil and a tablespoon of coconut oil. Take a damp cotton bud and put one or two drops of the mixture.
  • Dab it gently on the infected skin and leave it for few hours. After two or three hours, wash it off with normal water.
  • Alternately, mixing the same amount of tea tree oil with one teaspoon of Aloe Vera gel or raw honey and gently applying the mixture to the wounded skin also helps cure the Cellulitis.

Treatment from Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been using for thousands of year to moist the skin across the world. Being a scientifically proven antiseptic, it not only helps cure Cellulitis but also prevents it from reoccurring. It contains Lauric Acid, which is quite effective to fight against the streptococci and staphylococci bacteria.

Procedure

  • Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and softly massage on the wounded area.
  • Leave the skin oily for few hours and then wash it off with normal water
  • Repeat this activity few times a day

Treatment from Oregano Oil

Oregano is a natural antibiotic and contains some potential antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A lot of dermatologists across the world use the oregano extract ointment to prevent bacterial contamination in the patients’ vulnerable bodies after they perform a surgery.

Procedure

  • Mix 8 to 10 drops of oregano oil with two tablespoons of coconut, jojoba, olive or any other carrier oil of your preference.
  • Apply the mixture on the wounded skin and leave it for few hours before washing it off with normal water.

Treatment from Turmeric

Owing to the presence of curcumin in turmeric, it possesses some of the most powerful antibiotic and antiseptic properties that when mixed with honey, cures skin infection quite efficiently.

Procedure

  • Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder, one teaspoon of honey and two to three drops of tea tree oil in a bowl and mix it properly.
  • Apply the solution to the wounded skin, leave it for 15 to 20 minutes and wash it off with tepid water.
  • Drinking a glass of boiled milk with one teaspoon of turmeric powder twice a day will also help cure the Cellulitis infection. Besides, adding a little amount of honey will improve the taste and help reduce the bacterial contamination.

Treatment from Garlic

Garlic is a known remedy to improve the immune system for ages. Its antimicrobial properties not only heal the skin infection caused by the Cellulitis, but also prevent its reoccurrence. It also helps reduce the inflammation and swelling caused by the bacteria.

Procedure

  • Take two or three cloves of a garlic and mince it to create a thick paste. Apply the paste directly on the affected area and leave it for two to three hours.
  • Repeat the activity twice a day until the infection starts to clear.

Treatment from Fenugreek

Fenugreek, being a renowned and quite effective home remedy for a lot of diseases and toxicities, contains flavonoids, which eradicates the staph bacteria completely. Owing to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, Fenugreek is one of the best remedies to treat many complicated diseases including Cellulitis.

Procedure

  • Take two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds and soak it in the warm water for overnight. However, soaking for several hours will also work.
  • Grind the soaked seeds to form a thick paste

Apply this paste on the infected skin and leave it for few hours

Wash it off with lukewarm water and repeat the activity once or twice a day

Treatment from Honey

Honey is among the best remedies to cure various diseases, especially skin related. It contains natural healing, phytochemicals and antibacterial properties, which helps fight Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – the main cause of occurring Cellulitis.

Procedure

  • Take a tablespoon of Manuka or organic honey and apply it to the wounded skin directly.
  • Leave it for few hours and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.

Treatment from Calendula

Calendula is quite popular to seethe the skin from tenderness, inflammation and various infections. The water-soluble extracts of calendula flower not only helps fight the bacteria causing the skin infection but also stimulate the blood circulation in the body that speeds up the healing process.

Procedure

  • Take two teaspoons of calendula flower extracts and mix it with a cup of hot water. Soak it for around 10 minutes.
  • Dip a clean cotton piece in the mixture and apply it on the infection skin.
  • Leave it for 15 to 20 minutes
  • Repeat the activity for three to four times a day

Treatment from Echinacea

Echinacea, a herb rich with a number of flavonoids, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, has had use to improve the immune system of the human for ages. Owing to its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, Echinacea is considered a powerful solution to cure Cellulitis.

Procedure

  • Echinacea is available in the market in various forms such as capsules and tablets, ointment, lotion, and crème as well.

Note: Echinacea should always be taken only after consulting the doctors or dermatologists.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) How does the immune system associated with Cellulitis?

Ans: When the immune system of the person is strong, the body automatically fights the bacteria on its own. Humans having a weak immune system carry more risks of getting skin infections. Even modest bacteria may cause harm to the person with low immunity.

2) Can Cellulitis cause death?

Ans: Yes, Cellulitis, when left untreated, causes severe skin infection that may sometimes, contaminate the blood as well. Once entered deeper into the skin, Cellulitis can cause life-threatening complications in the body. The person affected with Cellulitis may feel high fever, chills, extreme pain, inflammation, swelling and tenderness on the wounded skin.

In some cases, Cellulitis triggers the Sepsis, which is quite a dangerous and life-threatening condition. Sepsis, also known as the Septicemia, is a medical condition when the chemicals released by the body to fight the infection activate inflammatory response all through the body. This infection leads to blood toxicity and injures the tissues and organs in the body. Some of the other diseases elicited by Cellulitis include Abscess, Gangrene and Necrotizing Fasciitis as well.

3) What kind of diet should be followed when affected by Cellulitis?

Ans: When affected by Cellulitis, increase the volume of Vitamin A, C and E. These Vitamins are known to fight the infections and thus help cure Cellulitis as well.

Include asparagus, banana, broccoli, chicken, fish, meat, nuts, pistachio, spinach, tomatoes and watermelon in your daily diet. Adding Flavonoids rich foods such as blueberries, grapes, leafy vegetables and citrus fruits will also help cure Cellulitis. Extend the use of basil, fenugreek, garlic, onion, oregano, thyme and turmeric as well.

4) How to ensure if it is a Cellulitis infection?

Ans: Initially occurs as a small and sore wound, Cellulitis spreads over the close areas of the infected skin. Some of the symptoms the infected person will feel include the tenderness, red spots, dimpling and swelling of the affected skin that is warm to touch. If ignored, these symptoms turn into the severe form and cause life-threatening damages.

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Last updated on : 24-12-2018

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