Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that affects the skin. Without proper treatment, the infection can spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream, resulting in a life-threatening systemic infection. An awareness of the signs and symptoms of cellulitis can help you know when to seek help to treat an infection before it gets out of hand.
9. What Is Cellulitis?
According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, cellulitis can occur when bacteria such as Group A ß-hemolytic streptococcus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Staphylococcus aureus infect deep layers of skin. These bacteria commonly reside on the skin and within the mucous membranes of healthy individuals. However, when a cut, animal bite, or injury allows the bacteria to enter the skin, a serious infection can occur. Cellulitis most commonly occurs on the skin of the lower legs, although it can crop up in other areas of the body. This infection is not a contagious condition transmitted from one person to another.
8. Risk Factors
Anyone can develop cellulitis when a wound, cut, burn, or scratch allows bacteria to permeate the deeper layers of the skin and the tissues beneath it. However, certain situations can put you at a higher risk of acquiring cellulitis. These include disorders associated with a weakened immune system, such as diabetes, HIV, or cancer. Diseases that affect the integrity of your skin, such as psoriasis or fungal infections, may also increase your risk of cellulitis. Lymphedema, a swelling of the limbs that may follow surgery, can also lead to cellulitis. Lastly, obesity may contribute to the risk of this infection.