Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that presents itself as redness, swelling and tenderness on the skin. It usually occurs on the legs, although anywhere on the face or body can be affected. If left untreated, cellulitis can spread throughout the bloodstream and cause life-threatening complications.
Cellulitis is typically caused by bacteria that enter through breaks in the skin. Streptococcus and staphylococcus are the two most common bacteria associated with cellulitis. Certain insect bites can also transmit cellulitis-causing bacteria into the skin.
Symptoms of cellulitis may include fever, pain, swelling, tenderness, and redness. In some cases, blisters may form on top of the affected skin. It is important to seek prompt medical attention for all rashes to receive effective treatment and avoid complications.
To diagnose cellulitis, your doctor may simply examine your skin. Blood tests may also be done to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as blood clots in the leg veins. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat cellulitis, with a follow-up visit to your doctor after a few days to monitor healing. Severe cases that do not respond to antibiotics may require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. It is important to take the entire course of antibiotics, even if symptoms have already subsided.