Cellulitis - What is Cellulitis?

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Cellulitis is the term given to an infection of the dermal and subcutaneous skin layers that gives rise to red, swollen and painful skin. Cellulitis can be dangerous if it is not treated promptly as it may spread further afield and even lead to septicemia, a severe infection of the blood.

Pathology and causes of cellulitis

The skin is the largest organ in the body and is comprised of three layers which include:

  • The epidermis or outer layer of skin.
  • The dermis or middle layer of skin where sweat glands, hair follicles and blood vessels are contained.
  • The subcutis or bottom skin layer containing fat and collagen, which provides protection and regulates body temperature.

Cellulitis develops when bacteria and sometimes fungi enter the skin surface through an abrasion such as a cut or bruise. The most common bacteria to cause infection are Streptococcus or Staphylococcus aureus, bacteria that form part of the skin’s natural flora.
Some of the risk factors for cellulitis include:

  • Skin wounds or burns
  • Eczema which causes tiny cracks or breaks in the skin
  • A weak immune system in those with diabetes or HIV infection, for example, or those receiving treatment with chemotherapy or steroids.
  • Intravenous drug users

Symptoms of cellulitis

The condition causes red, hot, painful and swollen areas across affected skin. Some patients develop fever, chills and tremors. A particularly high fever along with delirium or confusion may be a sign of septicemia and should be treated as an emergency.

Treatment of cellulitis

Since cellulitis is usually caused by an infective bacteria, it is treated using antibiotics that are suitable for killing the organism. For fungal infections, antifungal agents are used.

Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc

Sources

Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 6, 2014

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Comments
  1. Climsom Climsom Climsom Climsom France says:

    Pour lutter contre la cellulite et avoir de jolies jambes une autre astuce : la frigithérapie, un soin anti jambes lourdes et anti cellulite qui aide à lutter contre les varices et est également un bon allié minceur grâce à la thermogenèse !

    Climsom a développé un pack de frigithérapie pour réaliser des séances chez soi aussi souvent que souhaité ! Le principe de la frigithérapie : Il suffit de vous allonger sur le sur-matelas frais, d’appliquer le gel anti jambes lourdes inclus et c’est tout !

    L’effet réfrigérant de la frigithérapie va contracter les veines dilatées en favorisant le phénomène de retour sanguin. La frigithérapie active ainsi la circulation sanguine et lutte contre la rétention d'eau et la cellulite.

    Les principes actifs contenus dans le gel sont le menthol, le marronnier d'Inde et le petit houx qui vont apporter un effet décongestionnant et relancer la circulation sanguine.

    Le bonus ? Le froid est un formidable allié minceur grâce à ce que l’on appel la thermogénèse. Le corps va dépenser des calories (jusqu’à 6 fois plus et ce aussi petite soit la durée d’exposition !) pour se réchauffer.

    Et oui le froid vous permet ainsi de mincir sans effort !

    Plus d’infos sur : www.climsom.com/.../frigitherapie-cellulite.php

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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