What is it?
Cellulitis is an infection of the deeper layers of skin and the underlying tissue. It can be serious if not treated promptly.
The infection develops suddenly and can spread through the body quickly. Severe infections can spread deep into the body, and can be life threatening.
Most cases are successfully treated with antibiotics at home, although sometimes it needs to be treated in hospital.
An abscess is a painful collection of pus that builds up under the skin, in an organ or between your organs. If it is under the skin, it can also be called a boil.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of cellulitis develop suddenly and can get worse quickly. It affects the skin and can also cause additional symptoms.
Cellulitis causes the affected skin to become:
There may also be a break in the skin, although this isnt always obvious, and pus or blood-filled blisters.
Any part of the body can be affected. Other areas prone to be affected include the lower legs, feet, arms or hands, and the face.
Cellulitis can also cause additional symptoms that may develop before or alongside the changes to your skin.
These can include:
- feeling generally unwell
- feeling sick
Occasionally the infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the deeper layers of tissue, blood, muscle and bone. This can be very serious and potentially life threatening.
Signs the infection has spread include:
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- a fast heartbeat or fast breathing
- being sick
- feeling dizzy or faint
- confusion or disorientation
- cold, clammy, pale skin
- unresponsiveness or loss of consciousness
- If you have any break in the skin, clean it and apply antiseptic ointment on it.
- Keep affected area immobile and elevate the affected part above the hearts level for better drainage. This is important to reduce swelling.
- Cool wet dressings may alleviate pain.
- If you are high risk of developing Cellulitis, take care to routinely moisturize your skin, treat other skin conditions and protect your skin from any injury.
- Take adequate rest for better recovery.
- If you have Cellulitis on face or eyes, however minute it may seem seek immediate treatment.
- Drink sufficient water to prevent dehydration.
- Do not roam barefoot in areas where there could be injury to your feet. Wear proper footwear or protective clothing when playing or during outdoor activities
- Do not scratch your skin and keep your nails short
- Do not Self-medicate
- Do not ignore small cracks, cuts, insect bites etc.
Things to watch out for
Contact a dentist as soon as possible if you think you have a dental abscess. Avoid visiting a GP, as there is little they can do to help.