Cellulitis

By: Bryce Ramsay

Frank's Symptoms

Frank, who is 61, stubbed his toe on the dining room chair while walking through the house barefoot. He didn't think anything of it, but over the weekend he saw a cut between his second and third toe. The next day his leg was swollen and tender and he felt feverish.

How you can get Cellulitis?

Cellulitis occurs when certain types of bacteria enter through a cut or crack in the skin. Cellulitis is commonly caused by Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria. Skin injuries such as cuts, insect bites, or surgical incisions are commonly the sites of the infection. Certain factors also increase your risk of developing cellulitis.

Symptoms or signs of Cellulitis.

The symptoms of Cellulitis may include:

· pain and tenderness in the affected area

· redness or inflammation of your skin

· a skin sore or rash that appears and grows quickly

· a tight, glossy, swollen appearance of the skin

· a feeling of warmth in the affected area

· a central area that has an abscess with pus formation

· a fever

Some common symptoms of a more serious Cellulitis infection are:

· shaking

· chills

· a feeling of illness

· fatigue

· dizziness

· light headed

· muscle aches

· warm skin

· sweating

Symptoms such as the following could signal that Cellulitis is spreading:

· drowsiness

· lethargy

· blistering

· red streaks

Treatment

When you doctor diagnoses you with Cellulitis he will prescribe a 10- to 21-day regimen of oral antibiotics to treat your Cellulitis. The length of your treatment with oral antibiotics will depend on the severity of your condition. Even if symptoms improve within a few days, it’s important to take all of the medication prescribed to ensure proper treatment. While you’re taking antibiotics, monitor your condition to see if symptoms improve. In most cases, symptoms will improve or disappear within a few days.

In some cases, pain relievers are prescribed. You should rest until your symptoms improve. While you rest, you should raise the affected limb higher than your heart to reduce any swelling. Contact your doctor immediately if you don’t respond to treatment within three days after beginning a round of antibiotics, if your symptoms get worse, or if you develop a fever. Cellulitis should go away within seven to 10 days of starting antibiotics. Longer treatment could be necessary if your infection is severe. This can occur if you suffer from a chronic disease or if your immune system isn’t working properly.


A list of the medications you could be prescribed are:

  • In mild cases of cellulitis treated on an outpatient basis, dicloxacillin, amoxicillin, and cephalexin are all reasonable choices
  • Clindamycin or a macrolide (clarithromycin or azithromycin) are reasonable alternatives in patients who are allergic to penicillin
  • Levofloxacin may also represent an alternative, but the prevalence of resistant strains has increased, and fluoroquinolones are best reserved for gram-negative organisms with sensitivity demonstrated by culture
  • Some clinicians prefer an initial dose of parenteral antibiotic with a long half-life (eg, ceftriaxone followed by an oral agent)

Prognosis

Most cases of Cellulitis are mild and last several days to a couple of weeks. But Cellulitis can sometimes progress to a more serious infection, causing severe illness that affects the whole body (Sepsis) or other dangerous problems. Cellulitis is treated with antibiotics. If the infection is mild, you may be able to take antibiotic pills at home.

If the infection is severe, you may need to be treated in a hospital so that you can get IV antibiotics directly into your bloodstream, along with any other care you may need. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions about medicine and skin care. To help with your recovery and to feel better:

  • Take all of your medicine as prescribed. Don't stop taking it just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Elevate the affected area to reduce swelling. Warm compresses may also help.
  • Use pain relievers as needed.

Risk Factors for Cellulitis?

Cellulitis occurs when certain types of bacteria enter through a cut or crack in the skin. Cellulitis is commonly caused by Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria.

Skin injuries such as cuts, insect bites, or surgical incisions are commonly the sites of the infection. Certain factors also increase your risk of developing cellulitis.

Common risk factors include:

  • a weakened immune system
  • skin conditions that cause breaks in the skin, such as eczema and athlete’s foot
  • intravenous (IV) drug use
  • diabetes
  • a history of cellulitis

Life Impacts

  • Mental- Could be embarrassed by the rash or bumps
  • If left untreated it could lead to sepsis.
  • Will completely go away with time if treated properly.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by your body’s response to an infection. Your immune system protects you from many illnesses and infections, but it’s also possible for it to go into overdrive in response to an infection. Sepsis develops when the chemicals the immune system releases into the bloodstream to fight an infection cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead. Severe cases of sepsis can lead to septic shock, which is a medical emergency. There are more than 1 million cases of sepsis each year, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This type of infection kills more than 258,000 Americans a year.

Symptoms and Treatment of Sepsis.

Symptoms of sepsis include:

  • a fever above 101ºF or a temperature below 96.8ºF
  • heart rate higher than 90 beats per minute
  • breathing rate higher than 20 breaths per minute
  • probable or confirmed infection

Severe sepsis occurs when there’s organ failure. These are the signs that you may have severe sepsis:

  • patches of discolored skin
  • decreased urination
  • changes in mental ability
  • low platelet (blood clotting cells) count
  • problems breathing
  • abnormal heart functions
  • chills due to fall in body temperature
  • unconsciousness
  • extreme weakness

Treatments:

Sepsis can quickly progress to septic shock and death if it is left untreated. Doctors use a number of medications to treat sepsis, including:

  • antibiotics via IV to fight infection
  • vasoactive medications to increase blood pressure
  • insulin to stabilize blood sugar
  • corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • painkillers

Severe sepsis may also require large amounts of IV fluids and a respirator for breathing. Dialysis might be necessary if the kidneys are affected. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the source of an infection. This includes draining a pus-filled abscess or removing infected tissue.

Further Information needed?

For further information about Cellulitis go to:

EmedicineHealth


http://www.emedicinehealth.com/cellulitis-health/article_em.htm

Citations

1.) Health, E. Medicine. "Cellulitis: Healthwise Medical Information on EMedicineHealth." EMedicineHealth. Healthwise, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.

2.) Herchline, Thomas E. "Cellulitis Treatment & Management." Cellulitis Treatment & Management: Approach Considerations, Outpatient Care, IV Antibiotic Therapy. Medscape, 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.